News - Mercedes-Benz

Body blow for Benz workers

New in the job: DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

Downsizing continues at the world's big car-makers as DaimlerChrysler cuts 6000 jobs

Mercedes-Benz logo3 Feb 2006

GERMAN-US auto giant DaimlerChrysler has followed the lead taken by North American car kings General Motors and Ford by announcing savage job cuts – in this case to the tune of 6000 white-collar positions across the globe.

The cost-cutting "efficiency program" revealed last week by company CEO Dieter Zetsche will also result in closer collaboration between the Mercedes Car and Chrysler Groups.

The plan will axe 6000 jobs from the company’s global workforce over the next three years, representing about 20 per cent of the car-maker’s general and administrative staff, or 30 per cent at management level.

In a statement, DaimlerChrysler said that redundancies between staff functions at the corporate and operating levels would be eliminated and areas would be centralised, reporting to a single executive for worldwide operations.

Mr Zetsche said that while maintaining individual brand identities remained "a clear priority" at DaimlerChrysler, its core marques would operate more closely than ever.

"Co-operation between the Mercedes Car Group and the Chrysler Group will become markedly closer," said Mr Zetsche, who cited Chrysler’s use of Mercedes-Benz rear-wheel drive expertise in the development of the Chrysler 300 sedan as an example.

"You can expect to see more examples of collaborations," he said, indicating that more joint teams were likely to develop technologies such as the Bluetec diesel engine that debuted at last month’s Detroit motor show in both the Mercedes-Benz E-class and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The move follows the announcement of 30,000 job cuts at both General Motors and Ford in November and earlier this month respectively, but DaimlerChrysler Australia/Pacific spokesperson Toni Andreevski said this week that most job cuts would occur at the company’s Stuttgart headquarters.

"It doesn’t affect us," he said. "The job cuts are targeted at general and administrative (G&A) areas within head office, to make our costs competitive with other players in the market.

"They’ve obviously seen room for improvement in that area (but) it doesn’t affect engineering, design, production, sales and many other key areas. They’re purely looking at the back-office functions.

"We (DCA/P) have always had G&A targets and we’re currently meeting those targets. We’re already very well placed in terms of G&A – we’re actually growing in staff numbers.

"We posted a record performance in all of our business units last year and we’ll be even more expansionist this year," he said.

DCA/P sales rose from about 25,000 vehicles in 2004 to 30,000 in 2005, when Mercedes-Benz was Australia’s top-selling luxury passenger car brand for the fourth year in succession.

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