NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, you know the day after a merger that didn't work, here's one that did, Daimler-Chrysler. Earlier, I spoke with Dieter Zetsche, the president and CEO of Chrysler Group, on what he insists the difference is.
DIETER ZETSCHE, PRESIDENT/CEO, CHRYSLER (DCX): I definitely can say that the merger between Daimler Benz and Chrysler clearly proves its merits by today, where the research of the Chrysler group has a lot to do with the vast amount of resources. And I'm not talking financial, but technology and engineering know-how, very much helped the Chrysler group get where we are today.
And I guess that the other way around, we will work more closer together with our friends at Mercedes to, for instance, share our experiences in improving productivity plans and things like that.
CAVUTO: Do you final it odd, though, sir, that when you first got together, that is Chrysler and Daimler, you know, Chrysler was sort of like the weak link. Daimler was the strong one. And now, in fact, just looking at this earnings report, it's just the opposite. You guys at Chrysler are soaring, and the Mercedes guys are not. What's the deal?
ZETSCHE: Well, I'm certainly glad and proud that Chrysler has shown a swing of $2.5 billion within a year from 2003 to 2004.
At the same time, even though Mercedes showed a significant decline, the absolute level of earnings at 1.7 billion euro is still significant. And I'm very, very confident that, using all the know-how in our company, Mercedes-Benz will come back very soon to former levels of profitability.
CAVUTO: But do you find it weird now that you have a very high- quality rating and, in fact, great new appeal rating with the 300 and some of the new models you've been offering. Mercedes does not, which used to be synonymous with quality. Now it's not. What happened?
ZETSCHE: We are improving quality at the Chrysler side since quite some time and now it's more and more showing.
On the Mercedes side, yes, they clearly had some trouble in the past, and there are still a number of vehicles out there, but affected by that.
But today, actually, Mercedes is producing vehicles from their plants at quality levels they have never achieved before. But it will take some time until this to show in the marketplace and customers have the experience to talk about it and say Mercedes is back and better than ever before.
CAVUTO: All right. Now in the meantime, I know Jurgen Schrempf, he steps down in 2008. Everyone has been mentioning you as the likely replacement. Are you?
ZETSCHE: Well, first of all, I'm very much enjoying the job I am having today. Secondly, obviously, those questions have to be dealt with and decided in the board, the supervisory board. So I do my job, and that's certainly the right thing for me to do.
CAVUTO: All right. Dieter Zetsche. He seemed to enjoy the interview, I thought.
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