DaimlerChrysler SA recorded its seventh consecutive year of growth in 2004, had a turnover of R24,7 billion and will focus on preparation for the production of the W204 this year, the company’s new chairman, Dr Hansgeorg Niefer says.

DaimlerChrysler SA recorded its seventh consecutive year of growth in 2004, had a turnover of R24,7 billion and will focus on preparation for the production of the W204, increasing market share, improving productivity and forging stronger relationships with suppliers this year, the company’s new chairman, Dr Hansgeorg Niefer says.


Dr Niefer, who recently replaced long-serving Christoph Köpke on the management board of the East London-based company, announced in Pretoria that a stable local economy and higher domestic spend had contributed to the company achieving record levels of production in 2004 (52 274 vehicles).


Although domestic sales achieved by DCSA last year (44 200 units) were a year-on-year record, Niefer noted that DCSA’s passenger car brands showed slight losses in local market shares in some segments... The Mercedes Car Group outsold rivals BMW for the third consecutive year, but Jeep and Chrysler aggregate sales decreased from 6 460 in 2003 to 6 310, prompting Niefer to pledge that DCSA would do its utmost to recover lost market share in 2005.


Much of DCSA’s planning for 2005 would, however, be concentrated on tooling up for the production of both left- and right-hand drive versions of the next generation C-Class from 2007. The expansion will coincide with an investment of R2 billion in the company’s East London facilities, which capacity will increase to 80 000 units a year.


Niefer added that about 2 000 direct and indirect permanent jobs would be created by the venture, which could attract between five and 10 foreign suppliers to establish operations in South Africa.


(…details on DCSA’s product expansion in 2005 to follow)