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DaimlerChrysler AG named Andreas Renschler, president of its Smart car unit, to lead a team of managers being sent to restore profit at the automaker's Japanese affiliate Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

The team will start work with Mitsubishi Motors, 37 percent owned by the German company, later this week, Japan's fourth-largest automaker said in a faxed statement. The company denied media reports that DaimlerChrysler will pull out of the holding.

Mitsubishi Motors, which makes Galant cars, is preparing a plan to return to profit after widening its loss forecast last week. DaimlerChrysler CEO Juergen Schrempp said he will use the plan to decide whether to provide additional capital.

"Mitsubishi needs improvement and Renschler knows the company through working with them on the Smart project," said Albrecht Denninghoff, an analyst at HVB Group in Munich. "It's a good idea to send him."

Mitsubishi Motors widened its loss forecast for the year ending March 31 to 72 billion yen ($664 million) from 11 billion yen, partly because its U.S. sales slumped while Honda Motor Co.'s and Toyota Motor Corp.'s rose.

Mitsubishi Motors' sales fell by 26 percent last year in the United States, its biggest market, after the company restricted loans as the percentage of customers defaulting rose.

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This is kinda laughable, and I wonder how Mitsubishi shareholders will view this bit of news. I would hardly consider Juergen Schrempp et al, master architects of the "Merger of Equals," the choice people to rescue any company. The DCX folks' track record over the past 5-6 years has been less than stellar, and I haven't really heard much in the way of strong planning that will save their own struggling divisions, namely the former ChryCo divisions. I'm amazed that the DCX Board approved of Schrempp's continuing as CEO until 2008(?), let alone that Mitsubishi is pleased that "...there is no truth to the rumors that DaimlerChrysler will pull out of Mitsubishi Motors." These are some pretty scary times at DCX.

Contrast the DCX/Mitsu news to the period when Carlos Ghosn was sent in to rescue Nissan a few years back. At least Ghosn had a proven track record at Renault, which at the time was doing well in Europe. Of course, praising Ghosn now is a little "hindsight is 20/20."
I remember exactly where I was when I heard that Daimler-Benz merged with Chrysler. I honestly believed that the new DaimlerChrysler would stand a chance of toppling GM. Needless to say, I haven't had those concerns for quite some time, though I suppose anything is possible.

Maybe I'm missing something.

Mr. Cynical
 
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