Five years after the merger that created DaimlerChrysler AG, the German-American auto maker is struggling in nearly every corner of its global empire, according to the Wall Street Journal
. And although investors often have criticized CEO Juergen Schrempp for the company's weakened state, some members of its supervisory board have quietly begun floating the idea of extending Schrempp's current contract, which is set to expire in April 2005, the Journal
said.Schrempp said Oct. 7 that a long-awaited turnaround at the company's Chrysler Group, its most troubled division, will get underway nextyear. Speaking in a telephone interview with the Journal
, he said he expects a slew ofnew products slated to be launched in 2004 will boost sales and help Chrysler improve its profit margins despite a punishing U.S. price war with archrivals General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.Schrempp and Chrysler Group CEO Dieter Zetsche expect to turn this around with a barrage of new models, according to the Journal
. Next week, a redesigned Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle goes into production at a factory in Newark, Del. Then, in 2004, Chrysler plans to roll out nine new models, "the most new vehicles ever launched by any auto manufacturer in the U.S. in a one-year period," Zetsche said in a speech last week. Chrysler plans to roll out 25 new models over the next 36 months.