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Chrysler Split Could be Difficult: New York Times

The chief executive of DaimlerChrysler, Dieter Zetsche, said it would be difficult to
break up Chrysler, as analysts and other experts have speculated recently, due to an integrated production system that binds together its various brands, The New York Times said.

"Chrysler Group is very integrated," Zetsche said in an interview at the Geneva Motor Show, the Times said. "The technical lines, like platforms, do not go along the same lines as the brands. The less they are aligned with the brands, the more difficult it would be to think of any separation."

The Times said Zetsche emphasized that he was making an observation, not commenting on options for how DaimlerChrysler might sell the Chrysler unit -- a prospect it confirmed three weeks ago that it was considering. But his statement seemed to reinforce reports that DaimlerChrysler hoped to sell Chrysler as a single unit, rather than pull out single brands like Jeep, it said.

Zetsche did open the door to spinning off Chrysler Financial, its loan and leasing arm, saying "there are different models" of how to organize the financing arm of an auto maker -- among them, separating it from the home company and that "we would want maximum flexibility," the Times said.