Daimler to step up investment in German operations

Daimler to step up investment in German operations Rastatt, Germany  - Carmaker Daimler plans to invest 3 billion euros (4.5 billion dollars) in its German operations over the next two years, chief executive Dieter Zetsche said Thursday.

Zetsche said 600 million euros would go towards expanding the plant at Rastatt, where the luxury Mercedes A-class and B-class compact cars are produced.

Zetsche said Mercedes planned to increase the number of A-Class and B-Class models from two to four, with some of them being produced at a factory currently under construction in Hungary.

The Stuttgart-based carmaker has been badly hit by the global economic crisis, which saw sales slumping and forced it to put thousands of employees on short-time work.

After months of heavy losses, Daimler earlier this week reported a third-quarter profit for 2009.

On October 16 Daimler laid the cornerstone of a new production facility in the town of Kecskemet, central Hungary, that will employ some 2,500 people.

Daimler is planning to invest some 800 million euros in the facility, which is expected to produce some 100,000 Mercedes A- and B-class cars annually beginning in 2012. (dpa)