Daimler CEO wants Mercedes to regain top spot by 2020 - paper

FRANKFURT Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:25am GMT

Daimler AG's Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche gives a speaks on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Daimler AG's Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche gives a speaks on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile September 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler (DAIGn.DE) Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche hopes to return the automaker to the top spot in the premium car market ahead of Audi (VOWG_p.DE) and BMW (BMWG.DE) by 2020, he said in an interview with a German paper.

"I am confident that we will be ahead of our rivals by 2020 at the latest," he told Boersen-Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

He said he hoped to reach that target during his time in office. Zetsche's contract currently runs until December 2013 but is expected to be extended by three years in February.

Daimler has already promised 2 billion euros (1.6 billion pounds) in cost cuts at the Mercedes-Benz division by the end of 2014 after warning in October that it would miss its operating profit target this year by 1 billion euros.

Zetsche told the paper Mercedes had failed to keep up with its rivals in the compact car market and in China.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; editing by Jane Baird)

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