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Wed, Feb 14, 2001 EST
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Reports: DaimlerChrysler to Claim $3 Billion Write-Off
Associated Press
DETROIT — DaimlerChrysler AG declined comment Monday on published reports that it will write off up to $3 billion for the cost of shutting assembly lines and eliminating 26,000 jobs in its Chrysler division.

The Chrysler division reported a third-quarter loss of $512 million and has warned its fourth-quarter loss could be more than $1 billion. The U.S. economic slowdown and tougher light-truck competition have hurt Chrysler.

DaimlerChrysler plans to issue its fourth-quarter financial results on Feb. 26 and will not release write-off figures before then, spokeswoman Megan Giles said from Chrysler's headquarters in Auburn Hills.

The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek on Monday quoted unidentified sources as saying the write-off would be $2 billion to $3 billion.

On Jan. 29, Stuttgart, Germany-based DaimlerChrysler announced it was cutting 26,000 jobs, or 20 percent of Chrysler's North American work force. The company said it would close plants in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico and cut production at four plants in the United States and Canada.

The amount of the charge depends in part on how many Chrysler workers accept voluntary early retirement packages. Eligible salaried and hourly workers are getting applications this week and have until the end of the month to apply, Giles said.

DaimlerChrysler also is considering unloading assets to control the losses, the sources told the Journal and Newsweek. One possibility is selling, then leasing back the company's Auburn Hills headquarters, the reports said. Giles declined immediate comment.

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