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Business

Mini-Car Cuts Into DaimlerChrysler Profits

The German-US auto giant DaimlerChrysler said Thursday the troubles at its Smart mini-car division caused group-wide earnings to skid lower in the first three months of the current year. DaimlerChrysler said in a statement it booked net profit of 288 million euros ($374 million) in the period from January to March, down 30 percent from the year-earlier figure. Operating profit slid by 59 percent to 628 million euros and sales were down two percent at 31.74 billion euros in the January-March period. The car giant blamed its loss-making Smart car for its troubles. "The decrease was primarily caused by charges of 800 million euros related to the realignment of the Smart business model," DaimlerChrysler explained. Without this exceptional impact, operating group would have amounted to 1.43 billion euros in the first quarter. And the charges also knocked off 512 million euros from the car maker's bottom line, it calculated.

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