It was hardly ideal timing: DaimlerChrysler's announcement of profit-sharing bonuses for its German workers came just as many Chrysler employees in the United States are worrying whether they'll still have jobs at all.
In the face of such harsh evidence of the split fortunes at Germany's most visible global company, DaimlerChrysler opted not to even publish the announcement in English. But in Germany, the payments were seen as a natural reward for good work.
The $1,470 bonus for DaimlerChrysler's 140,000 workers in Germany was absolutely routine, company spokesman Marc Binder said. It was the highest-ever bonus for the company's German side, up from $1,320 last year.
DaimlerChrysler did not release specific numbers for each division, but its German operations are expected to show a strong earnings performance when figures are revealed Feb. 26.
Chrysler is expected to unveil fourth-quarter losses of at least $1 billion -- along with a turnaround plan by new head Dieter Zetsche. Zetsche said last month he would cut 26,000 jobs over three years.