DaimlerChrysler CEO Juergen E. Schrempp vows that he and fellow German Dieter Zetsche are totally committed to getting Chrysler back on track.

Chrysler is on an equal status with Mercedes-Benz as far as we are concerned,” he says at the Automotive News World Congress.

Mr. Zetsche, the new president of the Chrysler Group, tells Ward's Dealer Business he's busy looking for an American to take over Chrysler-Jeep/Dodge sales and marketing.

“That's something the dealers want — and we're scanning automakers everywhere for the right person,” Mr. Zetsche says. “I've been wearing the sales and marketing hat and it's too much in addition to being CEO.”

Mr. Schrempp made the obligatory appeal for “dealer cooperation” as DC tries to get Chrysler profitable again through hard cost-cutting efforts, including the elimination of 26,000 jobs.

He says he wants to replace Chrysler's “push” production strategy — which often results in excess inventories and big incentives — with a Mercedes-like “pull” system based on dealer orders.