TOKYO: Daimler ceo Dieter Zetsche (pictured) hit the headlines again this week at the Tokyo Motor Show. He revealed to journalists that the company, parent to Mercedes-Benz, is talking to compatriot luxury automaker BMW about cooperation in auto production.

Said Zetsche - arguably a close second to Sir Richard Branson in the World Self-Publicizing Championships: "We are speaking with competitors, including BMW. Any savings we would gain would be on top of the targets we have already announced."

Daimler's business plan is predicated on an ongoing annual increase of 1% in profit margins, enabling it to achieve a 10% return on sales by 2010.

As to other possible automotive partners - and whether a production partnership with BMW might lead to a marketing marriage - Zetsche remained uncharacteristically zip-lipped.

The entrail-rakers are enthused at the prospect of such cooperation. Says Nomura Securities analyst Michael Tyndall: "Daimler and BMW are certainly large companies, but they are nowhere near the scale of Toyota. It's crucial that they partner up.''

Daimler and BMW are already involved in project partnerships, the former working with BMW and General Motors to develop hybrid-drive systems. For its part, BMW manufactures engines for its Mini marque in the Czech Republic, collaborating with French giant PSA Peugeot Citroen

Data sourced from (Germany); additional content by WARC staff