FRANKFURT -- Daimler AG is not interested in large takeovers and will focus on cooperation deals on a project-by-project basis, finance chief Bodo Uebber told German daily Die Welt.
Although the Stuttgart-based maker of cars and trucks had been in contact with rival Fiat S.p.A. about the Italian auto giant's industrial arm, Uebber said Daimler's strategy had changed.
"We were in touch with Turin but no longer have contact with Fiat on this matter. Naturally we continue to think about cooperation and shareholdings but are pursuing a different strategy: we combine cooperation with specific projects," Uebber told the newspaper.
Buying Fiat's industrial unit made no strategic or financial sense, Uebber said.
Fiat said in September it was looking at cooperation opportunities for its industrial arm.
Although Daimler cannot rule out smaller takeovers, there are currently no plans for a significant takeover, Uebber said.
Furthermore the company is well positioned and will "remain the same" rather than splitting the trucks and cars division.
Daimler will use its cash primarily to invest in products and regional expansion, he said, and Daimler remains on track to achieve record deliveries of passenger cars and a rise in deliveries of trucks and vans in 2011.
There are no signs of a rapid cooling off in demand for cars in China, Uebber said, but added he did not expect the Chinese market to continue growing by 15 percent a year.
He said he was optimistic Daimler would gain permission from the Chinese authorities to launch a joint venture with local producer Fonton by mid-year.
Turning to the earthquake in Japan he said the disaster had caused production at a factory belonging to its Fuso unit to halt for three weeks, but the facilities had been repaired and production has once again resumed, Uebber said.