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Chrysler doesn't rule out further cuts

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Despite a recent profit rebound, Chrysler will continue to cut costs to offset rising raw material and health care expenses and is not ruling out a reduction in its white-collar workforce, a top company official said Wednesday.

"There's going to be no massive hiring, that's for sure," Tom LaSorda, the newly-named chief executive of Chrysler, said in a meeting with reporters at the automaker's Auburn Hills headquarters.

The Auburn Hills unit of DaimlerChrysler expects to reduce some costs as white-collar employees retire and are backfilled with younger workers at lower pay grades.

Some positions may be left open, but employment is expected to remain roughly flat through 2007.

"Where there's attrition, we'll probably ride that," LaSorda said, explaining that the company's normal annual rate of attrition among its 21,500 white-collar employees in North America is between 1.8 and 2.3 percent.

The move signals that Chrysler is still pinching pennies even after completing a three-year restructuring that shed 40,000 jobs and that the automaker will rely on continuous cost-cutting to improve profits and productivity.

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