In an effort to cut costs, it appears that DaimlerChrysler is going to start offering certain now standard features as optional features in future Jeeps. Here's a snippet from the article on Yahoo! News:
Chrysler Group is no longer fighting for its life, and its restructuring plan is curing it sooner than expected, the chief executive of DaimlerChrysler AG's U.S. unit said Thursday.
"We are clearly focused on lifting this company from the struggle for survival to a new standard of excellence," Dieter Zetsche told reporters.
New products in Chrysler's push-the-envelope tradition will maintain the automaker's momentum, he said.
"If we try to find a mainstream strategy, we won't be around in 10 years," he said. "We were never copycats. We always looked for our own way."
From this year through 2004, Chrysler will have introduced 11 new vehicles and revamped 10 others through 2004. They include the 2003 Chrysler Pacifica, an SUV-minivan hybrid, and the 2003 Chrysler Crossfire, a sports coupe designed in the United States by American and German engineers and built in Germany.
The near-term product lineup will blend Chrysler's reputation for innovative design with more of the technological savvy of corporate sibling Daimler-Benz, Zetsche said.
Chrysler also wants to get out of another unwanted facet of competition with GM and Ford: eliminating features to cut costs while hoping customers won't miss them. Chrysler is removing certain previously standard items such as tachometers on base-model minivans and roof racks on Jeep Grand Cherokees.
"As a general principle, I do not believe we should turn our cars into empty cans," Zetsche said.
Chrysler sold about 2.9 million Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles in 2001. Zetsche said the automaker has set a target of selling 4 million vehicles in 2011, but he didn't know how the ratio between light trucks and passenger cars.
According to Ward's Automotive Reports, light trucks — including minivans — accounted for an industry-leading 74.3 percent of Chrysler's U.S. production in the first half of 2002.