GENEVA (AP) -- The chief executive of Daimler AG on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that his company could take over Adam Opel AG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors Corp.
"We don't see a role for Daimler in the future development of Opel," Dieter Zetsche told reporters on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show.
The fate of Opel has been in the balance since ailing U.S. parent company GM proposed loosening ties and maybe even spinning off the German subsidiary. The German government said Monday it would not be pushed into a hasty decision over whether or not to give Opel 3.3 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in state aid.
A savior in the form of another German car company has also been suggested for Opel, which has 25,000 employees in Germany and whose history goes back to the mid-19th century.
Daimler has been wary of binding itself to another car company after its ill-fated tie up with U.S. rival Chrysler. Their divorce is in the process of being finalized.
Zetsche said he expects the global auto industry to start recovering at the end of the year, with Asia leading the way.
"There is a good chance that emerging markets and China in first place could lead the path to recovery," he said.
Daimler's flagship Mercedes brand launched several new E-class models Tuesday, which Zetsche described as "antidepressants on wheels."
The company has already taken 40,000 orders for the new models, he said.
In the medium term, Daimler aims to become a major force in the electric car market. It will start producing all-electric consumer versions of its B-class and Smart brand vehicles by the end of 2009, with mass production to follow two to three years later, he said.