Another weak quarter at Mercedes punished

DaimlerChrysler's

(DCX)

first quarter.

The big carmaker said first-quarter Mercedes sales volume dropped 7%, leading to an 11% decline in revenue at the luxury car unit. Total DaimlerChrysler revenue slipped 2% in euro terms, in part because of the euro's strength against the dollar.

Latest-quarter earnings fell to $374 million, or 36 cents a share, from the year-earlier $534 million, or 53 cents a share. Daimler said operating profit fell nearly 60% from a year ago because of a business realignment.

The company also sounded a dour note on the rest of 2005, saying it "expects the highly competitive situation across the entire automotive industry to continue, due to further reductions in product lifecycles and ongoing over-capacity."

Daimler closed Wednesday at $39.59.