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Chrysler Unveils Pay Deals

The automaker offers U.S. workers up to $100,000 each to leave the company.
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DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

said Tuesday it will offer U.S. hourly workers up to $100,000 each to leave the company as part of a sweeping restructuring plan it recently unveiled for its Chrysler unit.

The automaker said it will offer $70,000 payments in early retirement deals to union workers with 30 or more years of tenure at the company. It will offer $100,000 buyout packages to employees with at least one year of credited service.

After recording a loss of $1.5 billion for 2006, Chrysler said on Feb. 14 that it would cut 13,000 jobs and close a number of U.S. production plants in an effort to shrink itself to match its diminished market share in the North American auto market.

DaimlerChrysler executives also said they were considering strategic options for the company's Chrysler division, which has lagged its European operations, and they would not rule out a sale of the business. That gave rise to a frenzy of speculation on Wall Street about deals that could emerge for Chrysler, including talk of an acquisition by

General Motors

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.

Details of the buyout deals Chrysler offered to workers were published earlier Tuesday in

The Detroit News

amid a broader market selloff that weighed heavily on Detroit's Big Three automakers. The offers, which were negotiated between DaimlerChrysler and the United Auto Workers union, are not as generous as the corporate buyout deals launched recently at

Ford

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and GM.

Shares of DaimlerChrysler closed Tuesday's session down $3.27, or 4.6%, at $67.30.