The announcement that Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp. plan to merge surprised the nation’s automakers and seems to have instilled in them a sense of urgency in preparing for increased global competition.

Hiroshi Okuda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., said that the merger is aimed at increasing the two firms’ competitiveness in the global market. “Toyota needs to make further efforts (to strengthen itself),” Okuda said.

A Nissan Motor Co. spokesman said that technical cooperation and mergers may increase among automakers in the future. “It will be extremely difficult to survive the competition without cooperating with other automakers,” he said.

“It was a surprising deal,” said a spokesman for Mitsubishi Motors Corp. The company currently has cooperative relations with both Chrysler and Daimler-Benz but the firm said the merger will not immediately affect its business.

The firm will supply vehicles to Chrysler from its U.S. plant until 2005. It currently produces pickup trucks in Daimler-Benz’s plant in South Africa. “We regard them as good business partners although nothing is clear after 2005,” said the spokesman.

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