German car marker DaimlerChrysler has said Cerberus Capital Management will acquire an 80.1% stake in its struggling US division Chrysler and its related financial services business for €5.5 billion.

Chrysler will retain all of its financial obligations for  employees' pension and healthcare benefits, meaning that the deal will not burden Daimler with any debt.

DaimlerChrysler put its struggling US car unit up for sale in February after Chrysler posted a loss of nearly $1.5 billion for 2006 on dwindling sales of its light trucks.

The sale of Chrysler would unwind a failed nine-year-old merger between the American mass-market brands Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler and Germany's luxury Mercedes line.

A deal for Chrysler would mark the first time a financial buyer has taken control of one of the major car makers.

The purchase price is well below the $36 billion the former Daimler-Benz paid for Chrysler in 1998.