Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche hopes to return the automaker to the top spot in the premium car market ahead of Audi and BMW by 2020, he said in an interview with a German paper.

"I am confident that we will be ahead of our rivals by 2020 at the latest," he told Boersen-Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

He said he hoped to reach that target during his time in office. Zetsche's contract currently runs until December 2013 but is expected to be extended by three years in February.

Daimler has already promised 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion)in cost cuts at the Mercedes-Benz division by the end of 2014 after warning in October that it would miss its operating profit target this year by 1 billion euros.

Zetsche told the paper Mercedes had failed to keep up with its rivals in the compact car market and in China.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; editing by Jane Baird)