You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Das ist Interessant!

Posted in Four Wheels by Stacy McMahon on February 12, 2007

Autoextremist has quite an opinion about the DaimlerChrysler merger (hey, not like it happened 15 years ago or anything–we’re still taking about it!) and why it should end (link via the Carnival of Cars.) In a nutshell, he says the problem is that the Mercedes organization can’t make itself collaborate with the Chrysler organization. That’s too bad, because the basic concept of the merger was and is simple common sense–give Chrysler brands access to Mercedes’ engineering talent, while amortizing Daimler’s investment in said talent and quality components across a high-volume product line. It should have been possible to increase Chrysler’s quality and reliability, and Mercedes profitability and price competitiveness, and without any of the dilution-of-brand name that some people predicted–as if Mercedes and Dodge were going to start “badge-engineering” crossover models or put $90k price tags on minivans.

Unfortunately, that kind of thing only works when you get buy-in within the companies, and Autoextremist says they didn’t do that. If so, then Chrysler definitely needs a new partner. More interestingly though, if they do part ways, the postmortems might give us the first real insight into why these transatlantic mergers never seem to work out the way they’re planned. For example, the Ford group owns Volvo, Jaguar, and a few other major brands, but still can’t manage to sell the same Ford-branded small car platform on both sides of the pond. Why? It must be political somehow, because they do sell the same compact Volvo model everywhere, and that’s built on the same platform.

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