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Mercedes & Chrysler merger after 8 years - a wise move?

scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
edited March 20 in Chrysler
It is now 8 years since Mercedes and Chrysler merged to become Daimler/Chrysler or DC.

Has the merger had a positive or negative impact on the two companies? Did it help one and hurt the other?

Can DC share components between MB, Dodge and Chrysler in the US market while keeping brand image intact?

Comments

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    I feel Chrysler has improved...Mercedes went into a black hole which it might be slowly crawling out of almost a decade later. But I'll have to see it to believe it.

    I don't think component sharing has or will do much of any damage. Chrysler tends to get previous-generation MB material, so it still helps them, and doesn't cheapen MB. Joe Consumer hasn't a clue about any real details anyway.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I for one was so against this union back in 1998, but I think overall it has been a good idea...at least up until now. Now if "Dr Z" is going to make a Mercedes interchangeable with a Chrysler then Mercedes-Benz as we know it will become the "Saab" of DCX. Chrysler has definitely benefited from this union, but Mercedes hasn't in the least.

    When you look at the LH cars and the Caliber and the upcoming Hornet you realized that Chrysler still has that "be different" spirit they've always compared to the dull as hell GM and the bland Ford Mo Co. Now though they have access to German engineering as in the case of the LH cars, but what does MB get from this? Nothing. Save for the R-Class, Mercedes has pretty much been on a roll as of late. AMG cars are getting even more serious about handling and interior/build quality is very much improved across the board at MB. The only fly in the buttermilk is reliability which seems to improve and then get worse when a new product is launched (think R-Class).

    M
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    Mercedes dearly needs another Bruno Sacco, to start with.

    I read someplace that some version of the new 6.3 AMG engine is the most powerful normally aspirated V8. Impressive.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I read someplace that some version of the new 6.3 AMG engine is the most powerful normally aspirated V8. Impressive.

    Well not quite. While the 6.2L V8 from AMG does make more hp than the 7.0L Corvette Z06 V8, it makes less torque at 465lb-ft compared to 470lb-ft. The 6.2L AMG V8 makes anywhere from 475hp to 507hp depending on the model. Now the CL63 is supposed to have a 525hp version of the 6.2L V8. Not sure if torque will rise to beat the Z06's rating.

    Yeah a while back I would have said that they need Bruno Sacco back, but with the SL, S, CL and CLS I'm more than pleased with the styling. There were some moments when the S-Class spy photos made me cringe and I'm still not crazy about that rear wheel arch, but overall the car is a winner. More importantly there is nothing on the net to suggest the car has had anything other than a near-perfect launch. There are no forums about problems, problems have been so few to the point where it is spooky. When the W220 came out the problems showed up pretty quickly, but now we'll have to wait and see what the all important people at Consumer Reports and JDP say about the new S-Class.

    Mercedes' focus has to be reliability and customer service. People will buy a Mercedes no matter how it looks I think, but what they won't buy (or come back to from other brands) is an unreliable Mercedes.

    M
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    the benefit for Chrysler but wonder just what MB has received out of the deal so far.

    The increase in (if not the beginning of) MB's quality/reliability problems dates very closely to the time of the merger.

    I agree that reliability and customer service are more important than styling. If customers have to be at the dealership more often than they should, dealer should make every effort to treat them well while they are in for service.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Now if "Dr Z" is going to make a Mercedes interchangeable with a Chrysler...the "Saab" of DCX

    This is a real concern. Component sharing is cited as the justification for most mergers but it will hurt MB's image.

    There are reports DC is planning common engines for the next generation of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Mercedes vehicles.

    MBUSA needs to clarify MB's US image for Dr. Z. The Dakota, 300 and E class should not share major components like engines.

    Dr. Z sees big cost reductions but I think this approach would damage Mercedes' brand image in N. America.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    I think it was good for Chrysler in terms of management. They got "Dr. Z" and Wolfgang Bernhard, who pretty much turned the company around.

    Unfortunately, the Mercedes brain trust was stupid enough to fire Bernhard, one of the best "product" execs in the business, and now I think we're seeing the results...
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Some at Mercedes, want to spin off or sell Chryser. But to who ? Perhaps one of the Chinese, company's would want it ? :surprise:

    Rocky
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,220
    So many misguided steps in this whole fiasco it's tough to judge. Schremp's arrogance and less than truthfullness in the merger didn't help matters.

    The thought was they could share technology. Well, that was a one sided ordeal so far.

    Chrysler sent some of their 4WD technology to Benz. Benz sent some aged platforms for Chrysler to work with for the tepid Crossfire and the much more successful 300 (based very loosely on the previous generation E class chasis).

    Mercedes reliability and build quality has tanked (probably on its way down before the merger). I know of at least two people who were Mercedes loyalists. Based on their most recent cars (one E class, one S class), they said they'd never buy another Mercedes.

    I know that Chrysler didn't have the best reputation for build quality and reliability in the past. Don't know if that's improved, but cars like the PT Cruiser have proven to be reliable and built well.

    I looked briefly at a Mercedes C and E class before I bought my BMW. MB really had nothing that excited me. Plus, I still felt they were overpriced. Slap a Chrysler emblem on a Mercedes R class, and it could be a Pacifica.

    Product sells. Nothing about Mercedes is very exciting right now. Chrysler, aside from the 300 and the supposed popularity of the Caliber, has nothing that excites me, either. Gas prices have tanked Dodge truck sales. I was never enamored with the Charger, either. The rest of their line-up makes me yawn. Jeep is suffering the same fate. I guess the new Wranglers are supposed to be good, but I've never been in the market for one of those.

    Until Chrysler and Mercedes can start trusting each other and sharing technology, parts, etc freely, this thing won't work.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,959
    with the Chrysler-Benz merger was that it pushed back the timelines on some of the new Chrysler products. Originally the replacement for the Intrepid/Concorde/300M was due to come out in 2002. The original plan called for Dodge and Chrysler to get two models each. One low-slung sporty car, like that Charger concept that made the rounds in the late 1990's and one taller design, which was where the trends seemed to be going, as the Baby Boomers aged. IIRC they were going to offer the choice of FWD, RWD, or AWD.

    In the end though, introduction kept getting pushed back, which kept the Intrepid, Concorde, and 300M on the market longer than they should have been. Then, finally, in March of 2004, the first 300's showed up on sales lots. But it would be about 3-4 months before the Magnum wagon showed up, and it wouldn't be until spring of '05 that the Charger was introduced.

    I think the Pacifica was originally supposed to launch sooner than it did as well, but it was held back to incorporate some Benz components into it, like the rear suspension and other odds and ends.

    As for stuff like the PT Cruiser, 2000 Neon, 2001 Stratus/Sebring, and 2002 Ram, and the Hemi, I believe those things were in the works before the Benz merger, so it really had little to do with them.

    Another potential problem I can see with this merger is this: the resale value of a Chrysler with the maintenance/repair costs of a Benz. I dunno if that's exactly a winning combination, long-term. Don't Benzes often get really expensive to fix as they age?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    Instead of Chrysler becoming more like MB, MB is becoming more like Chrysler. The joke goes something like that, anyway. I just know some of MBs least reliable cars have came out since the "merger".

    If they make Chryslers as complex and maintenance intensive as MBs, there will be dire problems as they age, yes. I suspect the average MB loyalist is more receptive to costly services than a Chrysler buyer, and this could hurt the cars as they age. Good point, Andre.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    I think in retrospect it was a clash of cultures and it shows.

    MODERATOR

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Agree....

    Rocky
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,220
    Shifty....no doubt a clash of cultures. Also, I'd throw mistrust in there, too. Schremp did nothing to alleviate the mistrust. If anything, he fostered it by pitching the merger as one of equals. When, in reality, it was a Daimler take over of Chrysler.

    IIRC, Chrysler had a pretty big cash stash at the time of the merger. That got raided by Daimler. In turn, model plans were scuffled.

    Today, Chrysler is known for the HEMI and trucks/Jeeps. Don't know that it plays well in today's reality.

    MB's reputation as building the best cars in the world has gone by the wayside. Their vehicles are now rife with quality and reliability concerns.

    Both companies have an image problem, too.

    The DR Z campaing was disasterous for Chrysler. Whoever told Zieter that the American public wanted some obviously foreign figurehead telling them about their American vehicles should be fired.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Even their deviant styling concepts seem to clash rather than harmonize. Chrysler has been admirably prolific in their styling (sometimes successsful, sometimes not) while Benz remains as usual very conservative. How can a company scream "we are TRENDY" and "we honor the past" in the same breath, without both branches knocking heads constantly?

    I'm not a scholar of business but it is my impression that very VERY few of these big corporate mergers (in any field of business) have proven to be worth the trouble.

    MODERATOR

  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    MB's reputation....has gone by the wayside. Their vehicles are now rife with quality and reliability concerns

    Is it just a coincidence that Mercedes quality and reliability problems started about the same time as the merger?
This discussion has been closed.