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Daimler Chrysler: Lessons in post-merger integration

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Daimler-Chrysler merger: Birth of a global car company.
    1. Starting position of Daimler-Benz.
    2. Starting position of Chrysler.
    3. The expected benefits of the merger.
  3. The post-merger integration process.
    1. The post-merger structure.
    2. The PMI-process: Speed and digital decisions.
    3. Top management changes.
  4. Key Issues after the merger.
    1. A clash of cultures.
    2. Functional integration and branding.
    3. The Asian challenge.
    4. Schrempp's Repair Shop.
  5. Appendices.

Professor Herbert Paul and student Myriam Tamim prepared this case, solely to provide material for class discussion. The authors do not intend to illustrate either the effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The case was compiled from public sources. Abstract: The merger of Daimler?Benz with Chrysler Corporation created one of the largest car companies in the world. The case explores a number of issues in the post-merger integration process between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler and, to a lesser extent also Mitsubishi. Now, five years after the merger, questions can be asked about what worked and what did not work. In June 2003 the Chrysler website proudly announced the Chrysler Crossfire ? ?Dreamed in America. Drafted in Germany. Infused with passionate American design and Precision German engineering. Chrysler Crossfire is a rolling sculpture that moves the body and stirs the soul.? Advertising for the new sports coupe boldly tries to leverage Chrylser's sisterhood with Mercedes-Benz. Chrysler hopes that linking itself with the Mercedes-Benz luxury brand will boost its dented quality image and gain it prestige. The design was hatched at Chrysler's design studios in the U.S., but almost 40 % of the car is lifted directly from the Mercedes-Benz SLK, including suspension, axles and engine.

[...] A marketing executive of Chrysler is quoted with the following statement, should have never called this a ?merger of equals'. It was an acquisition and by calling it something else, we confused a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic.?[24] Functional integration and branding Functional integration and branding policies were core issues in the post- merger process. Rather than forcing integration, top management chose a more selective approach. Safeguarding and nurturing each brand?s unique image and position was given the highest priority. [...]

[...] The restructuring plan, which Zetsche and his team developed, consisted of three key components: Reducing material cost and general services; in a first step by until 2003 and then by another reduction over two years. Downsizing the workforce, which meant laying off 26.000 employees, and adapting the factory structure by closing six assembly plants. Enhancing revenues through a dealer incentive program as well as the launch of new models. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times Zetsche stated: would like to see ourselves as dolphins among the whales and sharks. [...]

[...] and we will improve return and value for our shareholders.? Robert Eaton: ?Both companies have product ranges with world-class brands that complement each other perfectly.?[2] This transaction, the biggest industrial merger in history before 1998, created the world's third largest automotive company in terms of sales (see Appendix 1 for a chronology of the merger). Four years later, at the end of the fiscal year 2002 DaimlerChrysler reported sales of almost Euro 150 billion, net income of Euro 4.7 billion and over 365.000 employees (see Appendix 2 for key figures). [...]

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