Last post on Oct 04, 2006 at 11:58 AM
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Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Dodge
#11 of 17 I think the biggest problem...
Oct 03, 2006 (8:56 am)
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?
Oct 03, 2006 (9:06 am)
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.
#13 of 17 it wasn't a great fit
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Oct 03, 2006 (3:31 pm)
I think in retrospect it was a clash of cultures and it shows.
#14 of 17 Re: it wasn't a great fit [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 03, 2006 (5:11 pm)
#15 of 17 Re: it wasn't a great fit [Mr_Shiftright]
Oct 04, 2006 (5:19 am)
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.
#16 of 17 Re: it wasn't a great fit [graphicguy]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Oct 04, 2006 (8:01 am)
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.
#17 of 17 Re: it wasn't a great fit [graphicguy]
Oct 04, 2006 (11:58 am)
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?