Taken for a Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove Off with Chrysler

Bill Vlasic, Author, Bradley A. Stertz, Joint Author William Morrow & Company $26 (372p) ISBN 978-0-688-17305-0
""We are in German merger hell,"" moaned a Chrysler lawyer during the negotiations that would create a new global mega-entity, Daimler-Chrysler, out of the union of Daimler-Benz, the standard-bearer of luxury sedans and Germany's largest company, and Chrysler Corp., the quintessentially American maker of Jeeps and minivans. Yet Daimler-Benz's $36-billion buyout of Chrysler in 1998 was widely hailed as a paradigm-busting leap forward in the cost-efficient manufacture and development of cars and trucks. Now, Detroit News reporter Vlasic and Stertz, the paper's Washington bureau chief, draw on more than 200 interviews conducted in Detroit, Stuttgart and elsewhere for a riveting, behind-the-scenes account of the transformation of an American icon. Even though newly acquired Chrysler racked up record sales and profits in 1999, the authors find that the dynamism of the erstwhile Big Three automaker is being smothered under German control. They record the growing pains of a marriage of opposites, pairing a German conglomerate that embraces formality and hierarchy with scrappy, patriotic Chrysler, whose informal cross-functional teams favored open collars and free-form discussions. The first third of the book details the abortive 1995-1996 takeover attempt of Chrysler by Lee Iacocca, its former chairman and one-time savior, and his partner, casino tycoon Kirk Kerkorian; the portraits of both men are etched in acid. The rest of the book is a fast-paced ride through oversize egos, raw tempers, secret meetings, titanic clashes and power plays of the cross-cultural corporate merger of two automotive behemoths. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Open Ebook - 420 pages - 978-0-06-146823-0
Ebook - 420 pages - 978-0-06-146828-5
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-06-093448-4
Hardcover - 382 pages - 978-0-471-49732-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 420 pages - 978-0-06-146826-1
Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-06-187780-3
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