Daimler-Chrysler Merger: A Cultural Mismatch?
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Case Code : BSTR009
Case Length : 7 Pages
Period : 1998-2001
Organization : Daimler Benz Chrysler Corporation
Pub Date : 2001
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India, North America, Europe
Industry : Automobile & Automotive
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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.
DCX in Trouble
Analysts were of the opinion that DCX should eliminate between 20,000 and 40,000 jobs at its North American Chrysler division and permanently close at least one of its 13 plants in the US and Canada because of huge financial losses in 2000.
After third quarter losses of more than half a billion dollars, and projections of even higher losses in the fourth quarter and into 2001, Schrempp told employees that Chrysler had only 13.5% of the US market, but it was staffed as if it had a 20% share. In early 2001, DCX announced that it would slash 26,000 jobs at its ailing Chrysler division. "No one wants this to happen. I personally wish it didn't have to happen," said Zetsche. He called the moves painful but necessary in the face of "brutal" competition and low US sales. Zetsche said a large part of the job cutting would be through retirement programs, layoffs, attrition and other programs. About three-quarters of the job cuts would be made in 2001, he said...
Why the Merger Failed to Realize the Synergies
Analysts felt that strategically, the merger made good business sense. But opposing cultures and management styles proved to be a hindrance to the realization of the synergies.
Daimler-Benz attempted to run Chrysler USA operations in the same way as it would run its German operations. This approach was doomed to failure. In September, 2001, Business Week wrote, "The merger has so far fallen disastrously short of the goal. Distrust between Auburn Hills and Stuttgart has made cooperation on even the simplest of matters difficult.
Coming to terms with issues like which parts Mercedes-Benz would share with Chrysler was almost impossible. The Germans and the Americans had been out of sync from the start. The two proud management teams resisted working together, were wary of change and weren't willing to compromise...
Exhibit I: Chronology of Events in DCX Merger
Exhibit II: Product Ranges