Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mercedes throws Chrysler for a loss. Moss heartbroken?

If Santana Moss weren't so busy with the Washington Redskins OTAs, he might give a thought to the mess at Mercedes. Moss, a "Mercedes man," owns an assortment of high-end vehicles, including a 2006 Mercedes S550 and a "Moss orange" 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8.

Mercedes bought struggling Chrysler Corporation for $36 Billion in 1998, with grandiose platitudes of "merger of equals" and "corporate synergy" and "global automotive behemoth." Global automotive hogwash!

When I heard about the merger, I envisioned an infusion of Mercedes quality control and engineering in the struggling Chrysler. The company needed it. "Struggling" and "Chrysler" was used together so frequently that they could have fused the term into the brand -- Chrysler Straggler 300, Dodge Troubled Ram 1500. Chrysler never quite sank to Ford's notorious quality problems (FORD - Found On Road Dead), but the American brand was considered inferior to similarly priced products from Japan.

When Ford introduced the successful Taurus model in the 'eighties, they went to Yamaha to fine tune their base 3.0L V6 engine. The result was the hot Super High Output (SHO) engine that gave the Taurus the heart of a lion. With the Japanese refinement, Fords equipped with the SHO engine acquired the street name Shogun. The example was ignored in Stuttgart.

According to Detroit Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan, Mercedes never tried to establish a synergy with Chrysler. Too bad. When Mercedes and Chrysler put their heads together on product development, the result was the impressive Chrysler 300C and Santana Moss' aforementioned Dodge Magnum.

We see this in team sports all the time; when highly touted free agents join a team and never live up to the hype. (Token Redskin reference.)

The failure to truly merge shows the insincerity of the original claims. That's a sure sign that the merger was crafted by Yale MBA-type investment bankers who only see brands, plants, people, institutional learning as ciphers on a balance sheet, rather like football front office types who see players as ciphers on a salary cap sheet. (Another token football reference.) Inflated claims and hyperbole are just tools to these MBA types to accomplish a goal.

Now the next group of MBAs get to play the numbers game on Chrysler's balance sheet. This can only end badly for the people and brand at Chrysler. (Full disclosure: I am a MBA, so I get to call out my brother MBAers.)

The tragedy? Chrysler once rivaled Cadillac, Lincoln and Mercedes as one of the world's finest vehicles. My first car was a 1965 Dodge Dart. I've had a soft spot for Chrysler since. I'm sure Santana is heartbroken, too.

Me? I drive Japanese now. My '87 Ford Taurus drove me to it.

Oh yeah; the Skins added some rookies and cut some players today.

Photo: Santana Moss with Dodge Magnum, duPont REGISTRY Celebrity car magazine, April 2007 issue
Photo: Santana Moss' 2006 Mercedes S550, duPont REGISTRY Celebrity car magazine, April 2007 issue
Photo: 1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible, oldcarandtruckpictures.com
Photo: 1966 Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant 2-Door Hardtop,


Mercedes Parts Blog said...

It seems that you have been a really Chryler enthusiast before you got your taurus... I do believe that merging to biggest car manufacturers would also really result in mergeng their technologies such as the Mercedes tune up parts and Chrysler's great exterior design in manufacturing cars... Which in return making it more favorable for car buyers that would want a difference when it comes in great rides...

Master4Caster said...

Thank you for visiting, Mercedes Parts Blog. It seems Chrysler was treated as the ugly step-child in the Mercedes family. For that reason alone, this is probably a good move. But, what a wasted opportunity.