Book Description

Amazon.com Review It all started with a misunderstanding. Kirk Kerkorian, the Las Vegas wheeler-dealer, thought Chrysler's management would back him up if he tried to take the company private. Chrysler's management thought they'd made it clear they had no interest in such a deal. As the two sides faced off--Kerkorian and legendary Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca on one side, current Chrysler boss Bob Eaton and his top executives on the other--Mercedes-Benz CEO Helmut Werner stepped in. The result is the company now known as DaimlerChrysler. But Vlasic and Stertz make clear no one really knows the result of the deal. It's far too early to tell if blending the manufacturer of sleek German luxury sedans with the Detroit-based progenitor of the minivan will succeed in the global marketplace. Instead, they show in riveting detail how the deal came to be, and the immediate aftermath. They give us private moments with the major players and show us the multilayered considerations that crop up when two gigantic companies merge. Another book will have to judge the ultimate success of the merger, but the immediate results aren't exactly promising. By late 1999, a share of the original Chrysler was worth a few pennies less than it had been before the merger was announced, and only about a dollar more than before Kerkorian made his move back in April 1995. --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more From Publishers Weekly '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) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more See all Editorial Reviews

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