Douglas McIntyre over at 24/7 Wall St. brings some insight into the Chrysler valuation, which he puts at between $6 billion and $7·5 billion, with some very simple calculations. The ﬁgures are far below the $37 billion valuation when the acquisition happened in 1998.
Factors that drove down the valuation are mostly cultural. Brand observers knew it was an acquisition: for starters, visually, the German branding won the day. The Swabians made little effort to understand the American brands, viewing them as merely mass-market operations (BMW made the same mistake with Rover). Colloquially, the word Daimler stuck a little more than one expected of a ﬁrm called DaimlerChrysler in later years. However, because of mixed messages (‘merger of equals’) and the usual German warmth—contrary to stereotypes, Germans tend to be very accommodating—the corporate culture actually became confused: the new brand failed to drive anything, because no real thinking toward a merged brand ever took place. Chrysler was merely an American subsidiary while English turned out to be the lingua franca for cross-divisional dealings, which hardly gelled with German executives who knew, internally, that this was a German company. Two HQs were maintained. Go to the German one and the three-pointed star proudly sits atop the building (see the Flickr photo by Wrldvoyagr, top left). Chrysler and the old Daimler-Benz operated nearly independently, which was a huge contrast to the old Chrysler, which prided itself on integration.
I am saying that a proper brand strategy would have helped in ensuring that DaimlerChrysler worked as an integrated company, and it would have taken some car guys with expertise in that area to have done that. Immodestly, I could have done that, and my thinking has advanced considerably since 2000.
When Toyota grew its ops Stateside and began including white faces on its board, it never lost its culture. It was always sure of its brand, keeping it ﬁrm despite changes in the market-place (a brand should be reasonably timeless, or at least lasting for a generation). Ford Motor Co., for all its woes, understood the value of preserving individual brands and cultures. In both cases, individual units such as Lexus, Volvo and Aston Martin have performed reasonably well (with exceptions such as Jaguar). Posted by Jack Yan, 04:54
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