The “merger” date, November 17, 1998 — or “Day One” — was celebrated at all DaimlerChrysler (“DCX”) sites around the world. The name on every Chrysler facility was changed, and labels, business cards, and email addresses became DaimlerChrysler. Many employees got a memorabilia package — for some, the last good thing to come from DaimlerChrysler.
Insiders watched with dismay as cost-cutting spread from what people could not see, to what they easily did see, feel, and hear, from taking out windshield-wiper defrosters from minivans to using cheap, stiff, rattly plastics inside the cars. “I watched them delete interior content with each change, and each revision they made cars and parts worse — usually for pennies.”
Daimler passed nearly 80% of what had become Chrysler Group to Cerberus on August 3, 2007. There was considerable excitement and enthusiasm until Bob Nardelli was appointed CEO and Cerberus’ plan became clear. Chrysler declared bankruptcy in 2009 and a consortium of the U.S. and Canadian governments and Fiat purchased most of its assets in the same year, with most of the new company eventually belonging to Fiat and 55% belonging to the employee benefits association, which will, like the government, sell their shares over time.
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