Now that Chrysler Corp. and Daimler-Benz AG are planning the biggest industrial merger in history, the devil is in the details. And keeping in mind that many details are lacking, here are some frequently asked questions - FAQs - about DaimlerChrysler AG.
Who will run the show?
The two chief executives - Chrysler's Robert Eaton and Daimler's Juergen Schrempp - will be co-CEOs for three years. Then Eaton will retire, leaving Schrempp in charge. Both executives say they will share power, and Chrysler executives will get key roles in top management. But there is little doubt that the man in charge will be Schrempp, a skilled infighter nicknamed 'Neutron Juergen.'
Where will Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc. locate its North American headquarters?
Until recently, Daimler's U.S. marketing arm planned to relocate from Montvale, N.J., to Orangetown, N.Y. Cost overruns forced the company to reconsider. Now it has three options: stay put, move to New York or join Chrysler in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Will the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, which currently includes the Big 3, toss out DaimlerChrysler?
'To be perfectly honest, I have no idea,' says AAMA spokesman Max Gates. In 1992, the group booted out Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. Three makers of heavy trucks - PACCAR Inc., Navistar International Corp. and Volvo North America Corp. - also were shown the door.
Will the UAW and the Canadian Auto Workers get seats on Daimler-Chrysler's board of supervisors?
UAW President Steve Yokich and CAW President Buzz Hargrove are expected to demand seats. The German autoworker union IG Metall is represented on Daimler's board, giving the German union a voice on key issues such as layoffs and production plans. Hard-nosed bargainers Yokich and Hargrove will want similar clout.
Where will purchasing decisions be made?
Wherever Gary Valade happens to sleep at night. Chrysler's CFO will run DaimlerChrysler's worldwide purchasing.
Will the new automaker jointly design Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz vehicles?
The two companies will want to avoid accusations of 'badge engineering' - the practice of developing nearly identical models for different brands. But DaimlerChrysler could emulate the strategy set by Ford Motor Co. and Jaguar Cars Ltd. The British automaker soon will unveil the X200, a 'baby Jag' similar to the BMW 5 series that it developed with Ford's help. Lincoln also will get two new models derived from the same platform. Even if Daimler and Chrysler do not design an X200-style car, they could share powertrains and other components.
Will we see Mercedes cars in Chrysler showrooms, and vice versa?
Not a chance. Neutron Juergen does not want to water down the prestige of Mercedes' three-pointed star.
Will the Big 3 still be called the Big 3?
Highly paid linguists are wrestling with this one. Until American Motors was acquired by Chrysler in 1987, some Detroiters referred to the Big 4. Can you say: 'Die Grossen Drei'?