D/C takeovers: The buzz begins
DaimlerChrysler AG is barely one month old, and already it's at the center of the rumor mill. Analysts are hearing rumblings about a bid for Detroit Diesel Corp., and a Cummins Engine Co. executive said the industry expects the move. But Tim Leuliette, vice chairman of the Detroit-based engine maker, said DaimlerChrysler is not in talks to acquire Detroit Diesel. DaimlerChrysler owns 20 percent of Detroit Diesel's common stock. Leuliette said Detroit Diesel can enhance shareholder value better through its own acquisitions, not as the target of one. Meanwhile, German news magazine Der Spiegel reports this week that DaimlerChrysler AG is considering buying a stake in Japan's Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
NO MO' 'CO' - Speaking of DaimlerChrysler AG, there's been a change at the top. Bob Eaton and Juergen Schrempp had been called 'co-chairmen.' That's inoperative. Asked last week what the correct title for each is, Eaton responded with one word: 'Chairman.'
THE SHOW OF SHOWS - Let the one-upmanship begin. Ford Motor Co. boasts it will have the largest exhibit in the history of Detroit's North American International Auto Show. A bridge the size of a football field will span the floor and lead to a 350-seat theater. Look for three concept cars and four vehicles (from Japan, Australia, Europe and Brazil) on the bridge. Down below on floor level, Ford will have 82,000 square feet of display space for its six brands (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Jaguar, Aston Martin). The monster display will require more than 200 tons of structural steel, 6,000 square feet of tinted green glass and 3,000 square feet of brushed and stainless steel. Press events for the show start Jan. 3.
LOST IN THE TRANSLATION - Considering that the United States is home to the Happy Meal and the Beanie Baby, the German ad agency for Siemens AG should not be criticized for its out-of-the-box thinking while suggesting U.S. names for a new Siemens onboard navigation system. 'Road Head' was rejected despite its promised appeal to America's legions of punk rockers, as was 'Traffic Commando,' even though it promised to win over the Hummer owner body. America's vast Bible Belt was also targeted, but 'Road Jesus' did not make the final cut either. Ultimately, Siemens chose the comparatively mundane 'TetraStar.'