Twelve months after the parties and good cheer surrounding its Say One ceremonies, Daimlerchrysler is trying to live happily ever after.
'We marry in the twilight and live in the sunlight,' said one D/C executive las week.
How are things going one year later? Here is an A-toT look back at some of D/C's stated hopes and objectives on day one - Nov. 12, 1998 - and what has happened since.
Day one: Some of D/C's $20 billion in cash reserves will be used to buy another company.
Today: DaimlerChrysler wants to buy another automaker before spring to strengthen itself in small-car segments and in Asia. Talks are under way with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Fiat, Mitsubishi and Honda. Honda is the most attractive potential partner, but D/C executives say they are not close to an agreement with any of the four. D/C earlier this year passed on an opportunity to buy Nissan Motor Co., mainly because it couldn't spare management resources in the early days of the merger.
Day one: Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler brands never will be intermingled.
Today: A 'brand bible' defines core values and the limits of integration. It says Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and Jeeps never will share a platform with another D/C brand.
Day one: Department heads with groupwide responsibility will establish common processes that will apply on both sides of the Atlantic.
Today: It didn't work. The cultures were too different. Now each side is organized as before the merger. Germans were bothered by the Americans' unstructured ways, while Americans thought the Germans were too rigid and formal.
Day one: Mixed production could occur at Chrysler's plant in Windsor, Ontario, and at Mercedes-Benz A-class factories in Rastatt, Germany, and Juiz de Fora, Brazil.
Today: Windsor was considered for production of a Mercedes-Benz minivan, but the project was killed. Rastatt and Juiz de Fora still have a chance to build a future Chrysler compact car to compete in the VW Polo class.
Chrysler Europe car
Day One: 'We're not contemplating doing a `European vehicle',' Robert Eaton said.
Today: D/C may build a Chrysler for Europe to compete in the VW Polo segment. In September, executives hinted that the Chrysler Java concept car foretells a Chrysler-badged small car for Europe.
Day one: Executives will be shifted between the United States and Germany.
Today: About 50 Chrysler executives have moved from North America to Europe, and about 30 ex-Daimler-Benz managers were sent from Germany to the United States.
Day one: Jeeps could be equipped with Mercedes-built diesels in global markets.
Today: The Grand Cherokee will be first. The model sold outside North America uses Italian-built VM diesel engines that are less sophisticated than the common-rail diesels used by Mercedes-Benz.
Day one: Back office and logistics operations will be consolidated where possible. Some Mercedes-Benz dealers in Europe may add Chrysler franchises.
Today: Wholesale and back-office operations already are merged in most countries. Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler showrooms remain separate, except in emerging markets such as Indonesia. In Germany, about 20 Mercedes-Benz dealers have applied for Chrysler dealerships.
Day one: D/C will pay a higher dividend than German companies typically pay.
Today: A 4.5-mark dividend in 1999, about $2.60 a share, was the largest in corporate Germany.
Day one: To reconcile huge differences in pay between top Daimler-Benz and Chrysler executives, D/C probably will adopt American-style pay packages.
Today: Top managers of the company (level A: two chairmen, B: 12 board members, C: about 20 brand board members) receive a fixed salary coupled with stock options and performance bonuses. Germans now have a lower base pay but higher variable pay. So Juergen Schrempp is eligible for the kind of big payday Robert Eaton has enjoyed in the past.
Day one: Headquarters will be split between Auburn Hills, Mich., and Stuttgart.
Today: Stuttgart is now the lone headquarters, say D/C executives in Germany.
'The two-headquarters situation was the biggest problem because it permitted far too much decentralization,' said a senior D/C executive. 'This resulted in a lack of strong leadership and clear responsibilities. This problem is solved now.'
Monthly management board meetings are now every other week in New York.
Day one: Chairmen's Integration Council, chaired by Tom Stallkamp, has been formed to bring together about 100 operations in areas such as purchasing, product development, research and finance.
Today: The council will dissolve this month, with 90 percent of the targeted integration projects completed and transferred to the line organizations. The key body for the integration is now the Automotive Council, which includes division heads Juergen Hubbert (Mercedes-Benz, Smart), Jim Holden (Chrysler) and Dieter Zetsche (trucks).
Day one: Meetings involving former Chrysler executives will be in English.
Today: Language 'is not really a big barrier,' said Roland Klein, head of corporate communications. 'But the big efforts of the Germans in improving their English are not met by similar efforts on the American side to learn German. Of all board members, only Tom Stallkamp took regular German lessons. All the others gave up pretty soon.'
Day one: The 18-member management board - 10 from Daimler-Benz, eight from Chrysler - is expected to be reduced in size, with some responsibilities combined.
Today: In September, the board was pared to 14, nine Germans and five Americans.
Day one: The companies will learn from each other - Daimler about Chrysler leanness, Chrysler about Daimler quality.
Today: A benchmark book with 150 best-practice examples is being written. Examples: Mercedes-Benz is carrying out Chrysler's CAD/CAM/CAE system. Chrysler is applying quick problem-detection techniques common at Mercedes-Benz plants.
Day one: Chrysler will help engineer a Mercedes minivan if it is approved.
Today: Plans for a classic minivan with a Mercedes-Benz badge were killed. Instead, the development team is concentrating on creating a type of vehicle to be launched in 2002. It combines minivan versatility with the robustness of an off-roader and drives like a station wagon. The main market will be the United States; production is likely to be at the M-class plant in Alabama.
Day one: Daimler's car and truck suppliers will be introduced to the Chrysler cost-reduction program, called SCORE. Chrysler suppliers will join the Daimler-Benz technology-sharing program, called Tandem.
Today: The systems have been combined, but there has been friction.
Day one: Premium-quality perception of Mercedes-Benz vehicles will not be diminished. Chrysler's reputation could be improved.
Today: Specialists from the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, were sent to Chrysler factories to carry out improvement programs. For example, cloth trim on the A pillar inside Chrysler cars wrinkled with temperature changes. Mercedes engineers showed Chrysler how to fix that.
Day one: Will save at least $1.4 billion in 1999 through synergies, including $500 million from the combined purchase of parts and raw materials. Expects savings of $3 billion within two to three years.
Today: D/C said it would save $1.4 billion this year, with about one-third coming from combined purchasing. The company has not announced a savings target for shared operations for 2000.
Day one: Robert Eaton said, 'I will have, until the day I walk out of here, the equivalent authority, responsibility, however you want to call it, as Juergen Schrempp.'
Today: Schrempp is in command, but the two men regularly speak on the phone, said one D/C executive close to Schrempp. 'There was never any friction between them.' Schrempp has given Eaton 'a completely free hand to determine when he resigns.' But the D/C executive also said, 'Eaton's 60th birthday would be a nice date.' Eaton turns 60 on Feb. 13, 2000.
Day one: The admired president of DaimlerChrysler's North American operations is 'more equal' than other board members and was put in charge of the integration. 'I expect that Tom Stallkamp or one of the people (at Chrysler) will take over after Juergen Schrempp,' Eaton said.
Today: Stallkamp is out, reportedly for annoying Schrempp and other Germans with his Chrysler-style bluntness. But one senior German executive had this assessment of Stallkamp: 'Zero competence and zero management quality, weak leadership. Eaton got fed up with him and kicked him out. Schrempp was not involved but was glad it happened.'
Day one: Daimler will make innovations such as electronic stability, anti-skid, cockpit management and active cruise-control technology available to Chrysler within a year.
Today: Nothing so far.