As mergers go, it has been a quiet one.
A little more than a year ago, DaimlerChrysler Financial Ser-vices (debis) North America was born.
Shortly after that, CEO Darrell Davis began to plan how to bring its two North American brands, Mercedes-Benz Credit and Chrys-ler Financial, under one roof.
Earlier this year, Davis an-nounced plans for a new headquarters building that does just that. It will be built within shouting distance of DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler group headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Mercedes-Benz Credit is moving all of its automotive credit personnel to Michigan, expected to be complete by September.
Mercedes-Benz Credit's offices in Norwalk, Conn., remain the headquarters of DaimlerChrysler Capital Services (debis). The capital services company is the result of a merger of the former Chrysler Capital and debis Financial Services.
After the $80 million headquarters is finished in 2002, the Chrysler group's finance arm will be able to coordinate closely with the manufacturing company.
The merger of the financial arms might be ahead of that of the manufacturing and sales companies.
At the outset, the former Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corp. pledged a 'merger of equals' with plenty of opportunities for management consolidation while keeping the brand names distinct in the eyes of customers.
What soon became apparent, however, was that the two arms of the company had ingrained cultures that were essentially incompatible.
Earlier this month, Hilmar Kopper, chairman of DaimlerChrysler AG's supervisory board, affirmed the obvious: 'There's an American management for America and another management for the rest of the world.' The two management teams will operate as stand-alone organizations, with the different brands remaining distinct to consumers.
At the credit arm, the strategy from the beginning was to keep the Chrysler and Mercedes brands separate while melding as many back-office operations as possible.