STUTTGART -- DaimlerChrysler says it has established a process to protect the Mercedes-Benz brand while opening the Mercedes parts bin to other brands.
But the company is shy on specifics and even says many features exclusive to Mercedes vehicles will migrate to other brands.
To make parts sharing easier and cut costs, DaimlerChrysler will establish global electronic links between brands for purchasing and other business operations, said Rudiger Grube, deputy board member for corporate development.
DaimlerChrysler also will use common electrical architecture in all vehicles to encourage the use of shared unseen parts, Grube said. He spoke at a DaimlerChrysler media event here last week.
He also said the six senior executives on DaimlerChrysler's new Executive Automotive Committee are focused on preserving the integrity of the group's main car brands: Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Maybach, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Mitsubishi.
Protecting the Mercedes-Benz brand is especially important, Grube added.
The company will put a Mercedes engine in the Chrysler Crossfire, which is scheduled to arrive in 2003, but the company has said the unusual step was taken because financially strapped Chrysler needed swift product help.
Certain technologies and innovations now exclusive to Mercedes-Benz, such as Electronic Stability Program software, eventually will spread to other DaimlerChrysler brands.
The committee has established central brand guidelines with eight attributes: core brand values, styling, safety, technology, driving characteristics, vehicle segment coverage, prices and market presence by region.
Within those boundaries the products of all brands will share components, Grube said.
DaimlerChrysler will look for economies of scale in global purchasing, using the online purchasing exchange Covisint whenever possible.
To share more parts, the Executive Automotive Committee already has approved a reduction in the number of engines and automatic transmissions that DaimlerChrysler will produce by 2006. And the Chrysler group and alliance partners Mitsubishi and Hyundai jointly will develop a gasoline engine family with capacities between 1.8 liters and 2.4 liters.
Projects already under way include a joint platform for the next-generation Mitsubishi Lancer and Chrysler Neon, and another for the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Stratus and Mitsubishi Galant.