LEIPZIG, Germany -- DaimlerChrysler will lower showroom standards for its Mercedes-Benz dealers in Germany to make it easier for them to add Chrysler group models.
"The current market situation leaves little room for insisting on stringent standards," said Christoph Köpke, head of Daimler-Chrysler's German distribution network, at the auto show here.
Details such as how many cars dealers must stock or how they arrange advertising flags and signs will be changed so that more Mercedes dealers can sell cars from the Chrysler group, which includes the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands.
Of the 240 Mercedes dealers in Germany, 89 also sell Chrysler group brands.
Mercedes dealers that add Chrysler group models will be encouraged to have separate entrances and parking areas for customers of the brands.
Inside the showroom dealers will have to keep strict visual separation between the brands.
Dealers selling the different brands need to avoid approaching Chrysler customers in the same way as a Mercedes customer, Köpke said.
"Chrysler's image is provocative and loud," he said. A Chrysler buyer seeks "adventure and independence" while a Mercedes customer looks for German virtues such as "comfort and security," he said.
Köpke ruled out multibrand dealerships under a common DaimlerChrysler corporate identity, an idea that the company has considered.