WASHINGTON, D.C. – To counter fears that the US government may introduce measures to protect its domestic auto industry, Daimler-Chrysler put on a big show here called “Impact on America.”
The German-American company aimed to impress hundreds of policy-makers and opinion shapers with D/C’s importance to the US economy and society, despite its mixed parentage.
The three-day exhibition, symposium and celebration was held June 6 to 8 for public officials and the media. It was “a demonstration of the full scope of DaimlerChrysler and its commitment to the United States,” said Dennis Fitzgibbons, the company’s executive director of public policy.
D/C joins other non-US automakers concerned about being placed at a competitive disadvantage by subtle changes in laws, regulations and attitudes that benefit US companies.
Toyota features its US plants and workers in its advertising in the US.
DaimlerChrysler is especially sensitive to that threat. The 1998 merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corp. often is described as a German takeover of a US company.
Fitzgibbons describes the company’s motives this way: Daimler-Chrysler’s auto brands are well-known. But, he said, policy-makers are less aware of Daimler-Chrysler’s business units that make and sell large commercial trucks, school buses, fire engines and other emergency vehicles.
DaimlerChrysler’s US revenues of about $100 billion (about E80.2 billion) a year amount to 1 percent of US gross domestic product, Fitzgibbons said. The company plans $40 billion in US investment over the next five years, he said.