FRANKFURT -- Carlos Ghosn and Dieter Zetsche's annual press conference, known on the auto show circuit as "The Carlos and Dieter Show," would be easy to dismiss as mere self-congratulation.
At the auto show here, the two CEOs once again spent an amiable hour recounting their companies' joint projects. But in this year of feverish merger talk, it took on broader implications.
The cooperation between Ghosn's Renault-Nissan Alliance and Zetsche's Daimler produces impressive results and seemingly very little backbiting or culture clash.
The secret seems to be in the two CEOs' preference for the pragmatic over the grandiose. The two automotive giants' hookup is essentially a series of one-offs.
The companies have taken small equity stakes in each other but profess no interest in merging. Instead, they work up business cases and do the projects that seem most promising.