Will Fiat Be the Next Daimler?
Mercedes Benz SLS AMG
Will Chrysler benefit from the Fiat merger, or is this another Daimler deal?
by William Foster
Since Fiat SpA first joined forces with the Chrysler Group, eventually making the financial and strategic moves to increase their ownership to a majority amount, many have compared this recent merger to the deal between Chrysler and Daimler Benz. Unfortunately, many Chrysler workers and enthusiasts were glad to see the owners of Mercedes Benz sell off their ownership of the American automotive group, so comparisons between the deals involving Daimler and Fiat are generally not a positive one…but will this merger benefit Chrysler in the long run?
When Daimler took the reins over Chrysler, the German company was coming
in to preserve the Chrysler brands, but in the long run, Daimler proved
to be more of a parasite – absorbing technology and model plans from
Chrysler for their own projects. Included in this group is the
incredible Mercedes Benz SLS AMG, which allegedly uses a great many
design ideas originally planned for the next generation Dodge Viper.
After the AMG engineers got their hands on the various chassis and
suspension plans that were destined for the next Viper, the plans for
that new Viper were brought to an abrupt halt, while the existing Viper
continued kicking ass around the world.
The Viper and SLS issue is just
one of the moves made by Daimler during their reign over Chrysler that
made it a deal that really only benefitted the Mercedes side of the
company. It should also be pointed out that Daimler already had a
flourishing dealer network in the US, so Daimler had no real reason to
prioritize the future of the Chrysler brands over their own Mercedes
On the other hand, Fiat does not have a dealer network in the US, so in
buying their way into Chrysler, Fiat has far more reason to see the
Chrysler Group brands boom in America. Fiat was quick to begin selling
existing Chrysler products in new markets, badged as Chrysler vehicles
along with some of the models wearing Fiat or Lancia badges. This has
helped those US factories building vehicles for the foreign market and
it won’t stop there, as the Maserati SUV based on the Dodge Durango will
be built at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. There are also other
future vehicles planned for American production and overseas sales.
Fiat, the merger with Chrysler was far more than just buying into an
American company. The Italian group has been quick to use this new
partnership to help sell new models like the Fiat 500 in North America,
while also farming American-built vehicles in new markets around the
Fiat had to do way more than just write a big check to get their hands
on a majority portion of the Chrysler Group. The amount of effort
made by the new management shows a dedication to protecting the future
of the Chrysler Group. During the brief time that Fiat has been calling
the shots at Chrysler, we have seen the smallest of the American
automakers climb out of the grasp of bankruptcy while introducing a huge
spread of new vehicles that should help Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Jeep,
Fiat and the new SRT group succeed well into the future – a future that
very clearly has the Fiat group working hand in hand with their American
partners for total company growth.
Is Daimler and Fiat like apples and oranges? Shout off in the Forums!