Two DaimlerChrysler Shareholders, Ekkehard Wenger and Leonhard Knoll have submitted a name change proposal to the DaimlerChrysler board of directors, detailing their wishes for the company to drop the name Chrysler regardless of whether Chrysler gets sold off or not. “If a proper separation cannot be effected within one year, this would only serve to underscore the need to remove this affliction on the image from the corporations name,” said Wenger and Knoll.
However DaimlerChrysler’s board opposes the change, saying there is no grounds for the name change proposal. “The DaimlerChrysler name is established all over the world. There are no grounds to change the name of the corporation,” the company said in a statement.
Nevertheless, a vote on the name change will be held at the shareholder’s meeting in April. DaimlerChrysler was previously known as Daimler-Benz until the merger with Chrysler in 1998. From what was supposed to be a merger of equals, Daimler-Benz ended up babysitting Chrysler through the years.
On the matter of who’ll Chrysler end up with, it seems that private equity groups are willing to pay alot more money than General Motors and automotive-related firm Magna International. The highest bid is currently at US$5 billion, while Magna is offering US$4 billion. Chrysler posted a US$1.5 billion loss last month.
However, employees do not want Chrysler to fall into the hands of a non-automotive owner. “We wouldn’t support a solution such as a private equity firm that would cut out choice bits. We prefer if a manufacturing company like another automaker take control of Chrysler in the event of a sale,” said Helmut Lense, one of the 10 employee representatives on DaimlerChrysler’s 20-member supervisory board.
Lense is also against the Chery deal. “Chrysler won’t improve its image by selling what are effectively Chinese cars,” he said. Lense also thinks a sell-off is not really necessary, as a revamp of Chrysler could be done by doing a total revamp of it’s passenger car model line-up. Chrysler has been over-reliant on truck sales, which have taken a downturn the past 2 years. One solution proposed would be for Chrysler to take over the Mercedes Benz A-Class and B-Class, leaving Mercedes to focus on more premium vehicles.