Daimler Goes to Baghdad
May 9th, 2008 10:49 AM Share
Compared to GM going double down on Michigan real estate, this one seems like business as usual. The Wall Street Journal [sub] reports that while Iraq is a contentious focus of US Presidential politics, the Germans are stepping-in to figure out how to sell more trucks thereabout. Hopefully, they will also figure out how to get someone other that the US taxpayers to buy them. Also of note: "the Kuwaiti government is Daimler's biggest shareholder." Now I understand the gas guzzling Mercedes Benz V-12s. Ya gotta keep the big shareholder happy.
Published May 9th, 2008 10:49 AM
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Clearly, there is more than one way to make a killing. Oh, bad pun, bad... (hangs head in shame)
I was a Motor Transport Officer in 2nd MarDiv, USMC, during the 1st Gulf War, Desert Storm/Desert Shield. I was in charge of our unit's motor pool, including all of the rolling stock, operators, and mechanics. We would see these Mercedes (and Volvo) trucks all around Saudi and Kuwait in large numbers, usually driven by Pakistani or Filipino truck drivers. We often found many of these vehicles left on the side of the road, often with nothing more wrong with them than a broken fan belt or just from being stuck in the sand - most were 2WD. We called them "circus trucks", at first with humor and curiosity based on their loud color schemes and frilly carpeted middle eastern themed interiors and then over time with admiration and respect. They are tough, durable, and fuel efficient, and would easily replace our then current 5-ton AM General flat bed trucks. So unless we needed the off-road capability of our 5-tons, we would employ these circus trucks to do our general hauling and such. As the war wound down and we were packing up to go home, we would leave all of our acquired vehicles, including these Mercedes flat beds, in "amnesty lots" for the Saudis to find and reuse. Often times, Marines and Solders would just go to any amnesty lot and re-acquire a vehicle for various reasons. This article brought back memories. I like being a stateside veteran and do not envy the service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I do miss those days.
"vehicles left on the side of the road, often with nothing more wrong with them than a broken fan belt." Reminiscent of those stories about Russian peasants in the 30's whose tractors had run out of gas, so they started whipping them like they had their plow horses. And thanks, dastanley, for your service to the nation.
DASTANLEY: thank you, thank you to your family, and thank you to your buddies for everything you folks have done for our country. I am ex-Navy but never served in a combat zone (was in '90-'96). You guys did the work. Hope everyone comes home sooner rather than later. Saw alot of Mercedes products in Italy and was impressed with their durability. Don't know what is up with their luxury sedans here but I suspect the shear complexity of the vehicle undermines their quality ratings here.