By on February 17, 2010

Reuters reports that Daimler are so smitten with  Dieter Zetsche, they’ve extended his contract until 2013. By then, Zetsche will be 60 years old, and will have worked for Daimler for 37 years. “Promote the insiders” was the cry in Daimler’s headquarters, as Thomas Weber, a board member responsible for group research, also received a contract extension to 2013. In the excitement, Wolfgang Bernhard was elected to a newly-created seat on Daimler’s board of directors as well. But these votes of confidence shouldn’t be taken for granted. Daimler have some big challenges in front of them, chief of which is a lack of scale and cost competitiveness in the compact segment. Herr Zetsche did start talks with Renault, but nothing has come to fruition yet. Another big problem, particularly in the ego division, is that Daimler are falling behind BMW (and, gasp, even Audi) globally and in emerging markets like China and India. It seems that if Dieter Zetsche wants to retire at 60, he’s going to have to earn it.

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10 Comments on “Daimler Hearts Dr Z...”

  • avatar
    crash sled

    Those Dr. Z commercials were fabulous. Too bad the glow wore off so fast.

    I remember readiing some guy’s account of the first encounter between the German and Chrysler execs. Guy claimed that after hours, they all repaired to the hotel lounge for refreshments, running late into the night. The poor Chrysler guys were standing there drinking mineral water and glancing at their watches, worried about getting to the gym at 5:30AM and into the office before 7:00, but meanwhile the Germans are ordering more rounds, wiping the foam off their mouths and bellowing out in song, with that one big hale-fellow-well-met guy, I forget his name, leading the ensemble. Total culture shock, it was claimed.

    Too bad… they should have tried to make that marriage work somehow, some way. But Mercedes is here to stay now, going great guns down there, and I’d guess Fiat is hoping to follow that same path, using that same stepping stone.

  • avatar

    Good. The longer they keep this loser, the quicker they’ll go down the drain. They can’t keep this company afloat unless there is a “special billion dollar stock” sale to some oil rich sheik every two years.

  • avatar
    Telegraph Road

    Talks with Renault? Perhaps Herr Zetsche can arrange a merger of equals with them, only to bleed them of new product development and sell them off to a Wall Street outfit of politically connected dolts full of more hubris than sense.

    • 0 avatar

      what new products did they get from Chrysler? the time of Chrysler having competitive products was long gone by the time of the merger. The only reason they were profitable at that time, was because of the SUV Boom back then where no one beyond the big 3 had a product.

      Daimler lost a lot of money on Chrysler, and lost their quality leadership at that time too. (well their own fault, nothing between the companies was equal when you look at the product of that time). without the financial support Chrysler would have gone C7 back then. Or do you tell me without Daimler Chrysler would have a Sebring as reliable and good looking as a Camry (insert, your favorite Sedan)?

      they want to work with Renault? Good, since Renault has a very good reputation when it comes to quality and reliability… just being sarcastic.

    • 0 avatar

      Daimler never got product from Chrysler, but that’s not what they needed. If they had not been so arrogant (and so interested in Chrysler’s $10 billion in cash), they could have learned how to develop there cars for less time and money, something Chrysler learned from AMC and Honda. Imagine if the latest E class and C class were brought to market for just 10% less money and still sold at the same prices. They would have a lot more Euro’s to throw around.

      Instead they FUBAR’d Chrysler’s development process, helped themselvs to the wifes bank account (that’s what saved MB in the early 21st century), chased away the very executives who made the company sucessful, and hooked them up to inferior Mitsubishi platforms.

      In JD Powers surveys, Chrysler in the 90’s scored better the Mercedes in reliability, but the mainstream press waxed eloquently about how Mercedes would teach Chrysler about quality, so strong was MB’s quality rep from past years.

      With it’s cash on hand and it excecs in charge Chrysler would not have even smelled a C7 in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. They might have even avoided it recently like Ford, but without the mortgaging of everything.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Gee, one of the mental giants that ran Chrysler to the ground. What was that about rising to the level of one’s incompetence…?

  • avatar

    HMMM Maybe Dr. Z needs some help running Daimler…Maybe he should hire Bob Wagoner, Jim Press and Bob Nardelli…and hell Bob Lutz too!

  • avatar

    Actually, I think if I remember right, Dr. Z. was one of the only Daimler execs who wanted the Chrysler thing to work.

  • avatar

    To be fair to Zetsche, he inherited a lot from Schrempp’s mismanagement. Also to be fair, he’s had a lot of time to recover.

  • avatar


    He’s a funny thing. He’s the 4th or 5th CEO I know who of actually went on TV as some old dude Iacocca, Nasser, Ford Jr, Dr. Z, Whitacre.

    Iacocca did his bit with SNoop Dog… pointless ad.
    Nasser hoped to deflect attention off of Exploder issues.
    Ford Jr Cant remember
    Dr. Z wanted to show off the redeeming qualities of whatever garbage they tried to meld MB with Chrysler.
    And Whitacre… he makes my head hurt.

    Funny thing.
    I wonder why they even bother putting these yahoos on TV.

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