Daimler is getting cozy with Chrysler again, or at least the American side of Stellantis, so they can tackle battery development and production. Those in the know will recall that Chrysler has been passed around more than a bottle of booze at a middle school party. But its long history of partnerships also kept it in business and resulted in some of its better products.
Before the Amero-French merger that resulted in Stellantis, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was an Italian-American company with facilities dotted around North America. Prior to that, it was known as DaimlerChrysler – resulting in the LX Platform, Pentastar V6, and a wider variety of Jeep Wranglers. Now, Chrysler’s alienated German wife has shown up on the doorstep with a wad of cash and news that she’ll be investing it into the new battery business.
Back in June, we brought you news that Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG seemed to be working on a relationship — potentially yielding jointly developed products aimed at the commercial sector. At the time, both companies issued a joint memorandum of understanding about potential product alliances.
With the Blue Oval’s stock price in the dumpster, Jim Hackett constantly nattering about “fitness,” and VW’s desire to increase its market share in America, it wouldn’t be the oddest of marriages if these two companies joined forces in more than just the commercial market.
Stranger things have happened … like DaimlerChrysler. Wait, that’s probably a bad example.
Two or three times a year, Jack Roush’s Roush Collection has an open house. The Collection is the private museum where Roush keeps many of the race winning cars from what is now Roush-Fenway Racing as well as cars and artifacts from his personal collection of cars, motorcycles and airplanes (the “Cat in the Hat” must have nine lives indeed because the guy has survived two plane wrecks). Since they bring in tables for merchandise and memorabilia to sell during the open house, some of the items in the museum get moved around. Up against the back wall were a bunch of engines, race and prototype, from various projects or race cars. I was admiring one of Jack’s beloved flathead Ford V8s and nearby noticed an odd looking V4, banded to a pallet, with just a tag that said “Gemini engine” and instructions to send it to the Roush museum, with a couple of names after “Attn:”. One of the names was that of a senior Roush engineer.
This one’s a bit of a golden oldie, but in light of the recent round of promotions at the Haus of Daimler (not to mention this video’s unintentionally prophetic tagline), it’s worth mentioning. Charges in the 6 year old SEC-DOJ investigations of what was then DaimlerChrysler may be settled by Daimler for “about $200 million” according to anonymous Bloomberg [via BusinessWeek] sources. The probe had looked into allegations that the German firm regularly bribed government officials in a number of jurisdictions (including Sadaam Hussein, in the Oil For Food scandal), the broad strokes of which the firm essentially admitted in 2005. Though Daimler announced that it would cooperate with investigators and that “several” employees were fired, details were never released. At least one whistleblower has alleged that knowledge of slush funds and bribery were known at the highest ranks in Daimler, and the ever-helpful NY Times notes that
As recently as 1997, the German government counted the bribes paid to foreigners by German companies as tax- deductible.
No wonder these guys promote from inside.