There's plenty in a name Mr. Benz

Posted by: David Kiley on October 5, 2007

The former DaimlerChrysler changed its name to Daimler AG, choosing not to revert back to the Daimler-Benz AG name it had before its troublesome 1998 merger with Chrysler.

The rationale for this decision? Um. Uh. Well…Exactly.

There are plenty of ready examples of the efficiencies gained through proper brand management of one name: Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM, Apple.

But the management team that gave us the Mercedes R-Class and the Dodge Nitro…they have a better idea. Let’s actually divorce the corporation’s name from its most valued asset—Mercedes-Benz. Despite the fact that the company has assets such as Freightliner Truck, I would have been advocating for, perhaps Mercedes-Benz AG, rather than losing Benz all together.

Having covered the company for many years, I bet I know the reasoning hatched in Stuttgart. They reckon that in case they get into a management scandal, or mismanage the company into bad deals that drive down the stock price, they want their most valued asset, Mercedes-Benz, completely insulated. It’s an incredibly cycnical way to manage a brand, but I would be that’s the reason.

Well…at least the folks driving old classic Daimler branded cars to the collectible car shows will be pleased.

Reader Comments

gulfbridge

October 11, 2007 11:22 PM

How will they manage the confusion around the world with the Daimler brand now owned and managed by Jaguar?

Noz

October 16, 2007 7:07 PM

I am not sure name/badge confusion is the issue. One must remember that there is a fresh crop of buyers bubbling to the surface, those with little recall of super-sorry times past. A disproportionately large number seem to buy into MB hype. Certainly they cannot be impressed with the Land Rover-like bottom of the list reliability of the last 5-6 year's worth of losers. Of course the Germans blame the Turks for all their problems, arrogance once again, and this does not explain the sorry situation with thousands of US-assembled SUVs.

I well recall the introduction of the Lexus LS in about 1989. The Automotive press was saying it is a MB knockoff, etc., etc. And Lord HONDA knows it was reasonably priced, some-thing no other car in that class could claim. As time passed, Lexus sales grew, and this was not a price issue after a while as both the cost and the reputation grew by leaps and bounds. The product line expanded gradually, whe quality remained First Rate, if not higher when measured by ever-sagging MB standards, good grief! What the Lexus line lacks today is what it always has, and that is German roadworthyness. On the other hand, there are very few buyers who fully appreciate this rather athletic feature, let alone are able to put it to good use. Even the autobahns are now being policed and speed-restricted. So, in the ende, just about everywhere but in Germany, Lexus is the winner in sales and customer satisfaction.

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