The rest of that title should read: after a long detour through nowhere.
DaimlerChrysler is no more. It's just Daimler now, thank you. Like a divorcee asking you to refer to her by her maiden name again, all the while saying to herself,"What was I thinking marrying that creep? I'm glad I dumped that albatross."
Why is it that in business bigger is always considered better? Why couldn't Mercedes-Benz be happy with making some of the world's best, most luxurious cars? Why did they feel the need to sell more cars than their competitors? Even if those cars were Chryslers and Dodges? You know, if I was as successful a writer as Mercedes-Benz is at building cars, I'd be happy with myself. I wouldn't want anything more. I wouldn't, say, go off and try to be an actor too. Or a composer. I'd stick to what I do best and enjoy the rewards. I'd take pride in the work that I did, knock off at 6pm, and go have a beer with my friends (if I had any). And I'd like to think that if at some point I were to be struck by the fancy to indulge one or other of my pipe dreams, the better part of me would refrain the less better part of me from doing it.
DaimlerChrysler never made any sense to me. The brands never really complimented each other in any way. No consumer 'graduates' from a Dodge to a Mercedes-Benz the way a 20 year old buys a Scion and then move on to a Toyota at 30 and, once he loses his hair, his self-worth, his creative ambitions and takes that corporate schlep job he always swore he wouldn't, at 40, buys a Lexus as his pitiful reward. (Am I sounding cynical these days? Better have my therapist give my medications a second look). There was no logic in the collection of brands. BMW and Mini? Wise from the get-go and great execution. Do I like Minis? They're overpriced, ugly, small and impractical. I'd take a Puegeot 207 any day. But the brand has an identity and it compliments BMW. The only reason for the DaimlerChrysler merger was blind ambition.
And all Chrysler did for them was drag down the image of Mercedes. It really hurt their brand and a lot of the reliability issues they had a few years back was likely due, in part, to a cynical consumer view that the company was cutting corners on development because it was a corporate giant just looking to make money.
There are automakers, like BMW, who, after the debacle with Rover, played it smart with Mini to great success. There are others, like Peugeot, who like to grow organically and shy away from mergers or large, risky adventures. There is VW Group, whose collection of brands makes perfect sense, if they don't always manage it well or exploit their brands properly or position their products the right way. Audi is a case in point of an automaker doing the hard work, over decades, of focusing on quality and performance, and building a brand, in this case, a premium brand, that can compete with the likes of Mercedes and BMW.
Mercedes-Benz is now revamping its public image. It is changing the look of its marketing and ad material and it's corporate logo, the silver star with "Mercedes-Benz" in writing below will now become just the star along. It will sit in the top right corner of the ads as if to say that the badge speaks for itself. This is smart. This is what they should be focused on. Reminding people that they make great cars. That should be enough.