Chrysler Corp.'s platform teams will continue to thrive after the automaker's planned merger with Daimler-Benz AG, said Chris Theodore, Chrysler's vice president of platform engineering.
In fact, Daimler-Benz may adopt many of Chrysler's engineering ideas and practices. 'Daimler-Benz has benchmarked us many times in the past,' Theodore said. 'They are very interested. We have both agreed that we are going to look to each other and emulate each other's best practices.'
Theodore, who became vice president of platform engineering on 1 January, knows something about mergers. He was working for American Motors Corp. when Chrysler bought the company in 1987.
'I've been there, done it before,' he said. 'I know what it takes.'
Chrysler would never abandon its platform-team strategy, said Rich Schaum, Chrysler's vice president of quality and serviceability. He said they are a significant competitive advantage.
Theodore said he did not know how long it would take for Chrysler and Daimler-Benz engineering to adopt each other's best practices and work as a seamless organization.
'I'm sure at some point in time they will be,' Theodore said. 'We're having a lot of fun right now. Just pick off the best ones first and go on. It's easy on the technical side. We have a common language. Thank God engineering is science-based.'