WHEN THE DaimlerChrysler merger goes through later this week the real work will begin. The talks at the top of the two companies will shift from beer hall cordiality and getting to know one another to real strategic issues.
Speed of action will be important. The longer DaimlerChrysler goes without real focus or direction, the more opportunity there is for dissent to fester.
There are signs of discord at both companies. But opposition to a deal of this magnitude has been surprisingly light.
Even the executive-pay disparity issue has been muted. The merger makes too much plain sense. The age of consolidation is at hand and Daimler and Chrysler got there first.
But the 'quiet period' will be replaced by a danger period. The early days of BMW's takeover of Rover were full of backbiting. Workers from each company started complaining about the other side.
At DaimlerChrysler, the tone will be set at the top, helped by the pure likability of so many key Daimler and Chrysler executives.
They'll have to keep selling the merger to their people. And they should be able to.
Synergies have become apparent even before the 'quiet period' ends with shareholder approval this week.
The big r&d tasks will be easier. Suddenly, Chrysler doesn't need to invest in diesel engine development or climb the fuel cell learning curve. Daimler has a ready-made minivan platform.
And Chrysler's plant in Graz, Austria, is a natural solution for adding production capacity in Europe for the Mercedes M-class.
Only people problems can prevent the success of the merger.