THE EASE and speed with which Daimler-Benz and Chrysler merged was remarkable.
The main thing the two sides learned from studying 50 previous mergers was that they had to move fast and avoid distractions.
They applied the lessons well. Future merger-makers may not need 50 case studies. They may need only DaimlerChrysler.
So far, so good, but now the merger must change focus from DaimlerChrysler to the brands. It is time to let Chrysler be Chrysler (and Plymouth, Dodge and Jeep) and to let Daimler be Mercedes-Benz.
Lack of product overlap helps make this possible. The two sides of D/C can go about their businesses, helping but not hindering each other.
Still, there are concerns in Germany that the huge silver star that rotates high above Daimler-Chrysler's half-headquarters in Moehringen, Germany will no longer symbolize the group.
But rather than tarnish the star Chrysler can help polish it. Now, the Mercedes brand doesn't need to stretch in all directions for Daimler to grow. There is even speculation that the next-generation A-class will get a Chrysler badge. That isn't necessary. But with their flank covered, D/C managers can now concentrate on taking Mercedes onward and upward, not downward.
The ongoing integration of D and C is governed by the need to preserve, protect and defend the brands.
Emphasizing DaimlerChrysler as a 'brand' seems pointless. It is debatable whether the heavy corporate advertising blitz that accompanied Day One was necessary. The greater need is to keep the vehicle brands front and center.
Let DaimlerChrysler recede into the background.