Synopses & Reviews
It was the deal heard round the world. In May 1998, a stunning $36 billion merger was announced by Chrysler, the all-American automaker, and Daimler-Benz, the German manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans. The Wall Street Journal
christened the deal "the biggest industrial merger of all time." The marriage of Daimler and Chrysler promised to rock the global auto industry and draw up a blueprint for international consolidation on an epic scale.
But the union of Chrysler, the blue-collar maker of Jeeps and minivans, with Daimler, the crown jewel of German industry, didn't turn out to be a merger made in heaven. When the dust settled, Daimler had bought Chrysler, and the shock waves reverberated on both sides of the Atlantic. An American icon lost its independence, and a German giant grew in power and influence.
The DiamlerChrysler deal brough together two automotive superpowers and triggered a chain reaction among competitors seeking partners around the world. In a gripping narrative ripped from the daily headlines, Bill Vlasic and Bradley A. Stertz of the Detroit News go behind the scenes of the defining corporate drama of the decade. With groundbreaking reporting, they reveal the untold story behind the unsuccessful attempt to take over Chrysler by its biggest shareholder, the reclusive billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, and its legendary retired CEO, Lee Iacocca. Their startling grab for the smallest of Detroit's Big Three automakers sparked secret talks between Chrysler and Daimler on a massive joint venture. The first deal collapsed, but it set the stage for the final, intense negotiations between Chrysler chairman Robert Eaton and Daimler chairman Jürgen Schrempp. It was hailed as a historic "merger of equals," but the euphoria evaporated amid a clash of cultures, identities, and personalities.
The action moves feverishly around the world with larger-than-life characters in the high-stakes arena of international automaking. Taken for a Ride follows the twists and turns in the road to DaimlerChrysler and, in the end, emerges as a cautionary tale of the risks and rewards of going global.
Vlasic and Stertz of "The Detroit News" reveal the inside story of the Daimler/Chrysler merger and report on the perils of going global.
About the Author
An award-winning business reporter with more than fifteen years of experience specializing in the automotive industry, Bill Vlasic is currently the Detroit bureau chief for the New York Times
. The coauthor of Taken for a Ride
, Vlasic is a winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for excellence in financial journalism and has been recognized for his reporting and investigative journalism by the Associated Press and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Bradley A. Stertz is an assistant managing editor of the Detroit News and a former reporter with the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, with his wife and two children.