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Studebaker Today? (If the Mercedes Benz Merger Had Been Completed)

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  • Studebaker Today? (If the Mercedes Benz Merger Had Been Completed)

    Studebaker today?
    (If the Mercedes merger had completed)


    <span style="color: rgb(29, 33, 41); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

    Jeff


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

  • #2
    Pretty cool Jeff. It sure solves all my problems regarding dashboards & the confining space.
    Thanks for the post.
    Bill

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    • #3
      Only one of those robots would have blown the entire budget Studebaker had at it's disposal in any of the final years. Ask Chrysler how that merger worked out for them.

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      • #4
        Studebaker was MB distributor.....I never heard of any merger talk?
        Lou Van Anne
        62 Champ
        64 R2 GT Hawk
        79 Avanti II

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 556063 View Post
          Ask Chrysler how that merger worked out for them.
          I read Chrysler got MB's hand-me-downs.

          Craig

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lou Van Anne View Post
            Studebaker was MB distributor.....I never heard of any merger talk?
            There might have been talk, but likely never any real prospect for action. In the 1960's, any American Company being taken over by a former "Axis Power" Company would have been a death sentence. Too many WWII guys buying stuff. I remember the discussions with Toyota and Richard Nixon as an advisor to the Studebaker Board, etc. I worked for a Komatsu distributor, and as recently as 15 years ago, Komatsu still had great apprehension about acquiring an American Company. Even though, through Dresser Industries, they ended up being the heir to the International Harvester Heavy Equipment line.

            It had no chance of happening in 1963. Studebaker was still teaching M-B how to sell in the American Market, too. Even though Studebaker had bigger problems themselves. Studebaker gave Mercedes it's "elite" market position by promoting it that way. They enjoy more "status" in the U.S. than in many other markets, and that is primarily because of the way Studebaker marketed them.

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            • #7
              Example: My father was hired by Roth Plating, Studebaker's plating supplier, in 1959-1961. His first job was to buff down Mercedes bumpers damaged on the boat. If only one bumper was damaged, they had to re-plate both front and back because the Roth plating was so much brighter and shiny than the German plating.

              Mechanically, the M-B's were solid. But, in those days, Europeans didn't care about things like paint runs and dull plating.

              Studebaker taught M-B about the importance of aesthetics in the U.S. Market, for just one thing.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
                I read Chrysler got MB's hand-me-downs.

                Craig
                The Sebring/Stratus (JA cars), which were a competitive small sedan, got sold to the Russians, and Sterling Heights plant was retooled for the 200/Avenger. Neither of those met the sales of the JA, although the Avenger held on to a fair share of the market. Whether you look at LH vs. LX, JA vs 200/Avenger, or Neon vs. Caliber, the moves Daimler made put Chrysler almost out of the passenger car business. I don't want to dwell on all of this. The LX cars got a following, but it's not mass market. Looking at how Daimler treated the cash cows at Chrysler (including the destruction of the Minivan), a merger clearly could not have done any good for Studebaker at all. And, it never could have happened anyway.

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                • #9
                  On the other hand, my wife owned a Mercedes manufactured in the middle years of the Mercedes/Chrysler partnership, and the quality of that car was awful. The body started to rust thru after 3 years and out of warranty, there were multiple mechanical problems, and the repair costs were Mercedes high. Although she loved that car, we got rid of it after 4 years. And every Mercedes that I have personally looked at from that time frame had similar issues.

                  Frankly, I think that Chrysler almost destroyed Mercedes, not the other way around, by bringing Mercedes quality down. Have you ever seen a Sprinter Van from that era? They were also prone to rust thru. I almost bought one, but decided to wait a few years; glad I waited, because I would have been sorely disappointed. Never did buy one; bought a Chevy van instead, and traded it in 8 years later almost rust free.

                  I can't comment on the outcome of a Mercedes/Studebaker partnership except to say that it would have been interesting.

                  just my observations and experience.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hulleywoodworking View Post
                    Frankly, I think that Chrysler almost destroyed Mercedes, not the other way around, by bringing Mercedes quality down.
                    There is an element of truth to what you say, but it is neither M-B's or Chrysler's fault. M-B operated as a completely separate entity from Daimler in the years before the Chrysler "Merger". As you may know, automotive only made up a small fraction of the Daimler Empire before the Chrysler "Merger". It shot to over 50% of revenue when the combination happened. Part of the pain Juergen Schrempp went through to get the merger done was turning control of ALL automotive operations to the Daimler Bean Counters.

                    This resulted in a drop in M-B quality, and as a Chrysler customer at the time, also a HUGE drop in quality at Mopar. My 2007 Town & Country was junk compared to all my previous Mopars. The "merger" did neither company any favors, because much of each company's independence was destroyed. It also caused hard feelings at both companies that were never overcome.

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                    • #11
                      Why'd anyone expect it would have gone any better than the one with Chrysler.

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                      • #12
                        I've heard it suggested in more than one corner that Mercedes plundered Chrysler for operating capital.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by drpreposterous View Post
                          I've heard it suggested in more than one corner that Mercedes plundered Chrysler for operating capital.
                          The main motivation for Mercedes in the Chrysler situation was to become big enough to avoid Mercedes becoming a hostile takeover target. Why Mercedes actually gave up some independence in 1998 too. Daimler likely would have spun them off in a heartbeat to the highest bidder back then. Chrysler willingly submitted to the Merger, and did have a large cash hoard on hand. Daimler gained instant access to Chrysler's cash hoard in 1998 (stockpiled to weather the next U.S. Downturn), but did lose money when they sold Chrysler to Cerberus in 2008. Chrysler did end up on the short end of the stick in the long run, though.

                          Back in 1963, Studebaker Automotive was hemorrhaging money. It's hard to imagine Mercedes wanting Studebaker for anything other than their dealer network. Which ironically, is why Fiat was interested in Chrysler (besides Jeeps and Trucks). It's hard to imagine any merger scenario that would have benefitted Studebaker in 1963. Probably why the M-B Sales Division just went out on their own.

                          A good read for anyone interested in the Chrysler story is: "Taken For A Ride - How Daimler-Benz Drove Off With Chrysler" by Bill Vlasic & Bradley A. Stertz. Likely used copies available on eBay.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 556063 View Post
                            The main motivation for Mercedes in the Chrysler situation was to become big enough to avoid Mercedes becoming a hostile takeover target.
                            I tend not to believe that. Just four years earlier in 1994, their arch-rival, BMW bought Rover Group from British Aerospace and got to work on a brand new Rover, and Mercedes Benz, not wanting to be eclipsed by their competition 'merged' with Chrysler. BMW later regretted that move, just as M-B did with Chrysler, although they did retain the highly successful Mini brand. I can't imagine who would be big enough to take over DBAG, as they own Freightliner, Western Star, etc., plus their own line of heavy trucks and buses.

                            Craig

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
                              I tend not to believe that. Craig
                              Believe it or not, that was Schrempp's main reason in his discussions with Bob Eaton about the reason he wanted to do the deal, and why it would benefit both companies. Remember, Daimler in 1998 was also vested in Airbus and several other major interests. It's not just cars and trucks. At that time, a minority of the revenue to Daimler-Benz came from automotive. Schrempp was concerned about a takeover. Read the book I mentioned earlier.

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