Bill Vlassic and Brad Stertz provide many startling revelations in their book about the takeover of Chrysler by Daimler-Benz. It is exactly the rip-roaring read that noted automotive columnist Brock Yates says it is. "Taken for a Ride" shows how Kirk Kerkorian put Chrysler into play; how Daimler played cat and mouse with Chrysler; how Chrysler Chairman Bob Eaton froze out detractors of a merger; how Daimler chief Juergen Schrempp got every concession he wanted and was able to wriggle out of concessions he made at the last minute with Eaton's blessing. It shows how Eaton fired Tom Stallkamp (apparently with pressure from Schrempp) in order to get his own heir in charge of Chrysler operations. And it shows how the Germans have bungled things with the new company. I don't know how the Boston reader decided there is nothing new in the book. He should trying telling this to current and former Chrysler Corp. executives and workers who have been champing at the...
It's clear to me that Vlasic and Stertz have good insight into how the merger occured and why. They show carefully researched in-depth knowledge of who, how, and why. I purchased this book because, clearly, they believe that the merger was bad for Chrysler, and ultimately that means it was bad for DaimlerChrysler. I wanted to understand why (a look at the declining stock price is a good clue). Plain and simple, the message is that Daimler-Benz and Chrysler were too different to merge. The management and corporate structures were incompatable, evidenced by the rapid departures of Eaton and Stallkamp. Jurgen Schrempp is also portrayed as a boistrous spirit; brash and difficult to work with. No wonder Eaton and Stallkamp wouldn't stand up to him when it would've mattered. As much as I'm in favor of keeping a publicly held business that way, I almost wish Kerkorian and Iacocca had pulled off their buyoff. Disturbing as it was, it would've kept an 80+ year old...
This book is a wonderful and detailed account of how Daimler-Benz took over Chyrsler. If you still believe it was a merger of equals, guess again and read this book. The authors start out explaining the issues facing Chrysler in the mid-1990's and how Kirk Kerkorian attempted to "remedy" this situation. Vlasic and Stertz go deep into the story to get the motivating forces of all the players (Lee Iaccoca, Jerry York, Bob Eaton, etc.) and what they did and didn't accomplish. As the situation changes Chrysler is contemplating it's future in the auto industry which leads it to a merger with Daimler-Benz. The authors explain in great detail the business plan of the "merger" and how it is looked at from different angles by each individual and both companies. They delve deeper into the political infighting and different personalities at both Chrysler and Daimler as they attempt to go forward with the merger. The authors explain the merger well, with the...
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