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Ford, DCX reach deal to let German automaker use Daimler name

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ What's in a name? For German automaker DaimlerChrysler AG, it's a lot of history and a brand identity nurtured carefully for the greater part of a century.

When it moved to sell its money-losing Chrysler Group and unwind the $36 billion takeover that created the company in 1998, it fought to hold on to the Daimler name _ closely associated with Germany's automotive pioneer.

On Thursday the Stuttgart-based automaker confirmed that it would, with the permission of Ford Motor Co.

The tangled process of dubbing the truncated German carmaker Daimler AG required the co-operation of the American carmaker as well as the British premium automaker Jaguar, which Ford acquired nearly 20 years ago.

Jaguar acquired the rights to the Daimler name nearly half a century ago, when it bought Britain's Daimler Motor Co. The latter had bought a license to build the engine developed by Gottleib Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach so it could build cars in Britain late in the 19th century.

The British Daimler Motor Co. later was brought into the BSA Group and that company, in turn, became part of Jaguar Cars Ltd. in 1960. Jaguar was the acquired by Ford, in 1989.

Don Hume, a spokesman for Ford's Premier Auto Group, said the two sides agreed that DaimlerChrysler can use Daimler for trade and corporate purposes, but not as a car brand.

``You won't see a Daimler-badged Mercedes,'' he said, adding that the Daimler name is used on vehicles only by the high-end Jaguar XJ series.

The last German car to bear the Daimler brand was produced in the early 20th century. Daimler-Benz AG, like its predecessor, DaimlerChrysler, has produced its cars under the Mercedes-Benz tag since just after 1900.

DaimlerChrysler spokeswoman Marina Raptis told The Associated Press that ``There is no disagreement with Ford regarding the use of the name Daimler.''

The deal was finalized in mid-May, before DaimlerChrysler agreed to sell an 80.1 -per cent stake in the Chrysler Group to private equity group Cerberus Capital Management LLC in a $7.4 billion deal.

DaimlerChrysler shareholders will meet in Berlin on Oct. four to approve the name change. The proposal is expected to pass, despite concerns that, by not restoring the Daimler-Benz name, the company is ignoring the work of Karl Benz, who designed and patented an internal combustion flat engine before linking his company, Benz & Cie, with Daimler in 1926.

Shares of DaimlerChrysler rose 1.8 per cent to 63.97 euros ($86.31) in Frankfurt.

___

On the Net:

http://www.daimlerchrysler.com

http://www.ford.com

http://www.jaguar.com

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Ford, DCX reach deal to let German automaker use Daimler name
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