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
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
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.
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