Though there are lots of suitors, it's hard to imagine why someone would want to marry DaimlerChrysler's
Chrysler lost $1.5 billion last year, is closing two plants, and wants to fire 13,000 North American workers. DaimlerChrysler, the world's fifth-largest automaker, is definitely the ugly, red-headed stepchild of the car industry. Yet it's also apparently the belle of the ball.
Despite protestations to the contrary last year from Daimler's CEO, it seems that the company was courting anyone that built internal-combustion engines. China's Chery had talks, South Korea's Hyundai was there and gone, Nissan
Chery and Hyundai are understandable. The former is looking for an entrance into the American market, and a Chrysler companionship would give it that, while the latter would give it a huge dealership network to expand upon. Nissan's CEO apparently just wants his car to mate with an American manufacturer -- any of them. But General Motors is harder to fathom.
The world's biggest carmaker (which is about to lose its spot to Toyota
The likely trimming of similar product lines could lead to even further plant closures. That means firing lots of blue-collar workers in addition to the inevitable white-collar redundancies. The United Auto Workers have already made a lot of concessions to GM, Chrysler, and Ford
Of course, a merger is not the only possibility. DaimlerChrysler has said "all options" are on the table. That might include spinning off Chrysler again, breaking it up into pieces to sell off, or sharing technology with another company. That was part of DaimlerChrysler's original deal to get Mercedes and Chrysler working closer together.
There's a lot of rumor at work here, and most of the talk will turn out to be mere speculation. Yet if a sale is in the works, it would certainly make more sense for a smaller company trying to make a big splash in the American market -- Chery, Hyundai, or even India's Tata Motors