Daimler name change finalizes Chrysler breakup

Shareholders rename the now-defunct DaimlerChrysler.

Breaking up is hard to do. Especially when it costs some $34 billion. The German-based parent company of Mercedes-Benz has cut its losses and is moving on with a new name: Daimler AG.

The new nomenclature isn't at all that surprising. It follows suit with its German competitors, BMW AG and Audi AG. Daimler's car division, previously the Mercedes Car Group, will be renamed Mercedes-Benz Cars. It will include the Mercedes, Maybach, and Smart brands.

The origins of the German car company date back to 1885, when Carl Friedrich Benz received a patent for his car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen. Five years later, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft. In 1926, that company merged with rival Benz & Cie, forming Daimler-Benz AG. Fast-forward to 1998, when Daimler bought Chrysler Corp. for approximately $40 billion, and later sold 80.1 percent of the failing division off to a private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management, for a mere $6 billion.

Critics of the new name say, given all that history, "Benz" should be included in the name of the parent company. According to a Reuters report, descendants of Benz lobbied at a meeting of more than 6,000 shareholders to keep the founder's name alive. The Benz name in the car division was included, in part, to appease outspoken shareholders and family members.

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About the author

    Laura Burstein is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. She covers car news and events for a variety of companies including CNET, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz. Laura is a member of the Motor Press Guild and the BMW Car Club of America, and spends much of her spare time at high-performance driving schools, car control clinics, and motorsports events. She's also an avid Formula 1 fan. When she's not at the track, Laura's rubbing elbows with car cognoscenti at auto shows, auctions, design events, and various social gatherings. Disclosure.

     

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