GERMANY: DC extraordinary meeting today to decide on name change

By just-auto.com editorial team | 4 October 2007

An extraordinary meeting of DaimlerChrysler shareholders today will decide on the change of the name to Daimler AG. The meeting has been called following the sale of 80.1% of its stake in Chrysler.

According to a statement, chairman Dieter Zetsche will recommend the name change on the basis that "a clear distinction should be made between the corporate brand Daimler and the group's various product brands. Wherever the focus is on the group as a whole, the company wants to present itself consistently as Daimler, for example in its dealings with political decision-makers and the general public, in the financial markets, in its relations with the business media, and as an employer."

The Daimler name would be the umbrella organisation for the full range of product brands, namely Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart, AMG, Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Detroit Diesel, Setra, Thomas Built Buses, Orion, and Mitsubishi Fuso.

Division names will also be changed to reflect the distinction between the corporate brand and the product brands. The truck group with its five brands will become 'Daimler Trucks', the bus brands will operate under the name 'Daimler Buses', and financial services will be renamed 'Daimler Financial Services'. The Mercedes car group will become 'Mercedes-Benz Cars' while the van unit will be called 'Mercedes-Benz Vans'. DaimlerChrysler Bank will be renamed Mercedes-Benz Bank.

Zetsche will also outline future strategies for the group. In its statement the company said that a number of long-term financial goals have been defined for the individual divisions. Specifically the Mercedes car group has targeted an average return on sales of 10% by 2010 at the latest and the truck group is aiming for a sustained return on sales of at least 7% and a return on net assets of 30% over the entire business cycle.

The company did not give a specific financial target for the bus business but said it already is the benchmark when it comes to profitability, and it aims to further strengthen this position in the long term. Similarly with the vans business the statement said only: "the company plans to expand its strong market position. Financial services is aiming to post a return on equity of at least 14%".