DaimlerChrysler has agreed to divest itself of the Chrysler Group in an effort to bring the company back to profitability. The private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has bought Chrysler for $7.4 billion. Thus ends a stormy nine-year saga that began with the $36 billion takeover of Chrysler by Daimler-Benz AG back in 1998, a deal that was supposed to blend the high-end technological prowess of the Mercedes-Benz brand with Chrysler's mass-market manufacturing and marketing know-how. The synergies appeared to materialize at first as the new entity, DaimlerChrysler, poured financial and technological resources into the Chrysler arm of the company, leading to some hit vehicles that included the Chrysler 300C, and respectable profits generated by the Chrysler Group. But, the Mercedes-Benz branch suffered at the same time with quality issues and losses as the brand fell behind in a very competitive luxury automotive segment. More recently, the tables turned as Chrysler Group took a huge hit when customers bailed out of their gas-guzzling SUVs in search of smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles, of which Chrysler has few. This offset the positive revenue brought in by its German compatriots and, therefore, led to great discontent among investors who felt that Chrysler-which had a history of on-and-off business difficulties (most famously in the 70s) despite periodic successes and is saddled by prohibitive retiree health care and pension costs-was dragging the vaunted Mercedes-Benz brand down with it. After the purchase of Chrysler by Cerberus goes through, DaimlerChrysler will likely be called Daimler AG. While Daimler will retain a stake in the new Chrysler Holding LLC, the American company will become a private entity as it tries to return to profitability in a very difficult domestic market.
Bought by Source Interlink
The World's Leading Truck Publication just got snatched up by Source Interlink, a magazine, CD, and DVD distributor to leading grocery and book store chains. We're not alone in this deal, as our parent company, Primedia, has sold all of its enthusiast magazines to Source Interlink in an effort to pay off Primedia's debts. What does that mean for you, our loyal readers? Nothing, really, aside from the fact that the word "Primedia" might eventually disappear from our e-mail addresses and from our website and magazine. Other than that, who knows! We do know that we'll keep publishing the best possible magazine, just as we have for 33 years. In fact, we may even become better. Stay tuned!
2009 Dodge Ram
Caught testing in weather hotter than Hades, not even Chrysler engineers with the temperament of Cerberus could stop at least a few photos of '09 Dodge Ram 1500 mules from escaping. This picture shows a current Dodge Ram half-ton pickup running through the desert with the next-gen Ram's front clip and the improved Hemi V-8. Even under the heavy camouflage, it's clear that Dodge is moving away from the Ram's trademark big-rig looks, in favor of better aerodynamics to help boost its fuel economy. The prominent crosshair grille remains with stronger horizontal and vertical bars and slant-forward styling shared with the Dodge Charger sedan.
When it goes on sale late next summer, expect to see four all-new, or revised, engine choices. The base 215hp 235lb-ft 3.7-liter V-6 will be replaced with the 260hp 265lb-ft 4.0-liter V-6 used in the Dodge Nitro SUV. The Ram's current 235hp 300lb-ft 4.7-liter V-8 will get the same makeover the '08 Dodge Dakota received, boosting power to 300hp 330lb-ft, and the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 will get a bump in displacement and power from current 345hp 375lb-ft levels. A new Cummins 6.7L V-8 diesel will also be available. Both gas and diesel V-8s will use six-speed automatic transmissions.-Words by Brenda Priddy. Photo by Jeremy Kupfer for Brenda Priddy & Co.