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.

Crunch
$28 Billion: How much money Daimler lost, by essentially paying Cerberus to take Chrysler off its hands, when comparing the amount that Daimler-Benz paid to buy Chrysler in 1998 and the money Cerberus will pay to buy Chrysler.

What Does Obama Drive?
The Associated Press asked the current crop of presidential hopefuls what kinds of vehicles they drive. What do you think the responses say about them?

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (D): '67 Corvette, it was a wedding gift from his dad in 1967 when Biden married his first wife, Neilia.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D): "For security reasons, we drive in Secret Service vehicles, but the Service lets us use a Ford hybrid when we're home in New York."

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D): Ford Escape hybrid.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (D):Ford Escape hybrid.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D): Ford Focus compact.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D): Chrysler 300C.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D): "Jeep Wrangler, although my security doesn't like me to drive."

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (R): Ford Taurus in Washington and Honda Civic hybrid in Kansas

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R): "I don't drive, I navigate."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R): An '07 Chevrolet Tahoe and a '95 Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

California Rep. Duncan Hunter (R): "Suburban with 274,000 miles on it."

Arizona Sen. John McCain (R): Cadillac CTS.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R): An '05 Ford Mustang convertible.

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo (R): Toyota Prius hybrid, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and Buick.

InsiderHappenings
August 3-5
Carlisle, PA
Carlisle All Truck Nationals will be at the fairgrounds for three days of summertime fun. Admission for onlookers is $8 to $9, depending on the day, and registration costs as much as $45 for specific judging and non-judging areas (one vehicle and two people) and $75 for a bit of everything. Call (717) 243-7855 for information, or go to www.carsatcarlisle.com.

August 4-5
Norman, OK
Slamboree will happen at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds. Preregistration costs $25, registration $30. For further details, call (405) 615-4636 or (405) 686-7744, or go to www.pleasuresweb.com.

August 11-12
Bowling Green, KY
Truckin' magazine's Havoc truck show will happen at Beach Bend Park. Registration costs $30 per vehicle and spectators can walk right in. For information, call (714) 769-7457, or go to www.truckinweb.com/events.

August 17-19
Indianapolis, IN
The 14th Annual Indianapolis ITB (Import and Truck Bash) will take place at O-Reilly Raceway Park. Onsite registration costs $55, while preregistration is $40. Adult spectators pay $15 at the gate, kids are $5. For additional details, check out www.myspace.com/truckbash.

August 19
Rialto, CA
Ludikrs Show lands at the Rialto Municipal Airport. Registration costs $30. For more details, call (909) 434-1999, or go to www.ludikrskustomz.com.

September 1-2
Millington, TN
Relaxed Atmosphere's All-Star Event will be laying out at USA. For more information, contact Chris at (270) 898-8996, or check out the website at www.relaxed-atmosphere.com.

September 1-3
Costa Mesa, CA
The Great Labor Day Car Cruise happens at the Orange Country Fairgrounds. Admission costs $12. For more information, call (951) 928-4550.

September 8-9
Lake Charles, LA
Midnight Fantasies Show will be dreaming at the Civic Center. Pre-registration costs $35, show day registration is $40. An inside spot will cost you $50. Motorcycle and bicycle registration costs $30. For details, go to www.midnightfantasiesshow.com.

September 14-15
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Dash to the Dells will start with a cruise at the Copa Cabana Resort and proceed with a show 'n' shine at Tommy Bartlett Show Grounds. This show is for trucks from the '48-'72 models years and panels. Registration costs $25 per family (or $30 after August 15). Admission includes lunch and Sunday morning doughnuts and coffee, in addition to the event's attractions. For additional information, contact Mike Connor at (608) 274-6257 after 6 p.m., or e-mail mikeconner@charter.net.

September 14-15
Meridian, MS
Rock 'n' Roll Revival will be rockin' at Downtown Meridian at Singing Brakeman Park. This event is open to cars, trucks, motorcycles, and race cars. Pre-registration is $15, or you can pay $20 at the gate. For additional queries, contact either Ed Barnhardt at (601) 934-0945, or Adrian Page at (601) 482-6895, or Buddy Massey at (601) 482-7345.

September 20-23
Summit Station, PA
Keystone Madness custom van show happens at the Skuykill County Fairgrounds. Preregistration costs $35 for a van and two people, or $75 for a motorhome, $40 for a van at the gate, $80 for a motorhome, any extra people cost $10 each, a trailer cost $15. For more information, contact Chas at (610) 469-0604, or email info@performanceinc.org, or view www.performanceinc.org.

September 21-23
Indianapolis, IN
The O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals Presented by Toyo Tires will mud up the Indianapolis Fairgrounds. Advance tickets cost $15 for an adult, $5 for a kid, $65 per vehicle. At the gate, pay $18 per adult, and $10 per kid, respectively. For details, go to www.familyevents.com.

September 21-23
Concord, NC
Sr8p Fest will be scraping along at the Concord Motorsprts Park. Preregistration costs $25, or you can pay $30 at the gate, Spectators for over $5. For more information, contact Kenneth at (980) 722-3900 or go to www.pebblepushers.com.

September 22
San Dimas, CA
Trucks, hot rods, motorcycles, and more arriving for the Custom Truck Show Off will take over the premises of L&G Enterprises Auto Body & Paint and the Custom Truck Shop Car & Truck Accessories. Pre-reg costs $15, or pay $20 at the gate. For more information, call (909) 599-2203, or (909) 599-2228, or go to www.lge-paint.com, or www.customtruckshop.com.

If you want to get the latest on when your favorite truck shows are happening, you can find it right here.

Promoters:
Do you want us to post your upcoming events in Happenings? Then send the name, date, venue, city, state, contact information, and details about your events to mark.halvorsen@primedia.com. Make sure that you send us this information at least three months ahead of the event's scheduled date.

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