The deal to combine Chrysler Corp. and Germany's Daimler-Benz AG -- one of the largest industrial mergers ever -- is expected to close Thursday with the official first day of the new DaimlerChrysler AG to follow Nov. 17.
With the merger, the U.S. company formed in 1925 by Walter P. Chrysler will cease to exist, leaving the United States with two domestic automakers, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. Though it will have dual headquarters in Germany and the Detroit area, DaimlerChrysler will be a German corporation.
Regular trading of DaimlerChrysler shares will begin Nov. 17 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company's co-chairmen, Robert J. Eaton and Juergen E. Schrempp, plan to ring the exchange bell to open trading that day and buy the first share of the stock, which will trade under the symbol DCX.
Similar ceremonies with Eaton and Schrempp are planned for Nov. 16 on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Chrysler spokeswoman Rita McKay said Friday.
The merger will create the world's fifth largest automaker as measured by vehicle sales, behind GM, Ford, Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG. Chrysler and Daimler-Benz together sold just under 4 million vehicles worldwide in 1997.
Though the deal will close Thursday, legal paperwork will still have to be completed before regular trading of DaimlerChrysler shares can get under way. Chrysler shares will continue to trade through Thursday. Trading of DaimlerChrysler shares already is under way and will continue on a when-issued basis through Nov. 16.
Day One events also are planned at Chrysler and Daimler plants and offices worldwide. The New York Stock Exchange ceremonies will be broadcast live via satellite to most Chrysler and Daimler plants, though no production halt is scheduled. An international ad campaign also will be launched that day.
A ceremonial sign changing will occur at some locations, including the U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, north of Detroit. The company's German headquarters will be in Stuttgart.
DaimlerChrysler will combine Chrysler's car and light truck operations, largely in North America, with Daimler's largely European-based operations in cars, light and heavy-duty trucks, buses, trains, aircraft and aerospace.
The two companies had combined revenues of $13.2 billion in 1997. They had 428,000 employees as of June, with plants in 34 countries.