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A Solution for Transnational Labour Regulation?

Company Internationalization and European Works Councils in the Automotive Sector

Axel Hauser-Ditz, Markus Hertwig, Ludger Pries and Luitpold Rampeltshammer

This book examines the role that European employee representatives play in the restructuring of firms. In a globalized economy, company internationalization and transnational restructuring are of growing concern for employees and trade unions. In the European Union, the still rather new institution of European works councils provides basic rights for employees. Using examples of eight large automotive manufacturers like Volkswagen, GM or Toyota, the volume analyzes the internationalization strategies of the companies and the effects of European works councils, pointing to a high degree of variation in strategies and effectiveness of cross-border employee representation.
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Chapter 4: Daimler


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Chapter 4:  Daimler

4.1  The Daimler AG Group

4.1.1  History and characteristics of Daimler AG

Daimler AG, with its headquarters in Stuttgart, is one of the oldest car manufacturing companies in the world. The company was founded under the name Daimler Benz AG in 1926 through a merger of the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (established in 1890) and Benz & Cie Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik (established in 1883). The company has produced cars, commercial vehicles and diesel engines since the early twentieth century. From 1933 up until the end of the Second World War, the company was heavily engaged in armaments production. Following the Second World War, the company undertook a number of acquisitions that eventually led to its becoming the largest German industrial undertaking.

The internationalisation of the group took place in varying forms in each of its individual business areas with markedly different internationalisation profiles for the two divisions that currently dominate the company, Mercedes-Benz Cars and Daimler Trucks. From the 1950s onwards, the commercial vehicles division has pursued an ambitious acquisition strategy, not only across Europe but also in North and South America. For example, during this period Daimler Benz bought Hanomag-Henschel, Steyr-Puch, the Mexican manufacturer FAMSA, and the US American commercial vehicle producer Freightliner (see Köhler, 2003: 74). The acquisition of Freightliner in 1981 led to the integration of a major independent international brand into the group (see Pries, 1999b: 45). By contrast, up until the...

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