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Daimler AG: Why It Was Very Good To Sell Chrysler

Dieter Zetsche, DaimlerChrysler CEO
Dieter Zetsche, DaimlerChrysler CEO

Today in Germany, DaimlerChrysler is officially changing its name to Daimler AG. While this is a formality, this change made me realize just how much the German automaker has benefited from selling Chrysler. Yes, I know what you are gonna say: "They paid $38 Billion for Chrysler and sold it for $7 Billion. Where's the benefit?"

But if you look at this from Daimler's perspective, look at what's happened since the Valentine's Day kiss-off when company execs walked into the Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills and told the Americans to find a new dance partner. Daimler shares have gone from $69.78 to $102.54.

This doesn't mean Daimler's days are carefree from here on out. The luxury automaker has to make sure it doesn't lose its focus as it did 5-6 years ago when quality slipped. Company execs like to blame that on the automaker being tied up with Chrysler, though I think that was a convenient excuse. Also, with BMW possibly in the market for a 4th brand and further expansion, Daimler could see further competition.

But for now, all is well in Dieter Zetsche's world. His company is now more centered, it has a stock revving over $100 a share, and there's none of the on-going worries about how to turn around a struggling American automaker.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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