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History of Chrysler

Introduction

The headquarters of the American company Chrysler is located in Michigan, in Auburn Hills. The company specializes in the production of cars such as Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep. The company was founded by the famous engineer and part-time successful businessman Walter Chrysler in 1924. Immediately the first car of the start-up company Chrysler 70 was released. The model was very popular and brought the creator long-awaited fame. Since 1998, the company has been part of the Daimler-Chrysler concern. However, in 2007, the two companies parted ways, and the American fund Cerberus Capital Management bought 80.1% of all shares of the Chrysler Group.

History of Chrysler

Walter Chrysler

Walter Chrysler was born in 1875. After school he worked for the railways. He became a manager at the American Locomotive Company when he wanted to enter the automotive industry. That never got off the ground, and in 1911 Chrysler became director of the Buick Motor Company. In 1919 he transferred to Willys-Overland . There he tried to evict John Willys , founder and the man who hired him, with a takeover bid. The shareholders stopped him and Chrysler left in 1921.

Maxwell
The car brand Maxwell was founded in 1903 and was on the verge of bankruptcy by 1920 . Walter Chrysler was brought in to save the case. The company was put on display, but it bought itself back. In May 1921, the Maxwell Motor Company was transformed into the Maxwell Motor Corporation with Walter Chrysler as chairman of the board of directors . In 1922, Maxwell bought the Chalmers assets . Maxwell had been leasing a factory of that car manufacturer since 1917 because Maxwell sold well at the time and Chalmers did not.

The beginning
On June 6, 1925, Chrysler founded the Chrysler Corporation with itself as director and chairman of the board of directors. Chrysler took over Maxwell and in May Maxwell was phased out and replaced by the new Chrysler Four. Chrysler’s first models were largely based on Maxwell’s.

In June 1928, Chrysler started the new cheaper Plymouth brand . In July of the same year, production for a middle class was also started. It was launched in August under the DeSoto brand name . Chrysler also took over Dodge in July for US $ 170 million. Dodge also entered the middle class, and was positioned just above DeSoto. In 1933, the positions of Dodge and DeSoto were swapped to boost Dodge sales.

The Chrysler Export Corporation was also founded in 1928. Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation was founded in 1929 and later became Mopar . The construction of the Chrysler Building was also started that year. That building was to become the future headquarters and was the tallest building in the world. It was completed in 1931 and sold in 1947.

The Airflow

Chrysler introduced the Airflow in 1934 . It had a previously unseen aerodynamic body and was the first car model to be developed using a wind tunnel. The model was received very badly by the buyers. In times of crisis, they were not ready for such radical innovations. The failure came as a big surprise to Walter Chrysler, who saw the future of the automobile in Airflow. Chrysler was still able to fall back on its classic models, but DeSoto, of which the DeSoto Airflow was the only model, was unable to do so and ran into problems. In 1936 the Airflow was replaced by the less radical Chrysler Airstream. Ultimately, it was Dodge and Plymouth that got Chrysler and DeSoto through the tough 1930s . Plymouth was one of the only brands to see sales increase during the depression.

Also in the 1930s, Chrysler was the first to introduce a one-piece curved windshield. That was in 1934 on the Chrysler Custom Imperial Airflow CW . That year, the Airtemp Division was established to manufacture heating and cooling equipment, and Chrysler purchased General Motors’ Wyoming Avenue plant .

Finally, founder Walter Chrysler died on August 18, 1940.

World War II
Long before World War II , Chrysler was one of the largest defense companies in the United States. Before the war started, preparations were also made for war production. Chrysler was able to switch production to light tanks in just a few weeks, and in a month could make a new factory operational with machines from the car assembly plants.

In 1940, Chrysler signed a contract with the United States government to build the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in Warren, Michigan and manufacture tanks. That contract was worth US $ 54.5 million. In January 1941, Chrysler leased a factory from the Graham-Paige Motor Company to produce parts for the B-26 Marauder bomber . Chrysler also developed a new V12 aircraft engine itself .

At the end of March 1941, Chrysler was awarded a new contract for the production of 40mm anti- aircraft guns . The parts were then made in various Chrysler factories and then assembled. The first M3 Grant tank also rolled off the line on April 24 . On July 21, Chrysler received an additional order for the tanks of US $ 75 million, or approximately 2,000 units.

In addition to the previous ones, Chrysler also produced field kitchens, refrigerators, ignitions, grenades, landing gear and military ambulances and trucks . Dodge alone produced a quarter of a million Beeps . Car production continued in the meantime. From 1941 it was hindered by material shortages. Production of the Plymouth brand came to a halt on January 31, 1942.

After the war
Chrysler only introduced new models for all its brands in 1949. The first version of Chrysler’s well-known Hemi V8 engine also appeared in 1951 . The Hemi first appeared in Chrysler’s top models and a year later in the DeSoto Firedome . In 1953, Chrysler acquired the Briggs Manufacturing Company for US $ 35 million. Until then, that company produced bodywork for Packard . Chrysler continued to do so until the end of the year.

Due to the debacle with the Airflow, Chrysler built conservative cars after the war. The models no longer corresponded to the changing taste of consumers. They were seduced by the innovative style of the competition that built ever longer, wider and lower cars. Chrysler’s build quality also began to decline in the 1950s . Chrysler, then number two in the US market, was overtaken by Ford. It fell to third place with a market share of about 20%.

In 1955 Chrysler brought in designer Virgil Exner . Under his Forward Look style, a fresh wind blew through Chrysler’s range. The new style included large tail fins, curved glass, a lower roofline, a longer hood and a more aggressive look. Chrysler was suddenly back at the forefront of innovative design. However, the new models were brought into production too quickly, resulting in quality problems. Combined with an economic recession, this also left Chrysler in bad papers.

As late as 1955, the Chrysler Imperial was spun off into the separate brand name Imperial . Imperial remained alone until 1975 when it was discontinued. The brand’s model then passed to Chrysler as the Chrysler New Yorker . From 1981 to 1983, the brand was revived for a while, but due to lack of success, it was taken off the market again.

Abroad
Chrysler, like General Motors and Ford Motor Company, also wanted to become a multinational car manufacturer. Unlike these two, Chrysler had never made footfall outside of North America .

In 1958 Chrysler bought the Dutch car factory Nekaf (Nederlandsche Kaiser-Frazer Fabrieken NV), located at the Waalhaven in Rotterdam. This factory assembled Jeeps for the Dutch army and also built Simcas. The factory continued to exist until 1971, when mainly American Chryslers, including the Valiant, were assembled. In 1958 Chrysler acquired a 25% stake in Simca, France, from Ford. In 1960, Simca was split into Simca Automobiles and Simca Industries for the car activities and the non-car activities, respectively. In 1963 Chrysler increased its stake to 63%. In addition, Chrysler became Internation SAestablished as a successor to Chrysler Export Corporation with headquarters in Geneva ( Switzerland ).

In 1964 Chrysler acquired a 30% stake in the British Rootes Group, which included the Hillman , Sunbeam and Humber car brands and the Karrier and Commer truck brands . In May 1966 , that stake was increased to 77%. Simca and Rootes were brought together in Chrysler Europe in 1967 . First of all, all included brands were retained, but from 1975 they were phased out one by one and replaced by the Chrysler brand name . The name Simca was retained.

The confusing designations of the models, their everyday style and the substandard build quality meant that Chrysler did not really get off the ground in Europe. In the meantime, Chrysler had been in serious financial trouble in the home market and so the new big man, Lee Iacocca , had more than enough work there. Not at all interested in the European market, he sold Chrysler Europe to PSA Peugeot Citroën for one symbolic French franc . PSA thereby acquired the production sites, but also took over the considerable debts. Chrysler was replaced by Talbot and the commercial vehicle division, which used the Dodge brand name , was sold to Renault Trucks. The Renault Espace was launched in 1984 ; Europe’s first mono volume . The model had come from Chrysler Europe, was found too risky by PSA and piped to Renault . It turned out to be a capital error.

Meanwhile in the US
Chrysler was the first of the Big Three to introduce self-supporting bodywork in the US in 1960 . The compact Valiant was also introduced. For one year, Valiant was a separate car brand. In 1961 the model was taken over by Plymouth as the Plymouht Valiant . In Canada , the Valiant brand continued to exist on its own until 1966.

Sales of the DeSoto brand meanwhile declined year after year. The last DeSoto was launched in October 1960. It was simply called DeSoto and was no longer given a model name. Production was halted on November 30, 1960, and after model year 1961, the brand was finally discontinued. DeSoto’s target group was then taken over by the cheaper Chrysler Newport .

In April 1964, the Plymouth Barracuda was introduced to the market. He was the Ford Mustang two weeks before and is therefore sometimes seen as the real first pony car . Despite the higher quality of the Barracuda, the Mustang sold 10 times better and it was the Mustang that became legendary. The muscle car emerged later in the 1960s . Chrysler entered the new segment with the Plymouth GTX and the – Road Runner and the legendary Dodge Charger .

In 1969, Chrysler bought a 15% stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and the two formed an alliance. Chrysler then began importing Mitsubishis into the US and selling them under its own brand names. In 1971, the Mitsubishi Colt was brought to the US and marketed as the Dodge Colt . In 1985 the bond between the two was further strengthened by the establishment of Diamond-Star Motors . This joint venture involved a factory in the United States that produced cars for both automakers.

The crisis years
Chrysler started the 1970s well with record sales in 1972 and 1973. However, the 1973 oil crisis, which led to high petrol prices, high interest rates , inflation and reduced consumption, brought the group to a financial collapse halfway through the decade. Customers asked for compact cars, which Chrysler barely had. When the 1979 oil crisis hit, Chrysler was forced to its knees and the company was virtually bankrupt.

On December 20, 1979, the United States Congress passed the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act . President Jimmy Carter signed it on January 7, 1980. Chrysler was granted US $ 1.5 billion in loan guarantees from the US government to avoid bankruptcy . The personnel had to hand in wages and the suppliers had to deliver cheaper. This allowed Chrysler to survive despite record losses of $ 1.7 billion in 1980.

The recovery
New models got better in the early 1980s . Developed on a budget, the new Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant got off to a good start. Chrysler again wrote black numbers in 1982, the first in five years, and quickly began paying off its loans. This was also considerably restructured. For example, half of the office workers were cut. In August 1983 , federal loans were paid off seven years early.

In 1979 Chrysler also started developing a completely new type of vehicle. In 1983 the project resulted in the Dodge Caravan and the Plymouth Voyager , the world’s first mono volumes ; Minivan named in the USA. The minivan hit like a bomb and immediately became a blockbuster for Chrysler, both in America and in Europe, where the Chrysler Voyager came on the market in 1988. The concept had also ended up in Europe through the former Chrysler Europe, where it was reflected in the Renault Espace in 1984 .

Until 1987, the US had four major auto groups, and in March that year Chrysler (No. 3) acquired American Motors (No. 4). At that time AMC was mainly present with the brands AMC and Jeep . By 1980 AMC had been in even worse shape than Chrysler and was equally as bankrupt. AMC had not found salvation in the American government, but at Renault. The AMC brand was subsequently superseded by Renault which began to introduce its models. Due to the heavy investments, Renault itself ran into financial difficulties. Therefore, the French sold AMC to Chrysler for US $ 1.5 billion. Chrysler acquired its factories, 1,400 dealers and US $ 800 million in debt for this. The AMC brand was replaced by Eagle, a former model name, but that flopped and was discontinued in 1998. Jeep survived, partly due to the high demand for SUVs in the 1990s .

Changes
Despite the turnaround in the early part of the decade, Chrysler was once again in dire straits. In the fourth quarter of 1989, a record loss of US $ 664 million was recorded. Three assembly plants were closed in 1988-1989. As far as the range was concerned, only the minivans performed well. Developing a new platform for a new line usually took more than five years and cost more than US $ 1 billion. The 1989 L / H platform, which later spawned the Chrysler Concord , the Dodge Intrepid and the Eagle Vision , had exceeded the development budget by US $ 1 billion.

It was realized that a new way of working was necessary. Car models were developed sequentially at Chrysler. A different team was responsible for each step in the development process. Those teams sometimes came into conflict, wasting a lot of time on adjustments. If no comparison was reached, someone had to cut the knot from above. Also, suggestions from those bosses could wipe out months of work. They wanted to introduce a new way of working in which everyone involved was integrated into the product development team.

In addition, there were also suppliers who were responsible for two thirds of the components, but who otherwise had virtually no involvement in the development process. When their numbers were drastically reduced by 1996 , Chrysler still bought some 60,000 components from 1140 suppliers, costing about US $ 34 billion annually. If those suppliers became more involved, time and costs could be saved on the development of the components.

At AMC this had been the case for several years at the time of the takeover. Between 1980 and 1987, AMC had developed three models with fewer than 1,000 engineers. Chrysler had developed only four models with five times more people. It was decided to relaunch the L / H platform based on these new insights.

From the early 1990s Chrysler also regularly met with its suppliers. They sometimes came up with such good ideas that Chrysler developed the SCORE (Supplier Cost Reduction Efford) program. This formal program was announced in 1990 and addressed these ideas from the suppliers. SCORE was very successful and in the first two years, 875 ideas saved US $ 170 million. In 1995, 3,649 ideas came in which saved approximately US $ 1.7 billion annually. Profit was not long in coming. In the 1980s Chrysler made about US $ 250 profit per vehicle. In 1994, that profit had risen to US $ 2,110.

The merger with Daimler-Benz
In 1998 Chrysler merged with the German Daimler-Benz and DaimlerChrysler was formed. What was announced as a merger of equals later turned out to be a Chrysler acquisition. Nevertheless, the Chrysler Group division maintained its own headquarters in the US. In 2001, Plymouth was phased out and Chrysler’s brands started to share parts with Mercedes-Benz . One of the first results was the Chrysler Crossfire. The alliance with Mitsubishi disappeared when DaimlerChrysler largely sold its share of the Japanese car manufacturer. After all, Mitsubishi was in financial trouble. In the meantime, lawsuits against DaimlerChrysler also followed in connection with the alleged deception by presenting the merger as a merger of equals . The most famous was that of Kirk Kerkorian . That case was decided on April 7, 2005 in favor of DaimlerChrysler. The merger was dissolved in 2007 when Daimler sold its interest to the investment company Cerberus.

Acquisition by Fiat
The credit crunch caused the company to run into financial difficulties in 2009. Chrysler, like General Motors, received financial support from the governments of Canada and the United States. In April 2009, it was announced that Chrysler was still in financial difficulties despite government support. On April 30, Chrysler filed for a moratorium . In April 2009, Chrysler and Fiat agreed on a full acquisition by Fiat. On June 9, 2009, the judge authorized the sale of the business to a newly incorporated Chrysler Group LLC, whose shareholders are Fiat, a fund managed by the unions, and the U.S. and Canadian governments. Management will be conducted by Fiat.

Fiat initially acquired 20% of the shares and had an option to acquire the remaining shares. In July 2011, the shares of both governments in Chrysler were fully acquired. The interest rose to over 50% and Fiat was able to consolidate Chrysler in its own figures. In January 2014 the last purchase followed, Fiat bought the last 41.5% of the employees and became 100% owner of Chrysler. As of October 2014, the combination will continue as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles .

Amalgamation with Lancia
After Fiat’s takeover of Chrysler, it became clear that Fiat would merge the Chrysler and Lancia brands, similar to Opel / Vauxhall. The idea behind this was that both brands individually would not have enough right to exist. Chrysler is mainly sold in North America and Lancia in Europe and is therefore too small to survive in the long term. Chrysler, which mainly sells large models, will sell its models in Europe as Lancia, while Lancia will in turn sell its smaller models as Chrysler on the Irish market and in the United Kingdom. These models (the Ypsilon and the Delta ) are still considered too small to be sold in North America.

In 2011, the Voyager / Town & Country received a major facelift, mainly tackling the criticized interior. The model was also equipped with the new family face of Chrysler and Lancia. In Europe, the model will be sold as Lancia Voyager. In that year Chrysler also released the second generation of the successful Chrysler 300 . In Europe, this model is sold as Lancia Thema, where the model is also equipped with diesel engines, which are not (yet) offered in the US. The disgraced Chrysler Sebring was also addressed. This got a completely new front and back. The interior was also renewed. To reinforce these innovations, the name was changed to ‘200’. The sedan will not be sold in Europe, but the convertible will. Lancia dusted the name Flavia for that.

Chrysler and Lancia are currently still in a transitional situation. However, the successors of the current models will be developed jointly and will thus propagate the new, common brand values. Where Lancia will concentrate on the European market, Chrysler will also be sold in the rest of the world. For example, Chrysler has now been introduced to the Chinese market.

Current Chrysler models

  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Chrysler 300
  • Chrysler Voyager

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