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Chrysler - marque/manufacturer information

List of all Chrysler cars

Chrysler LLC is an American automobile manufacturer that has been producing automobiles since 1925 and from 1914 under the Dodge name. From 1998 to 2007, Chrysler and its subsidiaries were part of the German based DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler AG) after an arduous deal falsely sold to stakeholders as a "Merger of Equals" in 1998. Prior to 1998, Chrysler Corporation traded under the "C" symbol on the NYSE. Under DaimlerChrysler, the company was named "DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC", with its U.S. operations generally referred to as the "Chrysler Group".

On May 14, 2007 DaimlerChrysler AG announced the sale of 80.1% of Chrysler Group to American equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., although Daimler continues to hold a 19.9% stake. Chrysler LLC is the new name. The deal was finalized on August 3, 2007.

After the announcement of the spin-off to Cerberus, the Chrysler LLC, or "The New Chrysler", unveiled a new company logo on August 6, 2007 and launched its new website with a variation of the previously used Pentastar logo. Robert Nardelli also became Chairman and CEO of Chrysler under the ownership of Cerberus. Chrysler is now the largest private automaker in North America.

History

Founding and early years

The company was founded by Walter P. Chrysler on June 6, 1925, when the Maxwell Motor Company was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation.

Walter Chrysler had originally arrived at the ailing Maxwell-Chalmers company in the early 1920s, having been hired to take over and overhaul the company's troubled operations (just after having done a similar rescue job at the Willys car company).

In late 1923 production of the Chalmers automobile was ended.

Then in January of 1924 Walter Chrysler launched the well-received Chrysler automobile. The Chrysler was a 6-cylinder automobile, designed to provide customers with an advanced, well-engineered car, but at a more affordable price than they might expect. (Elements of this car are traceable back to a prototype which had been under development at Willys at the time that Walter Chrysler was there).

The Maxwell was then dropped after its 1925 model year run, although in truth the new line of lower-priced 4-cylinder Chryslers which were then introduced for 1926 were basically Maxwells which had been re-engineered and rebranded.

It was during this period that Walter Chrysler assumed the presidency of the company, with the company then ultimately incorporated under the Chrysler name.

Vehicle Marques

In 1928, Chrysler Corporation began dividing their vehicle offerings by price class and function. The Plymouth brand was introduced and aimed at the low-priced end of the market by reëngineering and rebadging Chrysler's 4-cylinder models. At the same time, the DeSoto marque was introduced in the medium-price field. Shortly thereafter, Chrysler bought the Dodge Brothers automobile and truck company and launched the Fargo range of trucks. By the late 1930s, the DeSoto and Dodge divisions would trade places in the corporate hierarchy. This proliferation of marques under Chrysler's umbrella might have been inspired by the similar strategy employed successfully by General Motors. Beginning in 1955, Imperial, formerly the top model of the Chrysler brand, became a marque of its own, and in 1960, the Valiant was introduced likewise as a distinct marque. In the US market, Valiant was made a model in the Plymouth line and the DeSoto name was withdrawn for 1961. With those exceptions per applicable year and market, Chrysler's range from lowest to highest price from the 1940s through the 1970s was Valiant, Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler, and Imperial. After acquiring AMC in 1987, Chrysler fulfilled one of AMC's conditions of sale by creating the Eagle marque to be sold at existing AMC-Jeep dealers.

By 2001 and as of 2007, the company has three marques worldwide: Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler.

Other Marques

In the 1930s, the company created a formal vehicle parts division under the MoPar brand (a portmanteau of Motor Parts), with the result that "Mopar" remains a colloquial term for vehicles produced by Chrysler Corporation. The MoPar (later Mopar) brand was not used in Canada, where parts were sold under the Chryco and AutoPar brands, until the Mopar brand was phased into the Canadian market beginning in the late 1970s.

The company also launched the Airtemp marque for stationary and mobile HVAC. The first AirTemp installation was in 1930's Chrysler Building.

Airflow

In 1934 the company introduced the Airflow models, featuring an advanced streamlined body, among the first to be designed using aerodynamic principles. Chrysler created the industry's first wind tunnel to develop them. Buyers rejected its styling, and the more conventionally-designed Dodge and Plymouth cars pulled the firm through the Depression years. Plymouth was one of only a few marques that actually increased sales during the cash-strapped thirties.

The unsuccessful Airflow had a chilling effect on Chrysler styling and marketing, which remained determinedly conservative through the 1940s and into the 1950s, with the single exception of the installation of hidden headlights on the very brief production run of 1942 DeSotos. Engineering advances continued, and in 1951 the firm introduced the first of a long and famous series of Hemi V8s. In 1955 things brightened with the introduction of Virgil Exner's successful Forward Look designs. With the inauguration of the second generation Forward Look cars for 1957, Torsion-Aire suspension was introduced. This was not air suspension, but an indirect-acting, torsion-spring front suspension system which drastically reduced unsprung weight and shifted the car's center of gravity downward and rearward. This resulted in both a smoother ride and significantly improved handling. A rush to production of the 1957 models led to quality control problems including poor body fit and finish, resulting in significant and early rusting. This, coupled with a national recession, found the company again in recovery mode.

1960s

Starting in the 1960 model year, Chrysler built all their passenger cars with Unibody™ (unit-body or monocoque) construction, except the Imperials which retained body-on-frame construction until 1967. Chrysler thus became the only one of the Big Three American automakers (General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler) to offer unibody construction on the vast majority of their product lines. This construction technique, now the worldwide standard, offers advantages in vehicle rigidity, handling, and crash safety, while reducing squeak and rattle development as the vehicle ages. Chrysler's new compact line, the Valiant, opened strong and continued to gain market share for over a decade. Valiant was introduced as a marque of its own, but the Valiant line was placed under the Plymouth marque for US-market sales in 1961. The 1960 Valiant was the first production automobile with an Alternator rather than a electrical generator as standard equipment. It proved such an improvement that it was used in all Chrysler products in 1961. The DeSoto marque was withdrawn from the market after the introduction of the 1961 models due in part to the broad array of the Dodge lines and the general neglect of the division. The same affliction plagued Plymouth as it also suffered when Dodge crept into Plymouth's price range. This would eventually lead to the demise of Plymouth several decades later. An ill-advised downsizing of the full-size Dodge and Plymouth lines in 1962 hurt sales and profitability for several years.

In April 1964, the Plymouth Barracuda, which was a Valiant sub-model, was introduced. The huge glass rear window and sloping roof were polarizing styling features. Barracuda was released almost two weeks before Ford's Mustang, and so the Barracuda was chronologically the first pony car. Unlike the Mustang, Barracuda did not rob sales of other division's models. In spite of Barracuda's generally acknowledged better build quality, handling, braking and performance than the Mustang, the Mustang still outsold the Barracuda 10-to-1 between April 1964 and August 1965.

Expansion into Europe

In the 1960s Chrysler expanded into Europe, attaining a majority interest in the British Rootes Group in 1964, Simca of France and Barreiros of Spain, to form Chrysler Europe. For the Rootes Group one outcome of this take over was the launch of the Hillman Avenger in 1970 (briefly sold in the US as the Plymouth Cricket), which sold in Britain alongside the rear-engined Imp and the Hunter. Due to the industrial unrest rife in Britain during the 1970s the former Rootes Group got into severe financial difficulties. The Simca and Barreiros divisions were more successful, but in the end the various problems were overwhelming and the firm gained little from these ventures. Chrysler sold these assets to PSA Peugeot Citroën in 1978, which in turn sold the British and Spanish truck production lines to Renault of France .

More successfully, at this same time the company helped create the muscle car market in the U.S., first by producing a street version of its Hemi racing engine and then by introducing a legendary string of affordable but high-performance vehicles such as the Plymouth GTX, Plymouth Road Runner, and Dodge Charger. The racing success of several of these models on the NASCAR circuit burnished the company's engineering reputation.

The 1970s brought both success and crisis. The aging but stalwart compacts saw a rush of sales as demand for smaller cars crested after the first gas crisis of 1973. A large investment in an all-new full-size lineup went largely to waste as the new 1974 vehicles appeared almost precisely as gasoline prices reached a peak and large car sales collapsed. 1974 would also mark the end of the Barracuda (and the similar Dodge Challenger) after the redesigned ponycars introduced for 1970 had failed to attract buyers in the shrinking market segment. At mid-decade, the company scored a conspicuous success with its first entry in the personal luxury car market, the Chrysler Cordoba. The introduction of the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare twins in 1976 did not repeat the success of the discontinued Valiant/Dodge Dart line, and the company had delayed in producing a domestic entry in the now-important subcompact market. Chrysler Europe essentially collapsed in 1977, and was offloaded to Peugeot the following year, ironically just after having helped design the new Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni, on which the desperate company was pinning its hopes. Shortly thereafter, Chrysler Australia, which was now producing a rebadged Japanese Mitsubishi Galant, was sold to Mitsubishi Motors. The subcompact Horizon was reaching the US market as the second gas crisis struck, devastating sales of Chrysler's larger cars and trucks, and the company had no strong compact line to fall back on. Later the Horizon was produced and developed in Finland and marketed in Scandinavia as Talbot Horizon. After the Peugeot bought Talbot and the new version of Horizon was named as Peugeot 309.

Government loan guarantees

The Chrysler Corporation on September 7, 1979 petitioned the United States government for US$1.5 billion in loan guarantees to avoid bankruptcy. At the same time former Ford executive Lee Iacocca was brought in as CEO. He proved to be a capable public spokesman, appearing in advertisements to advise customers that "If you find a better car, buy it." He would also provide a rallying point for Japan-bashing and instilling pride in American products. His book Talking Straight was a fitting reply to Akio Morita's Made in Japan. Congress reluctantly passed the "Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979" (Public Law 96-185) on December 20, 1979 (signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on January 7, 1980), prodded by Chrysler workers and dealers in every congressional district who feared the loss of their livelihoods. The military then bought thousands of Dodge pickup trucks which entered military service as the CUCV. With such help and a few innovative cars (such as the K-car platform), especially the invention of the minivan concept, Chrysler avoided bankruptcy and slowly recovered.

In February 1982 Chrysler announced the sale of Chrysler Defense Inc., its profitable defense subsidiary to General Dynamics for $348.5 million. The sale was completed in March 1982 for the revised figure of $336.1 million.

By the early 1980s, the loans were being repaid at a brisk pace and new models based on the K-car platform were selling well. A joint venture with Mitsubishi called Diamond Star Motors strengthened the company's hand in the small car market. Chrysler acquired AMC in 1987, primarily for its Jeep brand, although the failing Eagle Premier would be the basis for the Chrysler LH platform sedans. This bolstered the firm, although Chrysler was still the weakest of the Big Three. In the early 1990s, Chrysler made its first steps back into Europe, setting up car production in Austria, and beginning right hand drive manufacture of certain Jeep models in a 1993 return to the UK market. The continuing popularity of Jeep, bold new models for the domestic market such as the Dodge Ram pickup, Dodge Viper (badged as "Chrysler Viper" in Europe) sports car, and Plymouth Prowler hot rod, and new "cab forward" front-wheel drive sedans put the company in a strong position as the decade waned.

Acquisition by Daimler-Benz

In 1998 Daimler-Benz purchased Chrysler, forming DaimlerChrysler AG. Chrysler Corporation then was legally renamed DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC, while its total operations began doing business as Chrysler Group. This was initially declared to be a merger of equals, but it quickly became evident that Daimler-Benz was the dominant partner. Chrysler went into another of its financial tailspins soon after the merger, greatly depressing the stock price of the merged firm and causing alarm at headquarters in Germany, which sent CEO Dieter Zetsche to take charge. The Plymouth brand was phased out in 2001, and plans for cost cutting by sharing of platforms and components began. The strongly Mercedes-influenced Chrysler Crossfire was one of the first results of this program. A return to rear-wheel drive was announced, and in 2004 a new Chrysler 300 using this technology and a new Hemi V8 appeared and was successful. Financial performance began to improve, with Chrysler providing a significant share of DaimlerChrysler profits due to restructuring efforts at the Mercedes Car Group. The partnership with Mitsubishi was dissolved as DaimlerChrysler divested its stake in the firm due to diving Mitsubishi profits and sales worldwide.

Sale

According to the April 2007 issue of Der Spiegel, CEO Dieter Zetsche expressed a desire to dismantle Chrysler and sell off the majority stake and at the same time keep Chrysler "dependent" upon Mercedes-Benz after the sale.

On April 4, 2007 Dieter Zetsche said that the company was negotiating the sale of Chrysler, which was rumored for weeks before the announcement. One day after, investor Kirk Kerkorian placed a 4.5 billion dollar bid for Chrysler. On 12 April Magna International of Canada announced it was searching for partners to place a bid for Chrysler. Magna's offer was outbid.

On May 14, 2007 DaimlerChrysler AG announced that it would sell 80.1% of its stake in the Chrysler Group to Cerberus Capital Management for $7.4 Billion. After the transaction was to complete, Chrysler Group (DaimlerChrysler Corporation) would officially become Chrysler Holding LLC (changed to Chrysler LLC upon completion of the sale), with two subsidiaries - Chrysler Motors LLC (new name of DaimlerChrysler Motors Company), which will produce Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles, and Chrysler Financial Services LLC (new name of DaimlerChrysler Financial Services Americas LLC), which will take over the current operations of Chrysler Financial. DaimlerChrysler AG plans to change its name to Daimler AG pending shareholder approval sometime this fall. On August 7th, 2007 Chrysler named Robert L. Nardelli Chief Executive. On August 28, 2007, Chrysler hired Deborah Meyer, former Vice-President of Marketing at Lexus, to become Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer for their marketing team. On September 6th, 2007 Chrysler named James Press, formerly Toyota's highest ranking American executive, as their co-president. A day later, Chrysler named Phil Murtaugh, formerly the Vice-President of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, as CEO of their Asian Operations.

On October 10, 2007 the new company experienced its first labor dispute. A strike deadline of 11 a.m. had been set by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union leadership pending successful negotiation of a new contract patterned after the pact with GM. As the talks progressed past the deadline, most Chrysler unionized workers walked off their jobs. With media speculation about the impact of a long strike, an impromptu announcement after 5 p.m. the same day indicated that a tentative agreement had been reached, thus ending the walkout after just over six hours.

Logos

Medallion logo

With its inception in 1925, Chrysler's logo was a round medallion with a ribbon bearing the name CHRYSLER in uppercase block letters.

Forward Look

Virgil Exner's radical "Forward Look" redesign of Chrysler Corporation's vehicles for the 1955 model year was underscored by the company's adoption of a logo by the same name. The Forward Look logo consisted of two overlapped boomerang shapes, suggesting space age rocket-propelled motion.

Pentastar

In September 1962, the company adopted a logo named Pentastar, made of five triangles arranged so their bases formed the sides of a pentagon. The Pentastar was extensively used on dealer signage, advertisements, and promotional brochures. Contrary to popular belief, the logo was not intended to symbolize the five automotive brands at the time: Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Imperial and Dodge Truck. By 1963 there were only two auto divisions in the United States: Chrysler-Plymouth and Dodge, and there were over a dozen other divisions in the Chrysler Corporation family. The Pentastar was commissioned and designed as a logo usable by all divisions, and which was not tied to any particular automotive styling feature (as had been the case with Forward Look).

Chrysler President Lynn Townsend was looking for a symbol that could be used by all divisions on packaging, stationery, signage and advertising. He wanted something that would be universally recognizable as "Chrysler" to anyone who saw it, in any culture. The Pentastar was simple and easily recognizable, even on revolving signs. The symbol also facilitated Chrysler's expansion in the international market by removing any text that is commonly used in logotypes.

Divisional logos such as Dodge's Fratzog were gradually phased out until by 1981, all Chrysler divisions used only the Pentastar. All car brands (Valiant, Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Imperial, Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam, Singer, Simca), truck brands (Fargo, DeSoto, Dodge, Commer, Karrier), and all the other Chrysler divisions (air conditioning systems, heating, industrial engines, marine engines, outboard motors, boats, transmissions, four-wheel drive systems, powdered metal products, adhesives, chemical products, plastics, electronics, tanks, missiles) and services (leasing, finance and Mopar) were identified by the Pentastar.

The Pentastar appeared consistently but inconspicuously on the lower passenger-side fender of all Chrysler products, including foreign brands, from 1963 into the 1972 model year. It was placed on the passenger-side fender so it could be viewed by passers-by, a subtle method of getting the symbol ingrained in the public's mind. A nameplate has to be read, but a symbol is recognizable even to the illiterate. Thus North American and European-market cars had the Pentastar on the right fender, while British and Australian-market cars had it on the left. The practice was revived in 1993. The Chrysler brand used a gem-like version of the Pentastar to identify its more upscale status, and its Imperial models employed a combination of the Pentastar and winged icon.

Chrysler began phasing out the Pentastar as vehicle badging in 1993, when the Dodge division adopted the ram logo beginning with the Dodge Intrepid. The Chrysler brand revived the original gold logo in 1994, eventually adopting the winged logo it had used until the 1950s, in 1998. The winged logo appeared on all cars by 1999, however the 2000 Chrysler Voyager used the plain one. In 1996, Plymouth debuted a new sailboat logo, which was a simplified version of the brand's pre-Pentastar ship logo. The Pentastar's last badging appearance was on the steering wheel, front fender side rub trim, and keys of the Chrysler NS minivans produced from 1996 through 2000 as well as on certain vehicles (although the word CHRYSLER appeared on the steering wheel on some vehicles). The Pentastar continued to represent Chrysler until the merge with Daimler in 1998, when it was retired. Among the few remaining traces of this motif was a large, star-shaped window at DaimlerChrysler's American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and Pentastar Aviation, a former DaimlerChrysler subsidiary which reverted to its original name after being purchased, by a member of the Ford family. Many dealerships still have signage and other traces still visually apparent to the Pentastar, where a five-Pentastar logo remains in use as the logo of the "Five Star Dealer" service rank. Despite having been officially retired, the Pentastar continued to make a few relatively inconspicuous appearances on Chrysler Group cars and trucks in markings on window glass and on individual components and molded-plastic assemblies.

On May 17, 2007, an internal email stated that Chrysler was going to revive the Pentastar logo, in updated form, after their split from Daimler. The new three-dimensional Pentastar was formally introduced when Chrysler LLC began doing business as a private company in August 2007.

Winged logo

The design shown here is an adaptation of the original medallion logo which Chrysler used on its cars at its inception in 1925. The logo was revived for the Chrysler division in 1994, and was surrounded by a pair of silver wings after the Daimler-Benz merger in 1998. When sold to Cerberus, Chrysler readopted the Pentastar (see above) as their corporate logo, although the winged logo is still used on the cars themselves.

Alternative propulsion

For many years, Chrysler developed gas turbine engines for automotive use. Turbines were common in many military vehicles, and Chrysler built many prototypes for passenger cars. In the 1960s, mass production seemed almost ready. Fifty Chrysler Turbine Cars, specialty designed Ghia-bodied coupes were built in 1962 and placed in the hands of regular people for final testing. The turbine engines never saw production.

Hybrid vehicles

Chrysler is currently planning at least three hybrid vehicles, the Chrysler Aspen hybrid, Dodge Durango hybrid, and the Dodge Ram including HEMI® engines. Chrysler plans to use hybrid technology developed jointly with General Motors and BMW AG in vehicles beyond the two hybrid SUVs it had already announced that it would introduce next year. Chrysler has also been experimenting with a Hybrid Diesel truck for Military applications.

Established in September, 2007, Chrysler's new ENVI division will specifically deal with new hybrid vehicles not based on existing vehicles and will be led by Lou Rhodes.

PHEV Research Center

Chrysler is in the Advisory Council of the PHEV Research Center.

Controversy

Chrysler found itself part of a boycott by gay rights groups when the company pulled advertising from the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) sitcom Ellen in 1997, which it deemed "controversial." The company was not the only one to pull ads; other companies included Wendy's, General Motors, J.C. Penney, and Johnson & Johnson. The final episodes were widely criticized for focusing too much on gay issues that started in anti-gay circles, but spread to the mainstream media. Eventually, members of the gay community, such as GLAAD media director Chastity Bono, began to criticize the show's tone as well. The network cancelled the show in May 1998.

List of all Chrysler cars

Source: Wikipedia

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