Discover the history of Chrysler, the good and the bad, as well as the American automaker’s most popular models
As one of the most well-known and highly regarded automakers in the United States, year after year Chrysler sets a precedent in American innovation and ingenuity with widely popular models like the Chrysler 200 and 300 series, Town & Country minivan, and other automobiles. However, Chrysler wasn’t always one of the “Big Three” of the American auto industry – in fact, the company started from very humble beginnings.
The Chrysler Corporation was founded by Walter Chrysler in 1925 on the remains of the Maxwell Motor Company. The company expanded in 1928 when Walter Chrysler became owner of the Fargo truck company and the Dodge Brothers Company. He began selling vehicles under these brand names and established Plymouth and DeSoto automobile brands the same year. This diversification within a single automobile company was inspired by Walter Chrysler’s time working for General Motors, a rival company with an emphasis on brand hierarchy.
In 1955, Chrysler nearly went under during a financial crisis. Prudential stepped in to pull the company out of bankruptcy with $250 million. With disaster averted, Chrysler focused on a brand-new styling approach and designed to their vehicles, as executed by Virgil Exner. This new approach helped increase sales throughout the subsequent years.
Chrysler entered the European market in the 1960s and launched the Chrysler Europe division, created with a combination of French, British and Spanish automakers. A partnership with Mitsubishi Motors was established in the 1970s, resulting in sales of Mitsubishi vehicles branded as Dodge and Plymouth in the United States and Canada.
Unfortunately, the oil crisis in 1973 precipitated a new financial crisis for the automaker, and by the late 1970s, Chrysler was about to go bankrupt again.
The company retreated from Europe in 1979. Lee Lacocca, the new CEO for Chrysler at the time, is credited with resurrecting Chrysler for the second time. Eight years later, Chrysler created Diamond-Star Motors as an expansion of the Chrysler-Mitsubishi relationship. The acquisition of American Motors Corporation brought the Jeep brand under the Chrysler name.
In 1998, Chrysler and Daimler-Benz AG merged and became DaimlerChrysler. The merger did not sit well with investors, resulting in the sale of Chrysler to Cerberus Capital in 2007.
The “Big Three” automotive manufacturers of North America – General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US – were all hit hard by the industry crisis of 2008 – 2010. A series of negotiations began with creditors. Chrysler LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on April 30, 2009. A bailout from the United States government through the Troubled Asset Relief Program enabled the business to continue operating. On June 10, 2009, Chrysler emerged from the bankruptcy proceedings with the United Auto Workers pension fund, Fiat S.p.A and U.S./Canadian government ownership.
The American taxpayer paid off Chrysler’s debt to the United States government at the cost of $1.3 billion. Chrysler Group LLC was renamed FCA US LLC on December 15, 2014 to reflect the recent Fiat-Chrysler merger. The company has been ranked as the 11th largest vehicle manufacturer according to the OICA in 2012.
Chrysler has not designed crossovers or SUVs since discontinuing the Aspen and the Pacifica. However, the 2016 lineup includes three vehicles that bear the Chrysler name: the Chrysler 200 compact sedan, the Chrysler 300 midsize sedan and the Town & Country minivan.
The Aspen was the first full-size SUV graced with the Chrysler wings. The SUV was introduced during model year 2007 and was discontinued in 2009. The Aspen shared many common parts with the Dodge Durango with an additional touch of elegance.
The Pacifica was a midsize crossover produced during model years 2004 through 2008. This SUV competed with the Toyota Venza and the Honda Crosstour as part of the crossover/station wagon class. As of this date, Chrysler crossovers are a thing of the past. The Town & Country minivan, however, is still in production.
Consider a visit to your nearest Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram car dealership to check out the new Chrysler 300 and 200 sedans. The Chrysler 300 features an award-winning 3.6L Pentastar® V6 engine, delivering 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 300S is enhanced to achieve 300 horsepower with 264 pound-feet of torque. The 300 series rests near the top in Best-in-Class highway mileage.
If you want more power, choose the 5.7L HEMI® V8 engine with Fuel Saver Technology. Producing 363 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, this version of the 300 series is ideal for those who desire a little more punch. Fuel Saver Technology is designed to detect when full power is unneeded. The system will deactivate four of the eight cylinders when necessary to improve fuel efficiency.
The drivetrain includes the Class-Executive TorqueFlite® eight-speed transmission with a Class-Exclusive Rotary E-shift. The luxury interior includes features such as a seven-inch customizable Driver Information Display and Uconnect 8.4 NAV navigational systems. The entire 300 series lineup includes Limited, 300S, 300C and 300C Platinum trims.
Come Experience the Best Selection of New and Used Chryslers
in the Platte City/Kansas City Region
Stop by the Platte City-Airport Chrysler car dealership, located in north Kansas City, for a first-hand look at one of these exciting vehicles by Chrysler. You may even be able to score a test drive of the Chrysler vehicle of your choosing.
For now, we invite you to browse our selection of new and used Chrysler vehicles.