20 Interesting Facts About Chrysler
Chrysler is yet another famous automaker that came to being thanks to the efforts of one great man. Here are 20 interesting facts about Chrysler, an outstanding American company.
1. The first thing to remember, talking about Chrysler company is its founder – an extraordinary man, whose name was Walter Percy Chrysler. Born in 1875, Walter had a fascinating career. He worked his way up through positions such as a supervisor, a superintendent, a division master mechanic and a general master mechanic.
When at the age of 35 he bought his first car, he was so fascinated by its construction that he disassembled and assembled it back, before learning to drive it. Two years later, Walter Chrysler became an employee of Buick and in 1917 became the president and executive director of the whole Buick division of General Motors.
2. Following the example of Henry Ford, many American businessmen started their own automobile manufacturing companies. In the 20th century, many small automakers were created just to be absorbed by bigger companies. Similarly, the Chrysler was founded by Walter Chrysler on June 6, 1925, when the Maxwell Motor Company (est. 1904) was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation.
3. Walter Chrysler wasted no time, while being the company’s director. He launched an eponymous automobile – the Chrysler 4 (also called the Series 58). The car, powered by a 6-cylinder engine, had a maximum speed of 58 miles per hour (93 km/h), which was an amazing speed at that time. The model was designed to provide customers with an advanced, well-engineered car, at a more affordable price than they might expect. This vehicle had an enormous success in the US. More than 32 000 Chryslers 4 were sold during the first year of sales. Thanks to W. P. Chrysler leadership, his company made a significant leap from the 57th to the 5th place among American automakers.
4. In 1928, Chrysler had enough funds to establish new divisions – De Soto and Plymouth. Shortly thereafter, Chrysler bought the Dodge Brothers company. All the new divisions were quite successful. Every new division had its own story of success. The price range for De Soto and Plymouth was around 670-725 $, allowing even a low-income American customer to buy a car.
5. Walter Chrysler chose to create a strong brand in every market sector. The Plymouth brand was introduced at the low priced end of the market. At the same time, the DeSoto marque was introduced in the medium-price field.
Shortly thereafter The Dodge earned the reputation of a high-performance but still affordable vehicle.
The Imperial name was used since 1926, but was never a separate make, just the top-of-the-line Chrysler. However, in 1955, the company decided to spin Imperial off as its own make and division to have better chances in competition with its North American rivals, Lincoln and Cadillac, and European luxury sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 Adenauer, the Mercedes-Benz 600, and the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.
6. Issued in 1936, Chrysler Airflow was the most revolutionary car of its time. The model got an improved aerodynamic form, thanks to extensive testing in a whirl tube. Astonishingly, the maximum speed of a humble sedan was 145 km/h. With engine shifted towards a forward axel and lowered driveshaft the car got a very generous passenger compartment and a low, flat floor. Another selling point for the vehicle was its price; the price of 1345 $ was the lowest in its class.
7. Just 12 years after its founding, the Chrysler was already the second largest automaker in the world, surpassing the Ford Motor Co. with only General Motors ahead. Unfortunately, Walter Percy Chrysler died in 1940, leaving the president’s post vacant.
8. During the Second World War, Chrysler like other American automakers, took on the military equipment production. In total, 11 new factories were opened during the years of the World War II, yet this was not enough to keep up with demands of US Army in terms of production volume. Eventually, the company was surpassed by General Motors and Ford.
9. In the post war years, Chrysler continued the production of outdated pre-war models. Things brightened for the company in 1955, with the introduction of successful Forward Look designs. The new design resonated with customers; the design of Chrysler models was considered the benchmark in the late ’50s.
At the same time company introduces several revolutionary technological improvements including a front torsion bar suspension, an integral body frame, an improved gearbox, an electronic fuel injection system. This was the most favourable period for Chrysler. Good sales enabled the acquisition of several European factories. The European division of Chrysler was created in the late ‘60s.
10. In 1960, Chrysler 300-C established a new speed record – 283,4 km/h. However, during the 60s, American automakers shifted towards smaller, sleeker car designs, typical for the European style.
11. In the early ’70s, due to the world oil crisis, the demand for large, inefficient vehicles dropped drastically. This unfavourable economic and market conditions led to the end of Imperial series in 1971. Moreover, the Chrysler itself was in real danger of being bankrupt. Lee Iacocca, a manager with a 32-years’ experience in automobile industry, was invited to save the company. Thanks to his experience and connections, the company stayed afloat.
12. In 1983, Chrysler entered a new market sector – the bus manufacturing. The Chrysler buses instantly became very popular among American customers, and now they dominate the American market. The company created multiple joined ventures, including Diamond-Star with Mitsubishi.
13. In 1987, Chrysler bought the famous Italian automaker Lamborghini. Lamborghini division of Chrysler produces the fastest car in the world – Lamborghini Diablo. However, arguably, the biggest and most successful investment was a buy-out of American Motors, which included Eagle and Jeep brands.
14. In the late ‘80s, the company worked on improvement of quality of its vehicles. Every Chrysler car had a 7-year warrant on its components, as well as chassis. Chrysler experts claimed that chassis should be corrosion-free even after 100 000 miles. Concerned with safety, Chrysler equipped its vehicles with a supplementary restraint system, making it a standard equipment of its cars.
15. In the mid ‘90s the American automaker gained a financial stability. In 1994 company achieved a record in efficiency. Two brand new sedans – the Chrysler Cirrus and the Dodge Stratus were presented to the public the same year. Chrysler Cirrus won the Motor Trend award and was named the car of the year. The Dodge Caravan was the first minibus ever to win the same award in 1995. The vehicle became the car of the year of North America and the best-selling car in the USA.
16. In 1996, Chrysler Sebring, a cabriolet was presented to the public. The new vehicle soon became the most popular car of its class.
17. Chrysler continued a technical cooperation with foreign companies. Very soon, the company got signed a deal with Daimler-Benz concerning minibus production. This minor cooperation led to a long term partnership. In 1998, two companies merged; Chrysler Corporation was legally renamed Daimler Chrysler Motors Company. The newly created holding company – Daimler-Chrysler became one of the world leaders of automobile industry.
18. Introduced on January 15, 2001 during the North American Motor Show, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, a retro styled compact car, was launched by Chrysler as a 5-door hatchback and as a 2-door convertible. Marketed as the Modern Classics, this vehicle united modern technological solutions with Chrysler automobile traditions.
19. The late ’90s was a period of a staggering decline in demand for Chrysler vehicles. This was partially due to a mismanagement and partially due to a lack of autonomy in the new union. Anyway, at the beginning of the new millennium, the famous American automaker mostly produced models of other companies under the American shield. This chain of unfortunate events led to the company’s bankruptcy.
20. However, such a famous and influential brand could not disappear that easily. This American company formed a global alliance with Fiat. As in 2014, the majority stack in Chrysler belongs to the Italian automobile giant. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a multinational corporation with headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands, was established by Fiat in 2014. Today, all the car enthusiasts hope that this mutually beneficial cooperation will only make both companies prosper.