Chrysler has, for a long time, been one of the big three automakers in the United States, after General Motors and Ford Motor Company. This corporation currently operates under the name Stellantis and ranks as the fifth-largest automobile entity in the world.
Stellantis owns over 15 world-renown automobile brands such as Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Peugeot, and Citroen. The company has manufacturing facilities in 30 countries and more than 300,000 employees.
The Origins of Chrysler
The story of Chrysler began on June 6, 1925, after Walter Chrysler acquired the Maxwell Motor Company and reorganized it into Chrysler Corporation.
Maxwell Motor Company, founded in 1904, was in deep debt and facing bankruptcy and closure.
Walter Chrysler joined the company in 1920 after resigning from General Motors. He became Chrysler’s president after the reorganization.
The 1920s and 1930s
In 1924, Chrysler Corporation launched its first car, the Chrysler B-70. This car had a six-cylinder engine and features such as an oil filter, four-wheel hydraulic brakes, and a carburetor air filter. I
t sold for an affordable price. In 1925, Chrysler acquired the American Motor Body Company, thus getting a body supply source.
In 1928, Chrysler formulated a plan to group its automobiles according to price and function. The corporation purchased Dodge Brothers, thus acquiring Dodge’s truck business and dealer/distribution system.
Chrysler also launched the Plymouth automobile for low-end markets and the DeSoto brand for the mid-target market.
Chrysler released the Airflow model in 1934. However, it did not appeal to customers. The car had a peculiar streamlined body design that customers were not ready for.
Most of them preferred the Dodge and Plymouth, models. Chrysler relied on these two models to generate sales and remain in business throughout the 1930s.
In 1935, Walter Chrysler stepped down as Chrysler’s president but remained board chairman until his demise in 1940. Kaufman Thuma Keller served as president from 1935 to 1950.
The World War II Era
During World War II, Chrysler halted car production to focus on manufacturing war utilities, such as trucks, tanks, guns, and ammunition.
The company played an essential role in helping the US military during the war. Chrysler accepted defense contracts even before the country went to war and manufactured more than 25,000 tanks between 1942 and 1945.
Chrysler returned to automobile production in 1945. However, many customers found the cars poorly designed and constructed, which caused them to choose Ford and General Motors over Chrysler.
It wasn’t until 1960, when Chrysler introduced a new design concept, unibody construction, that customers began preferring Chrysler models.
Chrysler played a significant role in creating the muscle car market in the United States with models like the Dodge Charger, Plymouth Road Runner, and Plymouth Barracuda.
The company also expanded into Europe by investing in the Rootes Group, a British automobile manufacturer.
Tough Times in the 1970s
The 1970s were tumultuous for Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and other American Automakers.
The oil crisis of 1973 changed customer preferences, thus affecting Chrysler’s sales.
Customers were more interested in affordability and fuel efficiency than muscle and high performance. They chose small and fuel-efficient Japanese cars over American automobiles.
By the second half of the 1970s, Chrysler faced financial problems that put it at risk of bankruptcy.
To help increase sales, Chrysler hired Lee Iacocca to become the company’s CEO. Iacocca had been fired from Ford Motor Corporation after clashing with Henry Ford II.
Shortly after joining Chrysler, Iacocca realized that the company was bordering on bankruptcy.
He appealed to the United States government to offer Chrysler a loan guarantee of $1.5 billion. Despite strong resistance from government officials, Congress officially approved the loan in 1980. By 1983, Chrysler had repaid the loan, adding $350 million in interest.
Acquisitions in 1980s and 1990s
In 1980, Chrysler launched Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan. These were minivans geared for family use and became the leading models for another 25 years.
Chrysler also introduced other models, such as Chrysler LeBaron, Plymouth Reliant, and Dodge Aries, which helped boost profitability.
Chrysler began acquiring new companies in 1987, starting with Nuova Automobili F. Lamborghini, an Italian automobile company founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini.
The corporation also purchased American Motors Corporation, thus acquiring the Jeep brand. Around this time, Chrysler set up a joint venture with Mitsubishi to manufacture subcompact cars. Mitsubishi bought out Chrysler’s stake in 1991.
The Merger in the Late 1990s
Chrysler continued to grow in popularity in the 1990s, thanks to new models such as the Dodge Viper, Dodge Ram, and Jeep models. In 1998, the company merged with Daimler-Benz to form DaimlerChrysler AG.
Although labeled a merger of equals, Daimler-Benz seemed the dominant partner. Jürgen Schrempp became the CEO and agreed to run the company jointly with Robert Eaton, Chrysler’s chief executive. However, Schrempp became the sole chairman in 2000.
Chrysler in the 21st Century
Chrysler once again faced financial problems in the 21st century. The company suffered a $1.5 billion loss in 2006. Following this loss, Daimler sold Chrysler Group to a private equity firm called Cerberus Capital Management.
Chrysler was later renamed Chrysler LLC, and Robert Nardelli became the company’s CEO and chairman.
In 2008, the US government offered an emergency fund to the Big Three American automakers: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.
This loan would enable the companies to continue operations despite the recession and financial crisis.
Later in 2009, Fiat SpA, an Italian automobile company, acquired a significant stake in Chrysler. The deal was finalized two months later, with Fiat SpA purchasing most of Chrysler’s assets and getting a 20% stake.
Fiat SpA acquired more shares in 2011 after buying the stakes held by the Canadian and American governments. Fiat SpA became the sole owner of Chrysler in 2014 after acquiring the remaining United Auto Workers (UAW) shares.
In 2021, Fiat Chrysler merged with the PSA Group, forming Stellantis. Chrysler is currently the American subsidiary of Stellantis.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who started Chrysler?
Walter P. Chrysler started the Chrysler Corporation in 1925.
- Where was Chrysler founded?
Chrysler was founded in 1925 in Detroit, Michigan, from what remained of the Maxwell Motor Company.
- Who bought the Chrysler Corporation?
Fiat Chrysler acquired full ownership of Chrysler in 2014. This company later merged with the PSA Group to form Stellantis.
- How much did Fiat pay for Chrysler?
The entire acquisition from 2009 to 2014 cost $4.9 billion and $5.5 billion in pension liability.
- Who owns the Chrysler Corporation?
Chrysler is currently the American automobile division of Stellantis. Stellantis was formed after Fiat Chrysler merged with the PSA Group in 2021.
- What is Chrysler called now?
Chrysler is called Stellantis, the company formed after PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler merged.
- Where are Chrysler cars made?
Chrysler is currently manufactured in a Mexican plant. Fiat Chrysler relocated its Chrysler plants from the United States to Mexico due to production costs.
- Is Chrysler a luxury brand?
Chrysler has always been a luxury brand but is now trying to be more mainstream.
- Are Chrysler cars still made?
Yes, they are. There are currently only two models, the Pacifica (minivan) and the 300 (sedan).
Chrysler Company Timeline
Walter P. Chrysler introduces the Chrysler B-70 model.
Walter P. Chrysler incorporates the Chrysler Corporation and becomes the company’s president.
Chrysler acquires Dodge Brothers and launches the Plymouth and DeSoto brands.
Chrysler launched the Airflow brand.
Walter P. Chrysler steps down as president but remains board chairman. Kaufman Thuma Keller becomes president.
The 1940s: Chrysler halts car production to focus on producing utilities for the US military during World War II.
The 1960s: Chrysler enters the European market.
Chrysler receives a $1.5 billion loan guarantee from the US government. This loan saves the corporation from bankruptcy.
Chrysler pays off the loan with an additional $350 million in interest.
Chrysler acquires Nuova Automobili F. Lamborghini and American Motors Corporation.
Chrysler merges with Daimler-Benz to form DaimlerChrysler AG.
Daimler sells its Chrysler interest to Cerberus Capital Management. Chrysler gets renamed Chrysler LLC.
The US government offers Chrysler an emergency fund to bail the company out of its financial crisis.
Fiat SpA acquires a significant stake in Chrysler.
Fiat SpA acquires more shares in Chrysler.
Fiat SpA takes full ownership of Chrysler and renames it, Fiat Chrysler.
Fiat Chrysler merges with the PSA Group to form Stellantis. The Chrysler brand is a division of Stellantis.
More About Chrysler
This section provides links to more information about Chrysler. Most lead to search results, so you always have updated and the most popular information anytime you visit this page.
- Chrysler launched an electric vehicle called TEVan in 1992, but the model did not catch on. This could be because EVs were not a hot commodity in 1992.
- Chrysler, in the 1960s, created a space division in the company to join the Space Race.
- The Chrysler B-70 was Chrysler’s first car, launched in 1924.
- In 1934, Chrysler introduced the Airflow model, which was not well received by the public.
- Chrysler stopped producing cars during World War II to manufacture war utilities, such as trucks, tanks, guns, and ammunition.
- Dodge Charger, Plymouth Road Runner, and Plymouth Barracuda were some of the Chrysler models that helped create the muscle car market in the United States.
- Chrysler was at risk of bankruptcy by the end of the 1970s due to financial problems.
- The Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan minivans were launched in 1980 and remained the leading models for another 25 years.
- As part of Chrysler’s acquisition strategy, Nuova Automobili F. Lamborghini was acquired in 1987.
- With new models such as the Dodge Viper, Dodge Ram, and Jeep, Chrysler continued to gain popularity in the 1990s.
- Although a merger of equals, Daimler-Benz seemed to be the dominant partner in 1998 after the company merged with Daimler-Benz.
Search Results – Facts About Chrysler.
Impact on Society
Many companies have impacted society, and Crysler is no exception.
Some of the impacts can be negative or positive, and this topic is beyond the scope of one article. However, the link below offers the latest search results allowing you to explore this topic in its entirety.
Search Results – Chrysler’s Impact on Society.
All companies suffer setbacks during the startup phase and when the company has been operating for many years.
Markets change, unforeseen problems arise, etc. The most important thing is how the management team deals with and resolves setbacks.
See the link below for the latest and most popular resources for the setbacks Chrysler has encountered.
Search Results – Chrysler Setbacks.
There are many successes of Chrysler, from the early years of the Chrysler 70 to the introduction of the Minivan.
For a complete overview of the success of Chrysler, see the link below for the latest information to explore.
Search Results – Chrysler Success.
Lessons Learned from Chrysler
Lessons can be learned from other people’s experiences, which also applies to learning from companies.
You can visit the link below to explore the latest and most popular information available to explore lessons from the Chrysler corporation.
Search Results – Lessons learned from Chrysler.
Chrysler Executive Team
A company’s success depends on many factors, and the executive team is one of the main characteristics that affect a company’s performance.
A strong team can make a company a huge success, or it can drive it to bankruptcy. For an overview of the executive team of Chrysler (Stellantis,) see the following link.
Search Results – Executive team of Chrysler.
Working at Chrysler
Exploring employee reviews offer insights into how the company is managed.
Honest poor reviews indicate a problem in management and poor morale within the company’s workforce. However, many positive reviews indicate the leadership team is in touch with their workforce.
See the link below for the latest employee reviews.
Search Results – Working at Chrysler.
Complaints and Lawsuits
Many large corporations are subject to legitimate complaints and lawsuits. In most cases, the management team is to blame.
A strong leadership team can lead to fewer lawsuits and complaints, while a weak team can lead to multiple lawsuits. The information on this topic is available at the link below.
Search Results – Complaints and Lawsuits related to Chrysler.
From the link below, you can explore books on Amazon about the Chrysler corporation if you want to learn more about it.
In the news, you can see what’s happening in the media related to Chrysler by typing your keyword into the search bar.
Below is a link that makes it easy to see what’s happening in the media related to Chrysler.
YouTube is the place to go when you want to learn more about Chrysler through videos.
Also, when watching, keep an eye out for related topics you may not have considered that appear on your screen.