Chrysler is one of the most well-known and widely purchased American automakers and has been referred to as one of the “Big Three,” alongside Ford and General Motors, for many years. The company, however, has had to overcome some significant challenges since it’s beginning in 1925.
A History of Chrysler
After some convincing on the part of Jonathan Maxwell, Walter P. Chrysler took control of the Maxwell Motor Company and founded the Chrysler Corporation in 1925. Chrysler began to revitalize the company by introducing revolutionary new vehicles as well as buying Dodge Brothers, Inc. and starting Plymouth in 1928.
Initially, Chrysler introduced the “muscle car” that had features like a 300 horsepower V-8 engine, which was extremely popular. The problem hit in 1973 when a major oil crisis caused oil prices to skyrocket. People quickly became disinterested in big, powerful engines and more focused on things like fuel efficiency.
Because the company hadn’t focused on compact cars (or any fuel-efficient vehicles) at that point, Chrysler found itself on the verge of bankruptcy in 1978. Lee A. Iacocca, a former Ford employee who had recently become president of Chrysler, decided to appeal to the U.S. Congress for a $1.5 billion loan. President Jimmy Carter approved the deal, and Chrysler was back in business.
Iacocca worked hard to restructure the company and was able to repay the entire loan with interest by 1983. He also brought Jeep under the Chrysler name. Iacocca retired from Chrysler in 1992 and turned it over to Robert J. Eaton, General Motors’ Europe president.
Eaton decided Chrysler needed more of an international presence, so in 1998 he decided to merge Chrysler Corporation and Daimler-Benz AG, becoming DaimlerChrysler. However, investors and critics did not see this merger as a positive move, so after Chrysler suffered another big loss, Daimler decided to sell Chrysler to Cerebrus Capital in 2007.
The next big blow for Chrysler came shortly after in 2008 with the industry and economic crisis. Chrysler, along with Ford and General Motors, all ended up being part of a government bailout program called the Troubled Asset Relief Program. This program allowed these companies to continue with business as usual. They were required, however, to pay back the government loans.
After going through bankruptcy proceedings again in 2009, Chrysler Group LLC was formed as a part of a merger with Fiat. The company was renamed again in 2014 to FCA US LLC to better represent the Chrysler-Fiat merger.
Chrysler’s Newest Models
Chrysler has released three 2016 vehicles in their lineup, including the Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Chrysler Town & Country.
The Chrysler 200 is a compact sedan that boasts having the most powerful V6 engine in its class, delivering 295 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. It is also highly fuel efficient, getting up to 36 highway miles per gallon.
The Chrysler 300 is a step up in size, but also has a 3.6L Pentastar® V6 engine that delivers 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 300 also holds the award for Best-in-Class V6 highway fuel economy.
Chrysler has been producing the Town & Country minivan since 1990. It continues to be a very popular vehicle with six different model options: LX, Touring, S, Touring-L, Limited and Limited Platinum.
For 2017, Chrysler is reintroducing the Pacifica, a midsized crossover van that was originally released in 2004 and produced through 2008.
To take a look at these new Chrysler vehicles and our gently used sedans, SUVS, minivans and more, shop our online inventory and come by our Sedalia dealership today for a closer look and a test drive!