Chrysler Group History Founded (1925)
|Type||Limited liability company|
|Predecessor(s)||Chrysler LLC (2007–2009) DaimlerChrysler AG (1998–2007) Chrysler Corporation (1925–1998)|
|Founded||June 6, 1925 (Chrysler Corporation) June 10, 2009 (Chrysler Group LLC)|
|Headquarters||Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.|
|Number of locations||List of Chrysler factories|
|Products||Automobiles Commercial Vehicles Automotive parts|
|Divisions||Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat (USA) Mopar SRT|
Chrysler Group LLC / is an American automobile manufacturer headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a consolidated subsidiary of Italian multinational automaker Fiat. Chrysler is one of the "Big Three" American automobile manufacturers. It sells vehicles worldwide under its flagship Chrysler brand, as well as the Dodge, Jeep, and Ram brands; it also manufactures vehicles sold under the Fiat brand in North America. Other major divisions of Chrysler include Mopar, its automotive parts and accessories division, and SRT, its performance automobile division. In 2011, Chrysler Group (not including Fiat) was the twelfth biggest automaker in the world by production.
The Chrysler Corporation was founded by Walter Chrysler in 1925, out of what remained of the Maxwell Motor Company. Chrysler greatly expanded in 1928 when it acquired the Fargo truck company and the Dodge Brothers Company and began selling vehicles under those brands; that same year it also established the Plymouth and DeSoto automobile brands. In the 1970s a number of factors including the 1973 oil crisis impacted Chrysler's sales, and by the late 1970s, Chrysler was on the verge of bankruptcy. Lee Iacocca was brought in as CEO and is credited with returning the company to profitability in the 1980s. In 1987, Chrysler acquired American Motors Corporation, which brought the profitable Jeep brand under the Chrysler umbrella.
In 1998 Chrysler merged with German automaker Daimler-Benz AG to form DaimlerChrysler; the merger proved contentious with investors and Chrysler was sold to Cerberus Capital Management and renamed Chrysler LLC in 2007. Like the other Big Three automobile manufacturers, Chrysler was hit hard by the automotive industry crisis of 2008–2010 and along with General Motors received billions of dollars in loans from the United States government in late 2008 and early 2009 to prevent both companies from shutting down. Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on April 30, 2009. On June 10, 2009 Chrysler emerged from the bankruptcy proceedings with the United Auto Workers pension fund, Fiat, and the U.S. and Canadian governments as principal owners. Over the next few years Fiat gradually acquired the other parties' shares to take majority ownership of the company.
The company was founded by Walter Chrysler (1875–1940) on June 6, 1925, when the Maxwell Motor Company (est. 1904) was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation.
Walter Chrysler arrived at the ailing Maxwell-Chalmers company in the early 1920s. He was hired to overhaul the company's troubled operations (after a similar rescue job at the Willys-Overland car company).In late 1923 production of the Chalmers automobile was ended.
In January 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 to a prototype which had been under development at Willys during Chrysler's tenure). The original 1924 Chrysler included a carburetor air filter, high compression engine, full pressure lubrication, and an oil filter, features absent from most autos at the time. Among the innovations in its early years were the first practical mass-produced four-wheel hydraulic brakes, a system nearly completely engineered by Chrysler with patents assigned to Lockheed, and rubber engine mounts to reduce vibration. Chrysler also developed a wheel with a ridged rim, designed to keep a deflated tire from flying off the wheel. This wheel was eventually adopted by the auto industry worldwide.
Following the introduction of the Chrysler, the Maxwell brand was dropped after the 1925 model year. The new, lower-priced four-cylinder Chryslers introduced for the 1926 year were badge-engineered Maxwells. The advanced engineering and testing that went into Chrysler Corporation cars helped to push the company to the second-place position in U.S. sales by 1936, a position it would last hold in 1949.
In 1928, the Chrysler Corporation began dividing its vehicle offerings by price class and function. The Plymouth brand was introduced at the low-priced end of the market (created essentially by once again reworking and rebadging Chrysler's four-cylinder model). At the same time, the DeSoto brand was introduced in the medium-price field. Also in 1928, Chrysler bought the Dodge Brothers automobile and truck company and continued the successful Dodge line of automobiles and Fargo range of trucks. By the mid-1930s, the DeSoto and Dodge divisions would trade places in the corporate hierarchy.
The Imperial name had been used since 1926, but was never a separate make, just the top-of-the-line Chrysler. In 1955, the company decided to spin it off as its own make and division to better compete with its rivals, Lincoln and Cadillac.
On April 28, 1955, Chrysler and Philco had announced the development and production of the World’s First All-Transistor car radio. The all-transistor car radio Mopar model 914HR, was developed and produced by Chrysler and Philco, and was an $150.00 "option" on the 1956 Imperial car models. Philco was the company, who had manufactured the all-transistor car radio Mopar model 914HR, starting in the fall of 1955 at its Sandusky Ohio plant, for the Chrysler corporation.
On September 28, 1957, Chrysler had announced the first production electronic fuel injection (EFI), as an option on some of its new 1958 car models (Chrysler 300D, Dodge D500, DeSoto Adventurer, Plymouth Golden Commando V-8). The first attempt to use this system was by American Motors on the 1957 Rambler Rebel.Bendix Corporation's Electrojector used a transistor computer brain modulator box, but teething problems on pre-production cars meant very few cars were made The EFI system in the Rambler ran fine in warm weather, but suffered hard starting in cooler temperatures and AMC decided not to use this EFI system, on its 1957 Rambler Rebel production cars that were sold to the public. Chrysler also used the Bendix "Electrojector" fuel injection system and only around 35 vehicles were built with this option, on its 1958 production built car models.
Imperial would see new body styles introduced every two to three years, all with V8 engines and automatic transmissions, as well as technologies that would filter down to Chrysler corporation's other models. Imperial was folded back into the Chrysler brand in 1973.
The Valiant was also introduced for 1960 as a distinct brand. In the U.S. market, Valiant was made a model in the Plymouth line for 1961 and the DeSoto make was discontinued during 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.
Chrysler acquired the Jeep brand as part of the purchase of American Motors (AMC) on August 5, 1987, for somewhere between US$1.7 billion and $2 billion, depending on how costs were counted. Chrysler then established the Jeep/Eagle division, along with the Eagle brand that was discontinued a decade later as part of the DaimlerChrysler merger at that time. In 2001, the Plymouth brand was also discontinued. Currently, Dodge is the full line automobile brand, with the Chrysler brand marketing upscale cars. The Jeep brand focuses on SUVs, while the Ram brand offers small commercial vans and a variety of pick-up trucks. Earlier in October, 2012, inaccurate reports had suggested that Chrysler's Jeep brand is considering moving "all production to China." However, the company rejected the reports and the group's Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne reaffirmed that the company is not moving Jeep vehicle production out of the United States to China after it became an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.
In 1998, Chrysler and its subsidiaries entered into a partnership dubbed a "merger of equals" with German-based Daimler-Benz AG, creating the combined entity DaimlerChrysler AG To the surprise of many stockholders, Daimler subsequently acquired Chrysler in a stock swap, after the retirement of Chrysler CEO Bob Eaton. Under DaimlerChrysler, the company was named DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC, with its U.S. operations generally called the "Chrysler Group". On May 14, 2007, DaimlerChrysler announced the sale of 80.1% of Chrysler Group to American private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., thereafter known as Chrysler LLC, although Daimler (renamed as Daimler AG) continued to hold a 19.9% stake. The deal was finalized on August 3, 2007. On April 27, 2009, Daimler AG signed a binding agreement to give up its remaining 19.9% stake in Chrysler LLC to Cerberus Capital Management and pay as much as $600 million into the automaker's pension fund, Three days later, Chrysler declared bankruptcy. The U.S. Treasury Department announced that it would loan Chrysler $8 billion, adding to the $4 billion in loans it had already received, to get it through bankruptcy.
The sale of substantially all of Chrysler's assets to "New Chrysler", organized as Chrysler Group LLC was completed on June 10, 2009. The federal government provided support for the deal with US$6.6 billion in financing, which was paid to "Old Chrysler", and a newly formed company called Old Carco LLC took over the remaining assets and liabilities, which remained in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This transfer excluded eight manufacturing sites, the majority of real estate holdings, and equipment leases. Contracts with 789 dealers in the U.S. were also excluded. On May 24, 2011, Chrysler repaid its $7.6 billion loans to the United States and Canadian governments.
On July 21, 2011, Fiat bought the Chrysler shares held by the United States Treasury. With the purchase, Chrysler once again became foreign owned; this time Italian car maker Fiat gained majority ownership and control of Chrysler. The United States government's involvement in the Chrysler bankruptcy cost $1.3 billion.