So what do the Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, and Ram Trucks all have in common? They are all owned and manufactured by the same company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Starting in 1928 Chrysler is one of the longest running car companies in the United States. Over the years they have absorbed several brands and become a worldwide conglomerate which when excluding cars made by fiat stands 12th in the list of the largest car manufacturers in the world.
Chrysler has always been a company that focuses on luxury automobiles, and rather than trying to add on additional models to its product line which might dilute the brand, Chrysler has perfected the art of adding other brands to its portfolio. When Chrysler wanted off road vehicles, it bought out AMG which owned JEEP. When Chrysler wanted trucks it merged with Dodge. All of these moves have been strategic in creating an overall portfolio of products what has something for everyone. Here are 5 facts you might not have known about Chrysler
It’s founder worked for General motors
Walter Percy Chrysler was born in 1875. He worked his way up through several positions in various machine shops to supervisor and superintendent. After he bought his first car at 35 he learned how to completely assemble and disassemble it before learning to drive it. Two years later he went to work for the Buick division of General Motors and in 1917 became president and executive director of Buick.
He started by absorbing many smaller manufacturers
Following the example of Henry Ford many businessmen in America wasted no time started their own car companies. In the early 20th century many of the small automakers were created just to be absorbed by bigger companies. Chrysler was founded in 1925 when the Maxwell Motor Company was reorganized into the Chrysler Corporation. Their first vehicle was the Chrysler 4 with a 6 cyclinder engine boasting a max speed of 58 miles per hour. More than 32000 Chrysler 4’s were sold in the first year.
1928 brought on divisions and new acquisitions
By 1928 Chrysler was successful enough to open its De Soto and Plymouth divisions and shortly after bought the Dodge brothers company meaning that Chrysler Corporation was now producing Chrysler, De Soto, Plymouth, and Dodge vehicles. The price range for De Soto and Plymouth was around $670 ($9729.83 in today’s Money) – $725 ($10,528.55 today) allowing even low-income Americans to buy a car.
Chrysler Created a Car or Every Market
The goal of Walter Chrysler was to create a strong brand for every market. Plymouth was introduced as the low cost brand. De Soto was made into the mid price vehicle. Dodge was introduced as the high performance brand, and the Chrysler was marketed as the top of the line luxury model to compete with North American Rivals Lincoln and Cadillac and European brands like Mercedes-Benz
More and More Acquisitions
So by their 12th year in operation Chrysler had 4 brands and had become the number 2 automaker in the country. In 1987 Chrysler acquired American Motors Group giving Chrysler their new Jeep brand. ’87 also brought the buyout of Italian car maker Lamborghini, and while a part of Chrysler Lamborghini produce the Diablo which was at the time the fastest car in the world. In 1998 Chrysler merged with Daimler Motors giving Chrysler control of Mercedes-Benz. Finally after years of decline Chrysler was itself acquired by Fiat Motors creating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles giving the company access to the Alfa Romeo, Fiat, and Abarth brands.
The story of Chrysler is a long and strange one full of innovations and acquisitions. Check one out for yourself today.