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106 years of honorable mediocrity.

Friday, 24 April, 2009

1903 - 2009

1903 - 2009

Chrysler, LLC was founded during 1903 as Maxwell-Briscoe Company in Tarrytown, New York. Through a prolonged series of mergers and acquisitions many companies folded into the company as it exists today.

The most significant of these were:

  • 1925 Former General Motors executive Walter Percy Chrysler forms a holding company primarily with his own assets to acquire Maxwell Motor Company, Inc. The company quickly takes the name W.P. Chrysler Corporation.
  • 1954 Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car merge to become American Motors Corporation.
  • 1970 Kaiser-Jeep, successor to Willys-Overland, is acquired by American Motors.
  • 1987 American Motors is acquired by Chrysler Corporation.
  • 1998 Chrysler Corporation is acquired by Daimler-Benz, AG.
  • 2007 DaimlerChrysler spins off its “Chrysler Division”, creating Chrysler, LLC, a private company.

The following brands may be considered to have folded into the modern Chrysler, LLC:

Aero-Willys, Ajax, AMC, American Motors, Brush, Chalmers, Chrysler, Columbia, Courier, Desoto, Dodge, Eagle, Essex, Fargo, Graham-Paige, Hudson, Imperial, Jeffery, Jeep, Kaiser, Kaiser-Frazier, Maxwell, Maxwell-Briscoe, Maxwell-Chalmers, Metropolitan, Mitchell, Overland, Plymouth, Rambler, Alden Sampson, Stoddard-Dayton, Terraplane, United States Motor Company, Willys, Willys-Overland

Only Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler survive. At least, they survive until 1 May.

The question before us: what remnants of Chrysler are of interest to other companies and might therefore survive? The following discusses only product.

Would Renault-Nissan remain interested in the Ram series of trucks? Enough to buy the tooling and facilities even at a bargain price? How about the Dodge brand?

The legendary, unquestionably successful and world-first people carrier or minivan? Who would buy the plants or tooling and keep it in production? Either of the surviving American automakers would be a good fit as they do not have a quality product within the segment, but could they cover the acquisition costs? How about VW who is making aggressive moves within North America? How about a package deal with Renault-Nissan. Take the Caravan and we’ll throw in the Ram.

Jeep. The crown jewel of the Chrysler empire. Who gets it? What form does it take? Kiss the Compass, Liberty and Patriot goodbye.

Viper … wait, hasn’t that been sold? I honestly don’t remember.

With the possible exceptions of the Dakota truck, and the Journey crossover your humble narrator sees nothing offered by the company which is worth consideration for continued production.

What is the value, if any, of the unused trademarks? American Motors, Rambler, Terraplane, and Plymouth superficially appear to evoke some sort of emotional resonance with car buffs. How about VW establishing that plant in Chattanooga, acquiring a few more from Chrysler then using a name like American Motors? Scirocco becomes Javelin, anybody?

and the workers. As someone who grew up in a town built on UAW wages …

It shall suffice to merely say, these are dark days. Of course, if I could pick up an Avenger for eight grand I might consider it.

Once again I forgot all about GEM. Just today I saw my first tagged and titled GEM on the streets of my fair city.

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