Walter P Chrysler was the founder of today’s giant car marque. After his first car was denied entry at the 1924 New York Auto Show, he parked his prototype 1924 Chrysler Six in the lobby where it was to be seen by passing investors and exhibitors. His never-say-die attitude meant that this car was to become the first affordable car with 4-wheel hydraulic brakes and a 6-cylinder engine. The car was the most powerful car of its time. On the 6th June 1925, Walter. P. Chrysler established the Chrysler Corporation.
In 1928, the Chrysler Corporation founded the Plymouth brand at the low priced end of the market, and it also introduced the DeSoto brand in the medium price field. Subsequently, Chrysler acquired the Dodge Brothers’ automobile company. Mr Chrysler wanted to set up a full range of brands similar to that of the General Motors Corporation. This process reached its logical conclusion in 1955 when the Imperial was made a brand of its own and Chrysler marketed a GM-like five-brand lineup.
In 1931, Plymouth seriously threatened Henry Ford’s vast manufacturing empire. It completely outclassed the Ford Model A by featuring hydraulic brakes, more graceful body lines and a really smooth engine balanced on three rubber shock mounts – the famous “floating power.” This engineering excellence and beauty continues to make the Chrysler brand popular at dealers everywhere.
The swift rise of Chrysler’s domain was due to the dogged determination of Walter P Chrysler to produce cars that were technologically advanced and built with impeccably. In the 1930s, customers were more interested in the technical features of an automobile rather than the amount of chrome or the color of the upholstery. Customers appreciated Chrysler’s strong construction and reliable performance, so Chrysler cars sold well. By the end of the thirties, the Chrysler Corporation had passed Ford, and was now a firmly established giant.
Although buyers did not receive the 1934 Airflow model very well, it was aerodynamically brilliant with its curved nose and sloping rear. Chrysler had been too far ahead of its time and the consumers were appalled at a car that looked so different from the square models popular then. In an ironic twist, Chrysler’s 21st century PT Cruiser has retro-styled looks that make them very distinctive in the dealers’ yards and take a bit of getting used to – though what better way to stand out from the crowd in the crowded centre-city streets of Sydney or Brisbane? Airflow models were a preview of the cars of the future. At the same time, the Chrysler Imperial sold well as it was powerful and reliable.
In 1960, Chrysler Corporation made what may well have been the fastest big car in America, the 300-F. In the 1960s, Chrysler also expanded into Europe, holding a majority interest in automotive companies in Britain, France and Spain.
The fuel crisis of 1973 discouraged large investments in an all-new big-car model range which appeared just as fuel prices peaked and large-car sales collapsed. In desperation, the Chrysler Corporation in September 1979 petitioned the United States government for $1.5 billion in loan guarantees to avoid bankruptcy. By the early 1980s, the loans were repaid as models based on the K-car platform sold well. A sound venture was Chrysler’s acquisition of AMC in 1987. AMC was building the Jeep and has proven to be a great success for Chrysler. In the early 1990s, Chrysler set up car production in Austria, and in UK in 1993.
With the popularity of the Jeep product, and new models coming from the Dodge and Chrysler names the company is in a very strong position. Vehicles made from the now amalgamated DaimlerChrysler group are designed with flair and are technologically at the top of their game.
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