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Chrysler Group LLC () is an American-based, multinational automaker, in global strategic alliance with its majority owner, Italian manufacturer Fiat, since 2009.

Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925.[1] Its core brands which it produces are Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, SRT, Fiat, and Mopar vehicles and products. The Company is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, United States.[2]

On June 10, 2009, Chrysler LLC emerged from a government backed Chapter 11 reorganization as Chrysler Group LLC, in alliance with the Italian automaker Fiat.[3][4] Initially holding a 20% interest in Chrysler Group, Fiat's stake was increased to 58.5% (fully diluted) following acquisition of the equity interests held by the U.S. Treasury (6% on June 3, 2011) and Canada (1.5% on July 21, 2011)[5][6][7][8][9] The stake was further increased to 61.8% in July 2012.[10]



Walter Chrysler The company was founded by Walter Chrysler (1875 1940) on June 6, 1925,[11][12] when the Maxwell Motor Company (est. 1904) was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation.[13][14]

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).[15] In late 1923 production of the Chalmers automobile was ended.[16]

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).[17] 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.[18][19] 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 was dropped after its 1925 model year run, although in truth the new line of lower-priced 4-cylinder Chryslers which were then introduced for the 1926 model year were basically Maxwells which had been re-engineered and rebranded.[20] It was during this time period of the early 1920s that Walter Chrysler assumed the presidency of Maxwell, with the company then ultimately incorporated under the Chrysler name.

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.[21] 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).[22] At the same time, the DeSoto brand was introduced in the medium-price field. Also in 1928, Chrysler bought the Dodge Brothers[23] 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. 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.[24]

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.[25] 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.

Corporate governance

Financial District]]

  • Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Richard Palmer, Chief Financial Officer
  • Reid Bigland, Dodge brand; U.S. sales chief & President and CEO Chrysler Canada[26]
  • Fred Diaz, Ram brand; Chrysler Mexico/Latin America[26]
  • Olivier Francois, Chrysler brand and marketing
  • Ralph Gilles, Design and SRT brand[26]
  • Michael Manley, Jeep and international sales
  • Pietro Gorlier, Mopar parts and service


Sales and marketing

Auburn Hills]] in Metro Detroit

Domestic sales

It is reported that Chrysler was heavy on fleet sales in 2010, hitting as high as 56 percent of total sales in February of that year. For the whole year, 38 percent of sales of Chrysler were to fleet customers. The industry average was 19 percent. However, the company hopes to reduce its fleet sales to the industry average in 2011 with a renewed product lineup.[28]

Global sales

Chrysler is the smallest of the "Big Three" U.S. automakers (Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors). Chrysler is the world's 13th largest vehicle manufacturer as ranked by OICA in 2010.[29] Total Chrysler vehicle production was about 1.58 million that year. Yanase Co., Ltd. is currently the exclusive retailer of all imported Chrysler products (Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge) to Japanese consumers.


Lifetime powertrain warranty

In 2007, Chrysler began to offer vehicle lifetime powertrain warranty for the first registered owner or retail lessee.[30] The deal covered owner or lessee in U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, for 2009 model year vehicles, and 2006, 2007 and 2008 model year vehicles purchased on or after July 26, 2007. Covered vehicles excluded SRT models, Diesel vehicles, Sprinter models, Ram Chassis Cab, Hybrid System components (including transmission), and certain fleet vehicles. The warranty is non-transferable.[31] After Chrysler's restructuring, the warranty program was replaced by five-year/100,000 mile transferrable warranty for 2010 or later vehicles.[32]

Let's Refuel America

In 2008, as a response to customer feedback citing the prospect of rising gas prices as a top concern, Chrysler launched the "Let's Refuel America" incentive campaign, which guaranteed new-car buyers a gasoline price of $2.99 for three years.[33] With the U.S. purchase of eligible Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, customers could enroll in the program and receive a gas card that immediately lowers their gas price to $2.99 a gallon, and keeps it there for the three years.

Lancia co-branding

Chrysler plans for Lancia to codevelop products, with some vehicles being shared. Olivier Francois, Lancia's CEO, was appointed to the Chrysler division in October 2009. Francois plans to reestablish the Chrysler brand as an upscale brand.[34]

Ram trucks

From Oct 2009, Dodge's car and truck line were split into two, "Dodge" for cars, minivans and crossovers and "Ram" for light and medium duty trucks and other commercial-use vehicles.[35]

Calendar year U.S. Chrysler sales %Chg/yr.
1999[36] 2,638,561
2000 2,522,695 4.4%
2001[37] 2,273,208 9.9%
2002[38] 2,205,446 3%
2003 2,127,451 3.5%
2004[39] 2,206,024 3.7%
2005[39] 2,304,833 4.5%
2006[40] 2,142,505 7%
2007[40] 2,076,650 3.1%
2008[41] 1,453,122 30%
2009[42] 931,402 36%
2010[43] 1,085,211 17%
2011[44] 1,369,114 26%

Imported From Detroit

In 2011, Chrysler unveiled their new "Imported From Detroit" campaign with ads featuring Detroit rapper Eminem, one of which aired during the Super Bowl. The campaign highlights the rejuvenation of the entire product lineup, which includes the new, redesigned and repackaged 2011 200 sedan and 200 convertible, the Chrysler 300 sedan and the Chrysler Town & Country minivan.[45][46] As part of the campaign, Chrysler sold a line of clothing items featuring the Monument to Joe Louis, with proceeds being funneled to Detroit-area charities, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan, Habitat for Humanity Detroit and the Marshal Mathers Foundation.[47] Following the Eminem ad, there was also an ad for Detriot Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh driving a Chrysler 300 to Portland, Or., to visit his mother, an ad featuring Detroit-born fashion designer John Varvatos cruising through a shadowy Gotham while Kevin Yon's familiar baritone traces the designer's genesis.[48]

In March 2011, Chrysler Group LLC filed a lawsuit against Moda Group LLC (owner of Pure Detroit clothing retailer) for copying and selling merchandise with the "Imported from Detroit" slogan.[49] Chrysler claimed it had notified defendant of its pending trademark application February 14, but the defendant argued Chrysler had not secured a trademark for the "Imported From Detroit" phrase. On June 18, 2011, U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow ruled that Chrysler's request didn't show that it would suffer irreparable harm or that it had a strong likelihood of winning its case. Therefore Pure Detroit's owner, Detroit retailer Moda Group LLC, can continue selling its "Imported from Detroit" products. Tarnow also noted that Chrysler doesn't have a trademark on "Imported from Detroit" and rejected the automaker's argument that trademark law isn't applicable to the case.[50][51] In March 2012, Chrysler Group LLC and Pure Detroit agreed to a March 27 mediation to try to settle the lawsuit over the clothing company's use of "Imported from Detroit" slogan.[52] Pure Detroit stated that Chrysler has made false claims about the origins of three vehicles - Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Chrysler Town & Country - none of which are built in Detroit. Pure Detroit also said that Chrysler's Imported From Detroit merchandise is not being made in Detroit.

In 2011, Eminem settled a lawsuit against Audi alleging the defendant had ripped off the Chrysler 300 Super Bowl commercial in the Audi A6 Avant ad.[53]

Half Time in America

Again in 2012, Chrysler advertised during the Super Bowl. Its two-minute February 5, 2012 Super Bowl XLVI advertisement was titled "Half Time in America". The ad drew the criticism of several leading U.S. conservatives, who suggested that its messaging implied that President Obama deserved a second term and, as such, was political payback for Obama's support for the federal bailout of the company.[54] Sergio Marchionne in a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft said when asked to respond to the conservatives he stated "just to rectify the record I paid back the loans at 19.7% Interest. I don't think I committed to do to a commercial on top of that." and "was unnecessary and out of place".[55]


  • Engineered to the Power of Cars (1998 2001)
  • Drive & Love (2002-2004)
  • Inspiration comes standard (2004-2007)
  • Engineered Beautifully (2007-halfway of 2010)
  • Imported From Detroit (2011-current)

Product line

The Dodge Ram, one of Chrysler's best selling vehicles[40]

  • Chrysler Passenger cars, minivan
  • Dodge Passenger cars, minivan, crossover, and SUV
  • Ram Trucks and commercial vehicles
  • Jeep Off-road vehicles, SUVs and crossovers
  • MOPAR Upscale versions of selected cars, trucks, and SUV's from Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Fiat. (New for 2012) Also brand for dealer service and customer service operations.
  • SRT High Performance. (2013 Viper will be badged as SRT Viper not Dodge Viper) (New for 2012)


  • Mopar Replacement parts for Chrysler-built vehicles.
    • Mopar Performance, a subdivision providing performance aftermarket parts for Chrysler-built vehicles.

PHEV Research Center

Chrysler is in the Advisory Council of the PHEV Research Center.

Chrysler Uconnect Web

Chrysler LLC Uconnect Web is a system that brings wireless Internet connectivity to any Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep vehicle, via a Wi-Fi "hot-spot". According to Chrysler LLC, the hotspot range will extend approximately from the vehicle in all directions, and will combine both Wi-Fi and 3G cellular connectivity. Uconnect is available on several current and was available on several discontinued Chrysler models including the Chrysler 300, Aspen, Sebring, Town and Country, Dodge Avenger, Caliber, Grand Caravan, Challenger, Charger, Journey, Nitro, and Ram.[56]


Fiat Auto plans to sell seven of its vehicles in the U.S. by 2014, while Fiat-controlled Chrysler Group is to supply nine models to sell under Fiat brands in the European market, according to a five-year plan rolled out on April 21, 2010 in Turin, Italy, by Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. At least five of the Fiat Auto models are expected to be marketed in the U.S. under its Alfa Romeo brand. Showing the level of integration envisioned, a product introduction timeline shows Chrysler-built compact and full-size SUVs going on sale in 2012 and 2014, respectively, in both European and North American markets.[57]

Environmental initiatives

Electric vehicles

The first electric vehicle produced by Chrysler was the 1992 Dodge EPIC concept minivan. In 1993, Chrysler began to sell a limited-production electric minivan called the TEVan; however, this minivan did not gain much popularity throughout its lifetime. In 1997, a second generation, called the EPIC, was released. It was discontinued after 1999.

Chrysler intended to pursue new drive concepts through ENVI, an in-house organization formed to focus on electric-drive vehicles and related technologies which was established in September 2007. In August 2009, Chrysler took US$70 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a test fleet of 220 hybrid pickup trucks and minivans. ENVI was disbanded by Nov 2009.[58]

Hybrid vehicles

The first hybrids of Chrysler, Chrysler Aspen hybrid and Dodge Durango hybrid, were discontinued a few months after production in 2008.[59]

Chrysler continues to develop The Dodge Ram hybrid.

Chrysler has also been experimenting with a Hybrid Diesel truck for military applications.

Special programs

During World War II, essentially all of Chrysler's facilities were devoted to building military vehicles (Note that the Jeep brand came much later after Chrysler acquired American Motors Corporation). The Chrysler tanks were far superior to Ford or General Motors tanks. They used five Plymouth flathead straight-6 engines in a radial design where the tank could keep going if one engine was disabled.[60] They were also designing V12 and V16 hemi-engines producing for airplanes, but they did not make it into production as jets were developed and were seen as the future for air travel.[61]

Radar antennas

When the Radiation Laboratory at MIT was established in 1941 to develop microwave radars, one of the first projects resulted in the SCR-584, the most widely recognized radar system of the war era. This system included a parabolic antenna six feet in diameter that was mechanically aimed in a helical pattern (round and round as well as up and down).

One of Chrysler s most significant contributions to the war effort, however, was not in the field of vehicles but in the radar field. For the final production design of this antenna and its highly complex drive mechanism, the Army s Signal Corps Laboratories turned to Chrysler's Central Engineering Office. There, the parabola was changed from aluminum to steel, allowing production forming using standard automotive presses. To keep weight down, 6,000 equally spaced holes were drilled in the face (this had no effect on the radiation pattern). The drive mechanism was completely redesigned, using technology derived from Chrysler s research in automotive gears and differentials. The changes resulted in improved performance, reduced weight, and easier maintenance. A large portion of the Dodge plant was used in building 1,500 of the SCR-584 antennas as well as the vans used in the systems.[62][63]


In April 1950, the U.S. Army established the Ordnance Guided Missile Center (OGMC) at Redstone Arsenal, adjacent to Huntsville, Alabama. To form OGMC, over 1,000 civilian and military personnel were transferred from Fort Bliss, Texas. Included was a group of German scientists and engineers led by Wernher von Braun; this group had been brought to America under Project Paperclip. OGMC designed the Army's first short-range ballistic missile, the PGM-11 Redstone, based on the WWII German V-2 missile. Chrysler established the Missile Division to serve as the Redstone prime contractor, setting up an engineering operation in Huntsville and for production obtaining use from the U.S. Navy of a large plant in Warren, Michigan. The Redstone was in active service from 1958 to 1964; it was also the first missile to test-launch a live nuclear weapon, first detonated in a 1958 test in the South Pacific.[64]

Working together, the Missile Division and von Braun's team greatly increased the capability of the Redstone, resulting in the PGM-19 Jupiter, a medium-range ballistic missile. In May 1959, a Jupiter missiles launched two small monkeys into space in a nose cone on a Jupiter; this was America's first successful flight and recovery of live space payloads. Responsibility for deploying Jupiter missiles was transferred from the Army to the Air Force; armed with nuclear warheads, they were first deployed in Italy and Turkey during the early 1960s.[65]

Space boosters

In July 1959, NASA chose the Redstone missile as the basis for the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle to be used for suborbital test flights of the Project Mercury spacecraft. Three unmanned MLRV launch attempts were made between November 1960 and March 1961, two of which were successful. The MLRV successfully launched the chimpanzee Ham, and astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom on three suborbital flights in January, May and July 1961.

America's more ambitious manned space travel plans included the design of the Saturn series of heavy-lift launch vehicles by a team headed by Wernher von Braun. Chrysler's Huntsville operation, then designated the Space Division, became Marshall Space Flight Center s prime contractor for the first stage of the Saturn I and Saturn IB versions. The design was based on a cluster of Redstone and Jupiter fuel tanks, and Chrysler built it for the Apollo program in the Michoud Assembly Facility in East New Orleans, one of the largest manufacturing plants in the world. Between October 1961 and July 1975, NASA used ten Saturn Is and nine Saturn IBs for suborbital and orbital flights, all of which were successful,[66] in fact Chrysler missiles and boosters never suffered a launch failure.


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.[67] To the surprise of many stockholders, Daimler subsequently acquired Chrysler in a stock swap,[68] 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.[69] The deal was finalized on August 3, 2007.[70] 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.[71]

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.[72] 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.[73][74] On May 24, 2011, Chrysler repaid its $7.6 billion loans to the United States and Canadian governments.[75]

Discontinued brands

  • Chrysler Europe (sold to Peugeot)
    • Sunbeam (1901 1976)
    • Humber (1967 1968)[76]
    • Singer (1905 1970)
    • Commer (1905 1979)
    • Hillman (1907 1976)
    • Karrier (1908 1977)
    • Simca (1934 1977)
    • Barreiros (1959 1978)
  • American Motors (AMC) (1954 1988)
    • Hudson (1909 1957)
    • Nash (1917 1957)
    • Rambler (1900 1914; 1950 1969)
  • Maxwell (1904 1926)
  • Graham Brothers (1916 1929)
  • Fargo (1920 1972)
  • DeSoto (1928 1961)
  • Plymouth (1928 2001)
  • Imperial (1955 1975; 1981 1983)
  • Valiant (1960 1976) The Valiant was introduced in 1960 as a separate Chrysler brand, then was incorporated into the Plymouth line in the U.S. starting in 1961.
    • Valiant (1962 1981).
    • Valiant (1960 1966) Chrysler marketed the Valiant as a separate Chrysler model in Canada until 1967, when the Canada United States Automotive Products Agreement of 1965 facilitated exporting the Plymouth Valiant to Canada.
  • Eagle (1988 1998)

See also

  • American Motors Corporation
  • Chrysler Building
  • Chrysler Headquarters and Technology Center
  • Chrysler Hemi engine
  • Chrysler Proving Grounds
  • History of Chrysler
  • Lee Iacocca
  • List of Chrysler engines
  • List of Chrysler factories
  • List of Chrysler platforms
  • List of Chrysler vehicles
  • Mopar
  • Seida
  • Walter Chrysler
  • Walter P. Chrysler Museum


  • Chrysler Australia
  • Chrysler Fevre Argentina
  • Chrysler Canada


Further reading

External links

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