Chrysler has been a mainstay of the automotive industry for decades. Whether you love them or hate them, the subtle influence of Chrysler can be seen throughout automotive history. However, like all vehicles, Chryslers are not immune to breaking down; and the saving grace of any Chrysler owner is the trusty Chrysler service manual. In times of need, your Chrysler service manual will see you through.
However, why do we love our Chryslers? Let’s take a look back at the illustrious, and at times notorious, history of Chrysler to remind ourselves what makes Chrysler so great.
The innovative history of Chrysler starts with the Chrysler 6 engine. The seven bearing, high compression engine with interchangeable bearings, was the foundation of what we have today. Debuted in 1924, at the New York Automobile Show, this was what cemented Chrysler as a real competitor in the automotive industry in the United States.
With the advent of WWII, Chrysler played a significant role in supporting the war effort, going as far as, suspending all manufacturing in its factories to dedicate all their resources to the fulfilling defense contracts.
After the war Chrysler grew, developing the quintessential American muscle car. Turning out beauties such as the 1955 C-300 and the 1960 Chrysler 300 F. The former featured a 300-horsepower hemi V-8 engine and is considered by some to be the first high-performance car made available to the public.
In 1973, everything changed. Chrysler was one of many in the automotive industry blindsided by the oil crisis of that year. After 1973, people were more concerned about fuel efficiency than with looks and horsepower. Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Chrysler failed to be seen as a competitor against the cheaper, more fuel-efficient compact cars being imported from Japan.
Unable to improve their sales in the U.S., Chrysler was forced to appeal to Congress for a loan. Reluctantly, Congress approved the loan on the realization that failing to do so would cause a spike in unemployment numbers.
Lee A. Iacocca, Chrysler’s new CEO, was imperative in cutting the company’s finances. He went as far as cutting his annual salary down to $1 and strongly recommended others follow suit. Under his leadership, Chrysler was able to repay its loan in full and introduced the 1984 Plymouth Voyager LE, also known as the minivan, to the American market all in the same year.
The minivan’s popularity helped to boost Chrysler’s sales. However with Iacocca’s retirement, the company’s new head hand picked by Iacocca, Robert J. Eaton, made the risky decision to merge with Daimler-Benz AG. The merger was a failure. In 2006, Chrysler declared a loss of $1.5 billion. Daimler sold Chrysler to the American private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management in 2007.
By 2008, Chrysler was once again asking Congress for a loan. In July 2011, Fiat became the majority shareholder after purchasing the remaining stakes held by the government. Fiat assumed full ownership of Chrysler three years later after acquiring the remainder of UAW’s shares.
Now that you know all the work that has gone into this brand. Remember what made you fall in love with the brand initially. Furthermore, if you ever need help, keep in mind that having a Chrysler repair manual on hand can make any repair job go easier.