Fiat Chrysler Automobiles logo (2014).
Fiat S.p.A. Reorganizes After Completion of the Purchase of Chrysler Group LLC
January 29, 2014 , Turin, Italy.
The Board of Directors of Fiat S.p.A. (“Fiat”) approved a corporate reorganization and the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (“FCA”) as a fully-integrated global automaker.
Following Fiat’s acquisition of the minority equity interest in Chrysler Group LLC, previously held by the VEBA Trust, the Fiat Board of Directors has reviewed options for the most appropriate governance and corporate structure.
In order to establish a true peer to the major global automotive groups, in both scale and capital market appeal, the Board has decided to establish Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., organized in the Netherlands, as the parent company of the Group. FCA’s common shares will be listed in New York and Milan.
“A new chapter of our story begins with the creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. A journey that started over a decade ago, as Fiat sought to ensure its place in an increasingly complex marketplace, has brought together two organizations each with a great history in the automotive industry and different but complementary geographic strengths. FCA allows us to face the future with a renewed sense of purpose and vigor,” said John Elkann, Chairman of Fiat.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and Chairman/CEO of Chrysler Group said: “Today is one of the most important days in my career at Fiat and Chrysler. Five years ago we began to cultivate a vision that went beyond industrial cooperation to include full cultural integration at all levels. We have worked tenaciously and single-mindedly to transform differences into strengths and break down barriers of nationalistic or cultural resistance. Today we can say that we have succeeded in creating solid foundations for a global automaker with a mix of experience and know-how on a level with the best of our competitors. An international governance structure and listings will complete this vision and improve the Group’s access to global markets bringing obvious financial benefits.”
Under the proposal approved by the Fiat Board, Fiat shareholders will receive one FCA common share for each Fiat share they hold and the FCA common shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with an additional listing on the Mercato Telematico Azionario (MTA) in Milan. FCA is expected to be resident for tax purposes in the United Kingdom, but this is not expected to affect the taxes payable by Group companies in the jurisdictions in which their activities are carried out.
In order to foster the development and continued involvement of a core base of long-term shareholders, FCA will adopt a loyalty voting structure, under which Fiat shareholders who are present or represented by proxy at the Fiat shareholder meeting called to vote on the proposal and who continue to hold their shares until the closing, regardless of how they vote, are eligible to receive special voting shares equivalent in number to the newly-issued FCA common shares they receive. The special voting shares will be subject to specific terms and conditions.
After the closing, shareholders who hold their FCA common shares for at least three years would also be entitled to participate in the loyalty voting structure.
FCA shareholders will be eligible for loyalty voting until they transfer their common shares. This structure is intended to facilitate a stable shareholder base and reward long-term share ownership, while allowing the Group enhanced flexibility to pursue strategic opportunities.
The proposed transaction is subject to approval of the final documentation by Fiat’s Board of Directors and shareholders.
The transaction would also be subject to limited closing conditions, including listing on the NYSE and a €500 million cap on the exercise of withdrawal rights arising under Italian law by Fiat shareholders and opposition rights by Fiat creditors. Listing on the MTA in Milan is expected to occur after trading on the NYSE has commenced.
The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Today’s decisions, and the jurisdiction of the parent company in particular, are based on the needs and opportunities resulting from the creation of a large, global auto group through the union of Fiat and Chrysler.
The existing organization based on four operating regions will remain central to the operating and management structure of the new Group. All activities forming part of FCA will continue with the same mission, including manufacturing plants in Italy and elsewhere around the globe, with no impact on headcount.
The Group will present a long-term business plan to the financial community at the beginning of May 2014.
Auburn Hills, Michigan, June 10, 2009.
Chrysler Group LLC prepares to begin operations, the new company formed in alliance with Fiat announced an organizational restructuring to focus on the Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge and Mopar® brands. The new leaner, flatter structure is intended to restore brand promise and dealer confidence. All appointments are effective immediately.
Auburn Hills, Mich., April 30, 2009.
Chrysler LLC today announced that, as a result of the comprehensive restructuring plan agreed to by many of its stakeholders, it has reached an agreement in principle to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat SpA to form a vibrant new company. It will allow Chrysler and Fiat to fully optimize their respective manufacturing footprints and the global supplier base, while providing each with access to additional markets.
Chrysler Brand Heritage Chronology.
The company was formed by Walter Percy Chrysler on June 6, 1925, with the remaining assets of Maxwell Motor Company.
Kansas-born Walter Chrysler, son of a locomotive engineer, was connected to the transportation industries throughout his life. His love of machinery prompted him to forsake a college education for a machinist's apprenticeship, and his early career comprised numerous mechanical jobs in the railroad industry.
In 1912, Chrysler joined General Motors as manager of its Buick manufacturing plant, becoming president of the Buick division four years later. After parting ways with GM in 1919, Chrysler began a second career as a "doctor of ailing automakers," strengthening first Willys-Overland, then the Maxwell Motor Corporation.
Chrysler teamed up with three ex-Studebaker engineers, Fred Zeder, Owen Skelton and Carl Breer, to design a revolutionary new car. They defined what the products of the Chrysler brand would be - affordable "luxury" vehicles known for innovative, top-flight engineering.
The first was the 1924 Chrysler Six, an all-new car priced at $1,565 that featured two significant innovations - a light, powerful, high-compression six-cylinder engine and the first use of four-wheel hydraulic brakes in a moderately priced vehicle. The well-equipped Chrysler Six also featured aluminum pistons, replaceable oil and air filters, full-pressure lubrication, tubular front axles, shock absorbers and indirect interior lighting.
After securing a $5,000,000 loan to start production, Chrysler sold over 32,000 units of the Chrysler Six in its first year. The Maxwell company soon had a new name: Chrysler Corporation. In 1925, the firm boasted more than 3,800 dealers, sold over 100,000 cars and ranked fifth in the industry.
Some of Chrysler's early high-performance, high-style cars startled industry observers and customers alike, but mid-range pricing added value and assured the success of the brand. Model numbers told customers how fast each Chrysler would go; the Chrysler 72, for example, featured an optional "Red-Head" engine for better pickup and hill climbing.
Chryslers would also perform commendably in other period racing venues, winning the 1925 1,000-mile Stock Car Speed Trial at Los Angeles and placing second, third and sixth at the Belgian Twenty-Four Hour Grand Prix of 1928. They also did well in endurance competition, completing a 1926 Kansas City-Denver test at an average speed of 51.8 mph and a 1927 New York-Los Angeles round-trip speed run at an average speed of 40.2 mph.
The 1928 acquisition of Dodge Brothers made Chrysler the third of Detroit's Big Three automakers, and Walter Chrysler one of the most successful industrialists of his generation.
Within a decade of its founding, Chrysler Corporation's leadership in innovation had earned for it the label of Detroit's "engineering company." Chrysler's list of early automotive "firsts" included Floating Power (a new method of mounting engines to isolate vibration), replaceable oil filters, downdraft carburetors and one-piece curved windshields.
Chrysler entered a higher level of competition with its richly appointed Imperial series. With a custom-built body from LeBaron or Briggs, a 145-inch-wheelbase chassis, a 125-horsepower engine and a price tag of $3,145, a typical Imperial of the early 1930s rivaled a Duesenberg in style, but cost only about a third as much!
In 1934, Chrysler, with advice from Orville Wright, built a wind tunnel to test body shapes that led to the first unit-body, aerodynamic car, the Airflow. The idea came from Carl Breer after he tested conventional car shapes in a wind tunnel and found they registered much less drag "tail first."
Chrysler's Airflow "streamliner" was dramatic and ahead of its time, the fluid design and pioneering unit-body construction offered improved handing and passenger comfort in a vehicle unlike any seen before.
The Chrysler Airflow also featured recessed headlights, a low step-up height, a standard in-line eight-cylinder engine, automatic overdrive and good gas mileage (posting 21.4 miles per gallon on a coast-to-coast test trip). Unfortunately for Chrysler, the Airflow was a bit too different for most. Even though its design was soon widely copied, this first truly streamlined car was not a sales success.
Less-than-spectacular sales led to stronger promotion of cars like the $925 DeLuxe Eight over the slow-selling, $1,400 Airflow, and to more conservative Chrysler styling.
A new brand-defining model appeared: the New York Special, soon recast as the richly appointed Chrysler New Yorker. Its longstanding popularity would eventually make it America's longest-running automobile nameplate (1938-1996).
"Fluid Drive" became known as another of Chrysler's significant engineering innovations, it was an "almost automatic" transmission that virtually eliminated shifting. Others included Superfinish to reduce wear on contacting metal surfaces and Oilite self-lubricating bearings.
Gaining widespread notice in 1940, the Chrysler Thunderbolt show car was a huge two-seater with a retractable steel roof and streamlined cladding front to rear. Chrysler turned even more heads on Memorial Day that year when its exotic Newport Phaeton, one of only five built by LeBaron, served as pace car at the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
The most striking production-model Chrysler of the prewar years was the 1941-42 Town & Country, a "barrelback" sedan expanded into an aerodynamic station wagon and trimmed with ash-and-mahogany side panels, the company's elegant entry into autobuilding's "woody" era.
All civilian car production stopped for the duration of World War II. Chrysler was eighth among all manufacturers in producing materials for the war effort.
When peacetime returned, Chrysler and other automakers rushed back into production with new cars retaining many of the solid, reassuring features of the prewar models, such as the ash-and-mahogany trim of the new 1946 Chrysler Town & Country sedans and convertibles that succeed the pre-war T&C station wagons.
While many customers, especially Hollywood stars, loved those postwar "woodies," many others were ready for a change, not just from the style of Town & Country, but from all "high-and-wide" models that harkened back to prewar styles. But Chrysler stood steadfastly by its tall, stolid cars. Through the early '50s, it built "comforting" large cars; when Chryslers did eventually get a bit longer and lower, styling visibly trailed most rivals in the market.
The first indication of changing times at Chrysler came with the 1951 development, and enthusiastic reception, of the authoritative, hemispheric-head V-8 engine. The soon-to-be legendary HEMI combined better combustion, higher compression and lower heat loss to create much more horsepower than previous V-8s. Close behind was the fully automatic Powerflite transmission.
Chrysler then reaffirmed its engineering reputation by commissioning a revolutionary gas turbine engine program. This 20-year campaign to apply an aircraft engine turbine's smooth power and low maintenance requirements to automobiles became part of the Chrysler brand's folklore.
In 1949, Chrysler hired Studebaker designer Virgil Exner to head an advanced styling section, a first step toward realigning the company's design priorities. Exner enlisted the aid of Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Ghia to began building a remarkable series of so-called "idea cars," like the 1951 Chrysler K-310 five-passenger sport coupe, the 1952 C-200, which featured the "gunsight" taillight design later used on Imperials, and the 1953 Chrysler D'Elegance, a three-passenger sport coupe with hand-sewn, black-and-yellow leather upholstery and matching luggage.
The most extraordinary car in this series was the Chrysler Norseman, featuring cantilevered arches to support a roof without "A" pillars, all-aluminum body panels and a power-operated, 12-square-foot panel of glass that slid forward to expose the rear seat to the sky. Shipped to America by Ghia, the Norseman sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on the ill-fated Italian steamship Andrea Doria.
Exner revived Chrysler production car design with the sleek, sculptured Forward Look designs of 1955 that transformed the product line overnight. The Forward Look flagship was the 1955 Chrysler 300, a striking automobile that combined smooth styling with brawny HEMI power. The 300, arguably the first muscle car, became a legend on and off the race track and set records throughout the 1950s, including a 143-mph performance at Daytona Beach.
As the Fifties progressed, Chrysler products began to sprout distinctive tailfins, ostensibly to improve handling and stability above 70 miles per hour. The 1957 Chrysler brand standard-bearer, the 300C, was equipped with a standard 392-cubic-inch, 375-horsepower HEMI, two four-barrel carburetors, a high-output camshaft, Torsion-Aire suspension and the new Torqueflite transmission, making it the fastest, most powerful production car built in America that year and earning it the appellation "beautiful brute."
Throughout the postwar years, Chrysler engineering leadership paced new styling advances. The company's engineering "firsts" from that era include the first "safety cushion dashboard," the famous Chrysler push-button transmission (which became an icon of the '50s), power steering, torsion-bar suspension and the first practical alternator (introduced in 1960, it proved so successful it became standard equipment just one year later).
Chrysler entered the second phase of its gas turbine project, completing 50 smartly styled, Ghia-designed prototypes for testing by 200 customers. With its whooshing jet-aircraft sound, distinctive exterior and a space-age interior filled with a massive console, the Chrysler Turbine Car would not be confused with any other vehicle. But the realities of poor mileage [11.5 mpg] and high production costs brought the project to a quiet close.
Chrysler products evolved gracefully through '60s, fins disappeared, large cars became more refined, and ads for the 1963 New Yorker promised that there were "no junior editions to compromise your investment." The 1963 Chrysler 300-J maintained the brand's style-plus-speed image with standard leather interiors, heavy-duty torsion bars and Ram induction manifolds; a special-edition Pace Setter convertible version started the Indianapolis 500.
By 1965, Chrysler sales had increased 65 percent and the brand moved from 11th to ninth place in national rankings. Models ranged from the "affordable luxury" of the Newport line (with no fewer than 376 trim and color combinations), through the high-line New Yorker to the sporty 300 with its 440-cubic-inch V-8 engine.
Following a decade of considerable success, Chrysler made an ill-fated, $450 million investment in new large cars just before the 1973 oil embargo. Public demand quickly turned from traditional large cars to mid-size and smaller vehicles, forcing Chrysler and its competitors to make expensive changes to their product lineups.
One design highlight in Chrysler's rapidly evolving 1970s lineup was the Cordoba, a 115-inch-wheelbase coupe billed as "Chrysler's new small car." With its Jaguar-like front end, formal roofline and one-of-a-kind rectangular taillamps, it became one of the era's most memorable cars, along with the TV commercials featuring actor Ricardo Montalban extolling the virtues of its "rich Corinthian leather" interior. Cordobas sold better than all other Chrysler models combined, inspiring other new, "smaller" Chrysler designs, like the LeBaron Medallion coupe.
In 1980, Chrysler, deep in its greatest financial crisis, turned to the all-new K-Car for salvation. While some called it "the metal brick," in many ways the functional, compact, front-wheel-drive K-Car was just the right car for the times.
This automotive "back to basics" era peaked with the 1984 introduction of the minivan. Chrysler Corporation's most practical vehicle proved to be its most popular and eventually led to the revival of the Chrysler Town & Country nameplate on an upmarket version.
The design highlight for the Chrysler brand during this period was unquestionably the LeBaron convertible, which reintroduced the convertible to the American market and enjoyed a nine-year run as it brought style and excitement back to the brand.
In the late 1980s, new leadership at Chrysler, determined to return the brand to its roots of engineering and design excellence, decided to create an entirely new line of "Euro-Japanese-ethic" cars, and developed platform teams to get the job done quickly and affordably. The new product philosophy was reflected in the development of concept cars like the 1988 Portofino and the 1989 Millenium.
Chrysler's renaissance began in earnest with the mid-size 1993 Concorde sedan, which was quickly followed by the full-size LHS and Chrysler 300M, the smaller Cirrus sedan, the companion Sebring luxury sports coupe and the separate Sebring convertible, and the next-generation Town & Country minivan.
Since the DaimlerChrysler merger in 1998, still more outstanding Chrysler vehicles have been developed, including the new Chrysler 300C, the PT Cruiser and PT Cruiser convertible, the all-new Sebring sedan and Sebring convertible, the Pacifica crossover, the latest versions of the Town & Country minivan and the Crossfire sports car.
More than 80 years after the creation of the company, each of these vehicles continues to personify Walter P. Chrysler's original vision for the brand bearing his name: superb engineering, standout design and fun-to-drive performance, all at an affordable price.
Chrysler is sold to Cerberus.
- The New Chrysler is born.
- Chrysler unveils the all-new 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans at the North American International Auto Show.
- The Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes available for the first time in the U.S. with a 3.0-liter diesel engine.
- Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management-DaimlerChrysler AG, confirms that “all options are on the table” concerning the future of the company’s Chrysler business unit during the annual press conference in Auburn Hills, MI.
The same day, Chrysler unveils its Recovery and Transformation Plan designed to return the company to profitability by 2008; achieve a return on sales of 2.5 percent by 2009; and redesign the business to sustain long term success.
- The Dodge Demon concept is revealed at the International Motor Show in Geneva. The Dodge Demon – a B-segment roadster – is designed to be an affordable Dodge sports car that merges brand cues of bold design and powerful performance with an open-air “fun-to-drive” attitude.
- Nearly one million HEMI®-equipped vehicles with MDS technology are on the road, saving more than 60 million gallons of fuel each year.
- DaimlerChrysler AG enters into a definitive agreement to sell 80.1 percent of Chrysler and related financial services business to Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for $7.4 billion.
- Bob Nardelli is appointed Chrysler Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Tom LaSorda becomes Chrysler Vice Chairman and President.
- Jim Press joins the Company as Chrysler Vice Chairman and President, serving the position alongside Tom LaSorda.
- Chrysler LLC creates a group called ENVI that will develop electric-drive vehicles that support the vision of our Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands. Derived from the word “environment,”ENVI is a dedicated in-house organization charged with making Chrysler the leader in advanced-propulsion technologies.
- Chrysler hired the industry’s first Chief Customer Officer, Doug Betts, to help lead efforts to better define, measure and improve quality.
- In the area of productivity, the recent Harbour Report showed that Chrysler equaled Toyota as the most productive auto manufacturer in North America.
- Designed from the ground up, the Dodge Journey is a right-sized crossover that combines the versatility of a larger sport-utility vehicle with the efficiency of a passenger car and offers class-leading 25 miles per gallon highway
- Nearly 40 years after the debut of the original, Dodge has brought the Challenger back. The Dodge Challenger, a modern muscle car, comes with a fuel-efficient V-6 option and an aggressive entry-level price.
- The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram crew cab will be able to compete in the crew cab segment for the first time, which represents half of the truck market.
- Mopar® Launches Industry-first – uconnect web bringing wireless Internet connectivity to Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge consumers. The uconnect family of technologies provides consumers with phone, GPS, music, video and Web connectivity.
- Since the Dodge Grand Caravan’s birth 25 years ago, 65 minivan-firsts have led to more than 12 million Chrysler and Dodge minivans sold throughout the world, solidifying Chrysler’s leadership in the segment.
- Chrysler launched its first hybrids, the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango. Both deliver a 25 percent overall improvement in fuel economy without sacrificing performance or the towing capabilities our customers need and expect.
- Chrysler introduced three advanced electric-drive vehicle prototypes: the Dodge EV, Jeep EV and Chrysler EV. One is targeted to be produced in 2010 for consumers in North American markets, and in European markets after 2010.
On June 10, Chrysler Group LLC prepares to begin operations, the new company formed in alliance with Fiat announced an organizational restructuring to focus on the Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge and Mopar® brands. The new leaner, flatter structure is intended to restore brand promise and dealer confidence. All appointments are effective immediately.
- Chrysler received a $4 billion loan from the U.S. Treasury Department to help bridge the economic crisis impacting the auto industry.
- Chrysler recorded the industry's lowest number of recalls in 2008 as reported by NHTSA -- a total of 360,000, down from 2.2 million in 2007. Additionally, internal warranty data show that Chrysler has achieved the lowest warranty claim rate in its history, with a 30 percent improvement in the last 12 months.
- Chrysler unveils the 200C EV range–extended (ReEV) electric vehicle at the North American International Auto Show, totaling five vehicles from ENVI (Dodge Circuit, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler Town & Country prototypes and the 200C EV concept).
- Fiat SpA., Chrysler LLC and Cerberus Capital Management announce non-binding term sheet agreement to establish a global strategic alliance.
- Chrysler unveils all-new 2010 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty at the Chicago Auto Show.
- Chrysler LLC signed an agreement with A123Systems, a U.S.-based battery supplier, for advanced Lithium ion batteries and jointly developed battery modules and battery packs for Chrysler’s Range-extended Electric Vehicle and battery-only Electric Vehicle production programs.
- Chrysler LLC introduced the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee at the New York International Auto Show.
- Daimler announced an agreement on its separation from Chrysler LLC, relinquishing its remaining 19.9% shareholding in the company and agreeing to pay as much as $600 million into the auto maker's pension fund.
- Chrysler LLC reached an agreement in principle to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat SpA to form a vibrant new company. On the same day, under the direction of the U.S. Treasury, Chrysler LLC and 24 of its wholly owned U.S. subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Additionally, Chrysler filed a motion under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code requesting the swift approval by the Court of the agreement with Fiat and the sale of Chrysler’s principal assets to the new company.
- Bob Nardelli, Chairman and CEO, announced his plan to leave the company following the emergence of the new company from Chapter 11 and the completion of the alliance with Fiat.
- Tom LaSorda, Vice Chairman and President, announced his retirement after nearly nine years with the company.
- Edmunds' Inside Line Names All-new 2009 Dodge Ram Best Full-size Pickup Truck in Punishing Head-to-Head Competition.
- Chrysler LLC signed a financial services agreement with GMAC Financial Services to provide the automotive financing products and services to the Company’s dealers and customers.
- Two Chrysler LLC vehicles are named on AutoPacific’s survey of the most highly recommended vehicles. According to the survey, owners of the Dodge Nitro and the Jeep® Wrangler enjoyed their vehicles enough that they would recommend them to a friend or relative.
- Owners of the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram and the Jeep® Liberty gave top ratings to both vehicles in AutoPacific’s 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram won the Large Pickup Truck category, beating the new 2009 Ford F-150, while the Jeep Liberty placed at the top of the Mid-Size Sport-Utility Vehicle (SUV) category.
- C. Robert Kidder is named Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chrysler Group LLC.
- The U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, approved Chrysler LLC’s request to sell substantially all of its operations to Chrysler Group LLC, the new company formed in alliance with Fiat SpA.
- Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat Group finalized their previously announced global strategic alliance, forming a “new" Chrysler that has the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete effectively on a global scale.
- Chrysler Group LLC announced an organizational restructuring to focus on the Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge and Mopar® brands. The new leaner, flatter structure is intended to restore brand promise and dealer confidence.
- Strategic Vision’s 2009 Total Quality Index™ ranked the Dodge Ram 1500 “Top of its Class” with highest score of any truck in the 15-year history of the study.
- Chrysler Group LLC completed its nine-member Board of Directors. Joining Kidder on the board: Alfredo Altavilla, CEO of Fiat Powertrain Technologies; James Blanchard, former U.S. Congressman and Governor of Michigan; George F.J. Gosbee, Chairman, CEO and President of Tristone Capital Inc.; Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler Group LLC and CEO of Fiat S.p.A; Douglas Steenland, former CEO of Northwest Airlines; Scott Stuart, a founding partner of Sageview Capital LLC; Ronald L. Thompson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA); and Stephen Wolf, Chairman of R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.
- CEO Sergio Marchionne was named the Industry Leader of the Year and Europe CEO All-Star by Automotive News.
- The 2010 Chrysler Sebring and 2010 Dodge Avenger (equipped with ESC) earned the 2009 Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
- The 2010 Dodge Journey earned the 2009 Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS.
- Chrysler Group LLC became the first automaker to provide digital owners’ manuals for its complete lineup of 2010 model-year vehicles.
- Chrysler Group LLC was named one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” by Working Mother magazine. This was the 12th time Chrysler Group achieved this prestigious benchmark.
- Chrysler Group LLC creates Ram Truck vehicle brand – joining the Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep® vehicle brands. The new brand focuses on North American truck and commercial vehicle customers.
- The 2010 Ram 3500 was named "Heavy Duty Pickup Truck of Texas" and the 2010 Dodge Dakota was named “Mid-size Truck of Texas” at the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Annual Texas Truck Rodeo.
- TAWA named the 2010 Jeep® Patriot “Compact SUV of Texas.”
- Chrysler Group LLC was named "Corporation of the Year" by the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC).
- Chrysler Group LLC became the first U.S. automaker to offer live mobile TV.
- Chrysler Group LLC presented its five year business plan outlining its brand and industrial strategies to rebuild Chrysler into a vibrant and competitive auto company.
- The 2010 Dodge Journey, the 2010 Chrysler Sebring (equipped with ESC), the 2010 Dodge Avenger (equipped with ESC) and the 2010 Jeep® Patriot (equipped with seat mounted air bag), were 2010 Top Safety Picks according to IIHS.
- The editors of Four Wheeler named the 2010 Ram 2500 Power Wagon pickup their “2010 Pickup Truck of the Year.”
- The editors of Motor Trend named the 2010 Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty pickups their “2010 Truck of the Year.”
- Chrysler Group LLC announced a $179 million investment to launch production of an advanced technology, fuel-efficient engine for the North American market, to be built at the Company’s Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Michigan.
- Four Wheeler editors named the Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon and Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon the Best 4x4 Vehicle of the Decade. The editors also called the four-door Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon the decade’s most significant 4x4 vehicle.
- Chrysler Group LLC opened dedicated brand-specific toll-free customer-care phone numbers in the U.S. for Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge and Ram Truck brands.
- The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country was named “Automotive Loyalty Award — Minivan” for the ninth year in a row at the 14th Annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards.
- Chrysler Group LLC received the Diversity Leadership Award at the 14th Annual Urban Wheels Awards for its historic commitment to workplace diversity, small and minority-owned business development and to diverse communities, even in challenging times.
- The 2010 Jeep® Wrangler earned the “Best New Car for Off-Roaders” Lifestyle Award from Cars.com.
- The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country was selected as The Detroit News Readers’ Choice “Best Family Hauler” at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.
- The 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 was selected as The Detroit News Readers’ Choice award for “Best Curves” at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.
- Chrysler Group LLC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), reached a milestone in the Low-speed Vehicle (LSV) industry by selling more than 40,000 GEM battery-electric vehicles.
- Chrysler Group LLC announced that the Company’s 2009 Environmental Leadership Award program led to reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) output of approximately 370,000 tons – equaling approximately the annual CO2 output of four large manufacturing plants or 71,000 automobiles operating on the road. The projects also resulted in savings of more than $50 million annually for the Company.
- Following the earthquake in Haiti, The Chrysler Foundation donated $50,000 each to Oxfam and UNICEF to support relief efforts. The Chrysler Brand donated a Chrysler 300 “Haiti” to Stars For A Cause to auction. Autographed by hundreds of celebrities, the 300 “Haiti” raised $100,000 for the American Red Cross relief efforts.
- MotorWeek announced that the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 Trucks won its 2010 Drivers' Choice Award for Best Pickup Truck. This was the second year in a row that MotorWeek chose Ram Trucks for the award.
- The Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Journey were awarded Bark Buckle UP’s 2010 Pet Safe Choice Awards at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show.
- Chrysler Group LLC appointed Laura J. Soave to serve as the Head of the Fiat Brand for North America and to lead the reintroduction of the Fiat 500.
- The 2010 Ram 1500 received the New England Motor Press Association’s (NEMPA) 2010 Winter Vehicle Award -- Best-In-Class Pickup for the second year in a row.
- Chrysler Group LLC celebrated the launch of its 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine at the all-new Trenton (Mich.) South Engine Plant (TSEP).
- Chrysler Group LLC announced that the TSEP was awarded a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Green Building System certification for meeting the highest environmental standards. TSEP was one of only four auto manufacturing facilities to receive a LEED rating of any kind and the only engine manufacturing facility in the world to achieve the honor.
- Chrysler Group LLC announced it would develop a new Fiat 500 electric vehicle for the U.S.
January 2011. The ownership interests of Chrysler Group’s members are now;
• UAW VEBA: 63.5 percent
• Fiat: 25.0 percent
• U.S. Treasury: 9.2 percent
• Canadian Governments: 2.3 percent
In 1963, the company had switched over to a star design which became known as the Pentastar and was extensively used on dealer signage, advertisements, and promotional brochures. Contrary to popular belief, it was not designed to symbolize the five divisions of the corporation at the time, Plymouth, Dodge, De Soto, Chrysler, and Imperial. By 1963 there were two car divisions in the United States, Chrysler-Plymouth and Dodge. As well there were over a dozen other divisions in the Chrysler Corporation family and management were after a symbol that all divisions could use.
Then Chrysler head, Lynn Townsend, was looking for a symbol that could be used by all divisions, on packaging, stationery, signage, advertising, etc. He wanted something that would be universally recognizable as "Chrysler" to anyone who saw it, from any perspective, from any culture. Chrysler's trademark symbol, the pentastar, was simple and easily recognizable from any perspective, even in motion on revolving signs. The symbol also facilitated Chrysler's expansion in the international market by removing the need to translate any text that is commonly used on logos.
Thus all divisions of Chrysler adopted the Pentastar. All car brands (Valiant, Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Imperial, Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam, Singer, Simca), truck brands (Fargo, DeSoto, Dodge, Commer, Karrier), and all the other Chrysler divisions (air conditioning systems, heating, industrial engines, marine engines, outboard motors, boats, transmissions, four wheel drive systems, powdered metal products, adhesives, chemical products, plastics, electronics, tanks, missiles) and services (leasing and finance) were identified by the Pentastar. It united the firm's various products and services in the public's eye as no other auto firm has done.
The Pentastar appeared consistently but inconspicuously on the lower passenger-side fender of all Chrysler products, including foreign brands, until the early 1980s. At that point it was adapted to appear in such forms as trunk emblems and hood ornaments, replacing other designs that had been used by Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler and had in some cases identfied individual models, such as the Chrysler New Yorker. It was placed on the passenger-side fender so it could be viewed by passers-by, a subtle method of getting the symbol ingrained in the public's mind. A nameplate has to be read, but a symbol is recognizable even to the illiterate. Thus North American and French cars had the Pentastar on the right fender and British on the left.
By 1993, Chrysler started to phase out the Pentastar, with Dodge getting its own "Ram" logo, and by 1995, Chrysler got a ribbon symbol and Plymouth got a sailboat logo. The Pentastar's last badging appearance was on the steering wheel and keys of the Chrysler minivans produced from 1996 through 2000.
Currently the only remaining traces of this motif are a large, star-shaped window at DaimlerChrysler's American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and Pentastar Aviation, a former DaimlerChrysler subsidiary which reverted to its original name after being purchased, ironically, by a member of the Ford family. It is also likely that many dealerships still have signage and other traces still visually apparent to the Pentastar. Today, glass on Chrysler Group cars and trucks still have the Pentastar on them, however, its days appear to be numbered.
In 1928 Chrysler founded the Plymouth brand at the low end, the DeSoto brand at the low-medium end and purchased the Dodge Brothers automobile company; all of this was in order 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. Well before then, though, Chrysler Corporation had become noted both for its engineering features and its periodic financial crises. By the end of the 1930s, the DeSoto and Dodge divisions would flip-flop spots in the corporate pecking order making the lineup Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler, and Imperial.
In the 1930s, the company introduced the Chrysler Airflow, featuring an advanced streamlined body which was among the first to be designed according to scientific aerodynamic principles. Chrysler also created the industry's first wind tunnel to develop them. Unfortunately, it was not well accepted by the public, and it was the humble Dodge and Plymouth divisions, which had not been given an Airflow model, which pulled the firm through the Depression years with its conventional but quite popular bodystyles. It was during this decade that the company created a formal parts division under the Mopar (Motor Parts) brand, with the result that Chrysler products are still often called Mopars.
The unsuccessful Airflow had a chilling effect on Chrysler styling and marketing, which remained determinedly unadventurous through the 1940s and into the 1950s, with the single exception of the installation of hidden headlights on the very brief production run of the 1942 DeSotos. Engineering advances continued however, and in 1951 the firm introduced the first of a long and famous series of Hemi V8s. In 1955, things brightened after the questionable designs of the 1953 and 1954 Chryslers with the introduction of Virgil Exner's successful Forward Look style. With these cars, Chrysler seized the industry's design leadership and produced several genuine classics, most notably the 1956 Plymouth Fury and the 1957 Chrysler 300C. With the inauguration of the second generation Forward Look cars for 1957, Torshion-Aire was introduced. This was not air suspension, but an indirect-acting-torsion-spring suspension system which drastically reduced unsprung weight and shifted the car's center of gravity downward and rearward, resulting in both a smoother ride and significantly improved handling. However, a rush to production led to quality-control problems (mostly related to body fitment and rust), and coupled with a national recession, soon the company was once again in financial recovery mode.
As the 1960s opened, the firm made both good and bad moves. In 1960, Chrysler introduced unibody construction in its cars, the first to offer it of the Big Three, across the board, excepting the Imperial. This gave the body more rigidity and less rattles and would soon become an industry standard. Its new compact line, the Valiant, opened strong and continued to gain market share for well over a decade. Valiant was introduced as a division of its own but would become adopted by Plymouth in 1961. Alternators would replace generators in the 1960 Valiant and then all of the 1961 models as standard equipment, an industry first. The DeSoto marque was axed after the introduction of the 1961 models due in part to the broad array of the Dodge lines being marketed. Plymouth would also suffer in the long run for Dodge creeping into Plymouth's price range. An ill-advised downsizing of the full-size Dodge and Plymouth lines in 1962 hurt sales and profitability for several years.
In April 1964, the Plymouth Barracuda, which was technically a Valiant sub-series, was introduced. The huge glass rear window gave the impression of a hatchback with its "love-it-or-hate-it" styling. Beating the Ford Mustang to the market by almost two weeks, it could be argued that the Barracuda was really the first pony car. However, unlike the Mustang, it did not rob sales of other division's models. In spite of better build quality than the Mustang, the Mustang still outsold the Barracuda 10-to-1 between April 1964 and August 1965.
In 1966, Chrysler expanded into Europe, by taking over the British Rootes Group, and Simca of France to form Chrysler Europe. The former purchase unfortunately turned out to be a major mistake for the company, inheriting a major industrial relations problem which afflicted the British motor industry at the time, coupled to the archaic factories and outdated product range that Rootes manufactured. Chrysler retired all of the Rootes marques in favor of the Chrysler name. The Simca division was more successful, but in the end the various problems were overwhelming and the firm gained little from these ventures.
More successfully, at this same time the company helped create the muscle car market in the U.S., first by producing a street version of its Hemi racing engine and then by introducing a legendary string of affordable but high-performance vehicles such as the Plymouth GTX, Plymouth Road Runner, and Dodge Charger. The racing success of several of these models on the NASCAR circuit burnished the company's reputation for engineering.
The 1970s brought both success and crisis. The aging but stalwart compacts saw a rush of sales as demand for smaller cars crested after the first gas crisis of 1973. However, an expensive investment in an all-new full-size lineup went largely to waste as the new 1974 vehicles appeared almost precisely as gasoline prices reached a peak and large-car sales collapsed; that same year marked the end of Barracuda production - 10 years to the day. At mid-decade, the company scored a conspicuous success with its first entry in the personal luxury car market, the Chrysler Cordoba. However, the introduction of the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare twins in 1976 did not repeat the success of the discontinued Valiant/Dodge Dart line, and the company had delayed in producing an entry in the now all-important subcompact market. Problems were mutliplying abroad as well, as Chrysler Europe essentially collapsed in 1977. It was offloaded to Peugeot the following year, ironically just after having helped design the new Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni, on which the increasingly-desperate company was pinning its hopes. Shortly thereafter, Chrysler Australia, which was now producing a rebadged Japanese Mitsubishi Galant, was sold to Mitsubishi Motors. The subcompact Horizon was just beginning to reach the U.S. market when the second gas crisis struck, devastating sales of Chrysler's larger cars and trucks, and the company now had no strong compact line to fall back on.
In desperation, the Chrysler Corporation on September 7, 1979 petitioned the United States government for US$1 billion in loan guarantees to avoid bankruptcy. At the same time, Lee Iacocca, a former Ford executive, was brought in to take the position of CEO, and proved a capable public spokesman for the firm. A somewhat reluctant Congress authorized the guarantees, prodded by Chrysler workers and dealers in every congressional district who feared the loss of their livelihoods. With such help and a few innovative cars (such as the K-car platform), especially the invention of the minivan concept, a market where Chrysler brands are still important, Chrysler avoided bankruptcy and slowly fought its way back up. By the early 1980s, the loans were being repaid at a brisk pace and new models based on the K-car platform were selling well. A joint venture with Mitsubishi called Diamond Star Motors strengthened the company's hand in the small-car market. The acquisition of AMC by Chrysler in 1987, mostly for its Jeep brand, bolstered the firm further, although Chrysler was still the weakest of the Big Three American auto makers.
In the early 1990s, Chrysler made its first tentative steps back into Europe, setting up car production in Austria, and beginning right-hand drive manufacture of certain Jeep models in a 1993 return to the UK market. The continuing popularity of Jeep, bold new models for the domestic market such as the Dodge Ram pickup, Dodge Viper sports car, and Plymouth Prowler hot rod, and new "cab forward" front wheel drive sedans put the company in a strong position as the decade waned.
The original Chrysler logo, which vanished after 1954 from all but 1955-1956 Windsors, C300s, and 300Bs with manual transmissions*, and reappeared in 1994, is a rendition of a wax seal complete with ribbon affixed at the lower right. The thunderbolts above and below the name are actually "Z"s, a tribute to the prototype built before Chrysler took over Maxwell, which took the name "Zeder" from chief engineer Fred Zeder. (At the time, Chrysler was trying to keep development of the new car and his involvement in it a secret, probably still upset about the loss of the car that was supposed to be the first Chrysler. This car design was sold to Billy Durant as a liquidated asset in the Willys-Overland bankruptcy; Durant eventually built this car under the Flint name.)
From 1955 to the early 1980s, various stylized coats of arms appeared as Chrysler logos, none of which are believed to be the Chrysler (originally Kreussler) family crest. Lions also turned up in Chrysler emblems from 1955-1961, during which time Chrysler engines bore names such as "Golden Lion 413". Crowns are another recurring theme, fitting for a make with model names such as Royal, Windsor and Imperial.
* The stick cars kept the 1953-1954 steering column as well as the gearshift.
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