May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on January 29, 2019

Chrysler LogoBrief History About Chrysler

Chrysler was founded in 1925 in the USA by Walter Chrysler. It is now part of the FCA group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).

Walter setup Chrysler to offer a well priced, advanced well engineered car, with many features that even today’s cars take for granted. By 1928 Chrysler decided to create several separate divisions to a vary the brand, so Plymouth was created, followed by Desoto and Dodge. In 1930 several other division appeared, such as Mopar (parts). Chrysler was an early pioneer in many automotive innovation ideas and in the 1930’s introduced the replaceable oil filter, anti-vibrating engine mounts and curved windscreens. This innovation continued throughout much of Chryslers history.

In 1951 they built their famous V8 Hemi engine and had much success in all types of racing. In 1957 they offered the first electronic fuel injection (EFI) for a production car, although there were a number of teething issues/problems.

During the 60’s and 70’s Chrysler built a wide variety of cars and was part of the big 3 American automakers, which included General Motors Corporation and Ford Motor Company. They also released the Plymouth Barracuda in early 1964 and therefore is credited as producing the first pony car. Also during the 60’s they moved into Europe and acquired several automotive companies. And of course they added their far share to the muscle car wars with the Plymouth GTX, Plymouth Road Runner, Dodge Dart, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and especially so with theire Hemi engined cars. However when the oil crisis of 1973 came along, they struggle as an automaker and had to sell many of their overseas concerns.

In 1978 Lee Iacocca joined the company as CEO and actively restructured and slim lined the business, but then needed to borrow money from the government in 1979 to avoid bankruptcy. Into the 80’s and smaller cars were the order of the day and minivans were a popular choice.

In 1987 they bought Renault out of their 47% share in AMC (American Motors Corporation), which gave them the Jeep and Eagle brands. They also bought Lamborghini that year, then resold it in 1994.

During the 90’s Chrysler moved back into Europe and in 1998 Chrysler became part of Daimler-Benz AG creating DaimlerChrysler AG. The Plymouth brand was discontinued in 2001. In 2007 Daimler sold 80% of Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management creating Chrysler LLC. More financial trouble hit in late 2008 and in 2009 the company needed more money to stay afloat, so approached the US and Canadian governments for a $8 billion loan, which due to company management changes, sale of assets, Fiat taking 58% of the company and some increase in sales, it was paid back by 2011. Fiat then bought any shares that the United States Treasury had and again in 2014 Fiat bought more shares creating the FCA group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).

Chrysler Crossfire
Crossfire 2003-2008

Chrysler 300C SRT8
300C SRT8 2005 on

Chrysler Viper SRT
Viper SRT 2013-2017

(See Dodge for Viper RT/SRT and Plymouth for Prowler)