Chrysler LLC is an American automobile manufacturer that has manufactured automobiles since 1925. From 1998 to 2007, Chrysler and its subsidiaries were part of the German based DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler AG). Prior to 1998, Chrysler Corporation traded under the "C" symbol on the NYSE. Under DaimlerChrysler, the company was named "DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC", with its U.S. operations generally referred to as the "Chrysler Group".
On May 14, 2007 DaimlerChrysler AG announced the sale of 80.1% of Chrysler Group to American private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., although Daimler continues to hold a 19.9% stake. This was when the company took on its current name. The deal was finalized on August 3, 2007. On August 6, 2007, after the announcement of the spin-off to Cerberus, the Chrysler LLC, or "The New Chrysler", unveiled a new company logo and launched its new website with a variation of the previously used Pentastar logo. Robert Nardelli also became Chairman and CEO of Chrysler under the ownership of Cerberus.
On October 23, 2008, Daimler announced that its stake in Chrysler had a book value of zero dollars after write offs and charges. Cerberus has since accused Daimler of providing misleading information during the 2007 sale negotiations.
Amid the 2008 automobile crisis, Chrysler announced in December 2008 that it was almost out of cash, and might not survive past 2009. After the defeat of the auto bailout in the Senate, Chrysler stated that they would most likely file for bankruptcy and shut down all operations permanently. On December 17, 2008, Chrysler announced that it would close all of its North American plants on December 19 for at least a month or longer. That same day, President Bush announced a $13.4 billion rescue loan for the American automakers, including Chrysler.
Founding and early years
The company was founded by Walter P. Chrysler on June 6, 1925, when the Maxwell Motor Company was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation.
Walter Chrysler had originally arrived at the ailing Maxwell-Chalmers company in the early 1920s, having been hired to take over and overhaul the company's troubled operations (just after having done a similar rescue job at the Willys car company).
In late 1923 production of the Chalmers automobile was ended.
Then 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 back to a prototype which had been under development at Willys at the time that Walter Chrysler was there).
The Maxwell was then dropped after its 1925 model year run, although in truth the new line of lower-priced 4-cylinder Chryslers which were then introduced for 1926 were basically Maxwells which had been re-engineered and rebranded.
It was during this period that Walter Chrysler assumed the presidency of the company, with the company then ultimately incorporated under the Chrysler name.
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. Among the innovations in its early years would be 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. The original 1924 Chrysler included a carburetor air filter, high compression engine, full pressure lubrication, and an oil filter, at a time when most autos came without these features.
Chrysler developed a road wheel with a ridged rim, designed to keep a deflated tire from flying off the wheel. This safety wheel was eventually adopted by the auto industry worldwide.
In 1928, Chrysler Corporation began dividing their vehicle offerings by price class and function. The Plymouth brand was introduced and aimed at the low-priced end of the market by re engineering and rebadging Chrysler's 4-cylinder models. At the same time, the DeSoto marque was introduced in the medium-price field. Shortly thereafter, Chrysler bought the Dodge Brothers automobile and truck company and launched the Fargo range of trucks. By the late 1930s, the DeSoto and Dodge divisions would trade places in the corporate hierarchy. This proliferation of marques under Chrysler's umbrella might have been inspired by the similar strategy employed successfully by General Motors. Beginning in 1955, Imperial, formerly the top model of the Chrysler brand, became a marque of its own, and in 1960, the Valiant was introduced likewise as a distinct marque. In the U.S. market, Valiant was made a model in the Plymouth line and the DeSoto make was discontinued for 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. After acquiring AMC in 1987, Chrysler fulfilled one of AMC's conditions of sale by creating the Eagle marque in 1988 to be sold at existing AMC-Jeep dealers. The Eagle brand lasted a decade, being discontinued in 1998, while Plymouth was ended three years later.
By 2001 and as of 2008, the company has three marques worldwide: Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler.
MoPar, Chryco, AutoPar
In the 1930s, the company created a formal vehicle parts division under the MoPar brand (a portmanteau of Motor Parts), with the result that "Mopar" remains a colloquial term for vehicles produced by Chrysler Corporation. The MoPar (later Mopar) brand was not used in Canada, where parts were sold under the Chryco and AutoPar brands, until the Mopar brand was phased into the Canadian market beginning in the late 1970s.
Many Chrysler Corporation vehicle parts also bore variants of the DPCD monogram, for Dodge-Plymouth-Chrysler-DeSoto, well after the 1961 end of DeSoto production.
Chrysler's Airtemp marque for stationary and mobile air conditioning, refrigeration, and climate control was launched with the first installation in 1930's Chrysler Building, though the Airtemp Corporation would not be incorporated until 1934, when it used a former Maxwell factory. Airtemp invented capacity regulators, sealed radial compressors, and the self-contained air conditioning system, along with a superior high-speed radial compressor, and by 1941 had over 500 dealers selling its air conditioning and heating systems. The company supplied medical refrigeration units in World War II, and dominated the industry in the 1940s but slowly fell behind. By the 1970s Airtemp was losing money, and was sold to Fedders in 1976.
In 1934 the company introduced the Airflow models, featuring an advanced streamlined body, among the first to be designed using aerodynamic principles. Chrysler created the industry's first wind tunnel to develop them. Buyers rejected its styling, and the more conventionally-designed Dodge and Plymouth cars pulled the firm through the Depression years. Plymouth was one of only a few marques that actually increased sales during the cash-strapped thirties.
The unsuccessful Airflow had a chilling effect on Chrysler styling and marketing, which remained determinedly conservative through the 1940s and into the 1950s, with the single exception of the installation of hidden headlights on the very brief production run of 1942 DeSotos. Engineering advances continued, and in 1951 the firm introduced the first of a long and famous series of Hemi V8s. In 1955 things brightened with the introduction of Virgil Exner's successful Forward Look designs. With the inauguration of the second generation Forward Look cars for 1957, Torsion-Aire suspension was introduced. This was not air suspension, but an indirect-acting, torsion-spring front suspension system which drastically reduced unsprung weight and shifted the car's center of gravity downward and rearward. This resulted in both a smoother ride and significantly improved handling. A rush to production of the 1957 models led to quality control problems including poor body fit and finish, resulting in significant and early rusting. This, coupled with a national recession, found the company again in recovery mode.
Starting in the 1960 model year, Chrysler built all their passenger cars with Unibody (unit-body or monocoque) construction, except the Imperials which retained body-on-frame construction until 1967. Chrysler thus became the only one of the Big Three American automakers (General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler) to offer unibody construction on the vast majority of their product lines. This construction technique, now the worldwide standard, offers advantages in vehicle rigidity, handling, and crash safety, while reducing squeak and rattle development as the vehicle ages. Chrysler's new compact line, the Valiant, opened strong and continued to gain market share for over a decade. Valiant was introduced as a marque of its own, but the Valiant line was placed under the Plymouth marque for US-market sales in 1961. The 1960 Valiant was the first production automobile with an alternator (generating alternating current, paired with diodes for rectification back to direct current) rather than a direct current electrical generator as standard equipment. It proved such an improvement that it was used in all Chrysler products in 1961. The DeSoto marque was withdrawn from the market after the introduction of the 1961 models due in part to the broad array of the Dodge lines and the general neglect of the division. The same affliction plagued Plymouth as it also suffered when Dodge crept into Plymouth's price range. This would eventually lead to the demise of Plymouth several decades later. 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 a Valiant sub-model, was introduced. The huge glass rear window and sloping roof were polarizing styling features. Barracuda was released almost two weeks before Ford's Mustang, and so the Barracuda was chronologically the first pony car. Unlike the Mustang, Barracuda didn't do as well in sales as other division's models. Even so the Mustang still outsold the Barracuda 10-to-1 between April 1964 and August 1965.
Expansion into Europe
In the 1960s Chrysler expanded into Europe, attaining a majority interest in the British Rootes Group in 1964, Simca of France and Barreiros of Spain, to form Chrysler Europe. For the Rootes Group one outcome of this take over was the launch of the Hillman Avenger in 1970 (briefly sold in the U.S. as the Plymouth Cricket), which sold in Britain alongside the rear-engined Imp and the Hunter. During the 1970s the former Rootes Group got into severe financial difficulties. The Simca and Barreiros divisions were more successful, but in the end the various problems were overwhelming and the firm gained little from these ventures. Chrysler sold these assets to PSA Peugeot Citroën in 1978, which in turn sold the British and Spanish truck production lines to Renault of France .
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 engineering reputation.
The 1970s brought both success and crisis. The 1973 oil crisis coincided with new EPA emission standards, which presented major challenges to the Big Three car makers. The muscle cars of the 60s had been developed without much regard for economy or emissions, but now all automobile manufacturers had to develop smaller, lighter engines that ran much cleaner and still produced enough power to move large automobiles. The Japanese were much quicker to develop new-generation engines, and were aided by the fact that their cars were generally much lighter than their American competitors. Chrysler bought a 15% stake of Japan's Mitsubishi Motors in 1971 and began selling rebadged Mitsubishi models in the United States.[citations needed]
Ford, GM, and Chrysler were all guilty of failing to design for the future and had much longer development times than the Japanese. In the early 70s they had no choice but to retrofit and detune their legacy engines to meet emission requirements, which resulted in poor fuel economy just when fuel prices were rising. There was a rush of sales for the aging but stalwart compacts, but sales for full-size cars were dismal. After participating in the excitement of the muscle-car days, Chrysler presented body styles that were uninspired, with lethargic performance and poor fuel economy. 1974 would also mark the end of the Barracuda (and the similar Dodge Challenger) after the redesigned ponycars introduced for 1970 had failed to attract buyers in the shrinking market segment.[citations needed]
Chrysler's manufacturing costs were significantly higher than any other major car company's. Some of their factories dated back to Maxwell days; one required a car being assembled to be elevatored to the second floor.[citations needed]
At mid-decade, the company scored a conspicuous success with its first entry in the personal luxury car market, the Chrysler Cordoba. 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 a domestic entry in the now-important subcompact market. Chrysler Europe essentially collapsed in 1977, and was offloaded to Peugeot the following year, ironically just after having helped design the new Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni, on which the 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 reaching the US market as the second gas crisis struck, devastating sales of Chrysler's larger cars and trucks, and the company had no strong compact line to fall back on. Later the Horizon was produced and developed in Finland and marketed in Scandinavia as Talbot Horizon. After the Peugeot bought Talbot and the new version of Horizon was named as Peugeot 309.[citations needed]
Government loan guarantees
On September 7, 1979, The Chrysler Corporation petitioned the United States government for US$1.5 billion in loan guarantees to avoid bankruptcy. At the same time former Ford executive Lee Iacocca was brought in as CEO. He proved to be a capable public spokesman, appearing in advertisements to advise customers that "If you find a better car, buy it." He would also provide a rallying point for Japan-bashing and instilling pride in American products. His book Talking Straight was a response to Akio Morita's Made in Japan.
The United States Congress reluctantly passed the "Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979" (Public Law 96-185) on December 20, 1979 (signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on January 7, 1980), prodded by Chrysler workers and dealers in every congressional district who feared the loss of their livelihoods. The military then bought thousands of Dodge pickup trucks which entered military service as the Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle M-880 Series. With such help and a few innovative cars (such as the K-car platform), especially the invention of the minivan concept, Chrysler avoided bankruptcy and slowly recovered.
In February 1982 Chrysler announced the sale of Chrysler Defense, its profitable defense subsidiary to General Dynamics for US$348.5 million. The sale was completed in March 1982 for the revised figure of US$336.1 million.
By the early 1980s, the loans were paid off (1983) 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. Chrysler acquired American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1987, primarily for its Jeep brand, although the failing Eagle Premier would be the basis for the Chrysler LH platform sedans. This bolstered the firm, although Chrysler was still the weakest of the Big Three.
Another significant aspect of Chrysler's recovery was the revitalization of the company's manufacturing facilities, led by Richard Dauch. The factories were streamlined with more efficient machinery, more robots, better paint equipment, and so on[vague]. The resultant improvements in efficiency and vehicle quality played a big role in saving the company.
In the early 1990s, Chrysler made its first 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 (badged as "Chrysler Viper" in Europe) sports car, and Plymouth Prowler hot rod, and new "cab forward" front-wheel drive LH sedans put the company in a strong position as the decade waned.
Acquisition by Daimler-Benz
Further information: Daimler-Chrysler
In 1998 Daimler-Benz purchased Chrysler, forming DaimlerChrysler AG. Chrysler Corporation then was legally renamed DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC, while its total operations began doing business as Chrysler Group. This was initially declared to be a merger of equals, but it quickly became evident that Daimler-Benz was the dominant partner. Despite offering a range of attractive models, Chrysler went into another of its financial tailspins soon after the merger, greatly depressing the stock price of the merged firm and causing alarm at headquarters in Germany, which sent Dieter Zetsche, who would later become CEO, to take charge. The Plymouth brand was phased out in 2001, and plans for cost cutting by sharing of platforms and components began. The Mercedes-based Chrysler Crossfire was one of the first results of this program. A return to rear-wheel drive was announced, and in 2004 a new line of full size cars, spearheaded by the Chrysler 300 using some M-B technology and a new Hemi V8 appeared and was successful. Financial performance began to improve, with Chrysler providing a significant share of DaimlerChrysler profits due to restructuring efforts at the Mercedes Car Group. The partnership with Mitsubishi was dissolved as DaimlerChrysler divested its stake in the firm due to Mitsubishi's demand for more control in the management.
Sale to Cerberus
According to the April 2007 issue of Der Spiegel, CEO Dieter Zetsche expressed a desire to dismantle Chrysler and sell off the majority stake and at the same time keep Chrysler "dependent" upon Mercedes-Benz after the sale.
On April 4, 2007, Dieter Zetsche said that the company was negotiating the sale of Chrysler, which was rumored for weeks before the announcement. One day after, investor Kirk Kerkorian placed a 4.5 billion dollar bid for Chrysler. On 12 April, Magna International of Canada announced it was searching for partners to place a bid for Chrysler. Magna's offer was outbid.
On May 14th of the same year, DaimlerChrysler AG announced that it would sell 80.1% of its stake in the Chrysler Group to Cerberus Capital Management for $7.4 Billion. Chrysler Group (DaimlerChrysler Corporation) would officially become Chrysler Holding LLC (changed to Chrysler LLC upon completion of the sale), with two subsidiaries – Chrysler Motors LLC (new name of DaimlerChrysler Motors Company), which produces Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles, and Chrysler Financial Services LLC (new name of DaimlerChrysler Financial Services Americas LLC), which took over the operations of Chrysler Financial. DaimlerChrysler AG changed its name to Daimler AG.
On October 10, 2007, the new company experienced its first labor dispute. A strike deadline of 11 a.m. had been set by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union leadership pending successful negotiation of a new contract patterned after the pact with GM. As the talks progressed past the deadline, most Chrysler unionized workers walked off their jobs. With media speculation about the impact of a long strike, an impromptu announcement after 5 p.m. the same day indicated that a tentative agreement had been reached, thus ending the walkout after just over six hours.
See also: Automotive industry crisis of 2008
Chrysler collaborates with Tata Motors Limited of India: Tata's all-electric Ace mini truck will be sold through Chrysler's Global Electric Motorcars division. Chrysler announced in February 2008 that it would be reducing its product line from 30 models to 15 models. Chrysler was reported in August 2008 to be in talks with Fiat.
In October 2008, Cerberus and General Motors discussed an exchange of GM's 49% stake in GMAC for Chrysler, potentially merging two of Detroit's "Big Three" automakers. These talks did not come to fruition, and were discontinued the next month. On October 24, 2008, Chrysler announced a 25% cut (5,000 jobs) in its salaried and contract workforce in November 2008. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced that she, along with 5 other governors, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke requesting emergency funding for the Detroit Big Three Automakers. On the same day, General Motors asked the Treasury Department of the United States for $10 billion to help restructure both their company and possible future sibling, Chrysler so that in turn, they can become one massive company.
On November 5, 2008 it has been published that Chrysler sales in the US market have fallen 34.9 percent in only 12 months. A week later, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli said, in a speech at an Ernst & Young conference, that the company can only remain viable by forming an alliance with another automaker, domestic or global, as well as receiving government assistance in the form of an equity stake. Several days later, Chrysler together with Ford and General Motors, sought financial aid at a Congressional hearing in Washington D.C. in the face of worsening conditions caused by the automotive industry crisis. All three companies were unsuccessful and were invited to draft a new action plan for the sustainability of the industry.
On November 25, 2008 The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released their Top Safety Pick awards for the year. Seventy-two vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick award for 2009. This is more than double the number of 2008 recipients and more than 3 times the number of 2007 winners. However Chrysler LLC. is the only major automaker still lacking a single Top Safety Pick.
At the beginning of December 2008, Chrysler announced that they were dangerously low on cash and may not survive past 2009. On December 17, 2008, Chrysler announced that it planned to halt production at all 30 of its manufacturing plants through January 19, 2009. In addition, Chrysler announced that it would charge fees on dealers holding inventories of new cars and trucks that are unsold after more than 360 days, and will require immediate payment of all remaining balances on inventories of used vehicles that remain unsold after six months. On December 19, President George W. Bush announced a $13.4 billion rescue loan for the American automakers, including Chrysler.
Chrysler's 2008 performance was hard hit among the Big Three U.S. automakers, with 398,119 automobiles and 1,055,003 trucks sold during the year.
Partnership with Fiat
On 20 January 2009, the Italian Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler LLC announced that they are going to form a global alliance. Under the terms of the agreement, Fiat takes a 35% stake in Chrysler and gains access to its North American dealer network in exchange for providing Chrysler with the platform to build smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the US and reciprocal access to Fiat's global distribution network.
With its inception in 1925, Chrysler's logo was a round medallion with a ribbon bearing the name CHRYSLER in uppercase block letters.
Virgil Exner's radical "Forward Look" redesign of Chrysler Corporation's vehicles for the 1955 model year was underscored by the company's adoption of a logo by the same name. The Forward Look logo consisted of two overlapped boomerang shapes, suggesting space age rocket-propelled motion.
As the Forward Look styling cycle was ending, Chrysler President Lynn Townsend sought a new logo usable by all of Chrysler's worldwide divisions and subsidiaries, automotive and non-automotive, on packaging, stationery, signage and advertising. He wanted something that would be immediately identifiable as Chrysler's mark to anyone who saw it, in any culture. In September 1962, the company adopted a logo named Pentastar, made of five triangles arranged so their bases formed the sides of a pentagon. The Pentastar was simple and easily recognizable, even on revolving signs, and was not tied to any particular automotive styling feature as had been the previous Forward Look logo. Because the symbol contained no text, it facilitated Chrysler's expansion in international markets. The Pentastar was extensively used on dealer signage, advertisements, and promotional brochures, as well as on Chrysler products themselves.
Chrysler-Plymouth literature, advertisements, and dealership signage used a blue Pentastar or a white one on a blue background, while Dodge used a red Pentastar or a white one on a red background. Divisional logos such as Dodge's Fratzog were gradually phased out until, by 1981, all Chrysler divisions used only the Pentastar. All vehicle brands and all the other Chrysler divisions and services — 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, leasing, finance and auto parts — were identified by the Pentastar.
The Pentastar was placed as a maker's mark on the lower passenger-side fender of all Chrysler products, including non-US brands, from 1963 into the 1972 model year. 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 quickly recognizable without reading. Thus left-hand drive cars had the Pentastar on the right fender, while right-hand drive cars had it on the left. Starting in the 1980s, hood ornaments on Chrysler-brand vehicles used a gem-like version of the pentastar to signify the brand's upscale status.
The Pentastar's final badging appearance was on special editions of the 1996-2000 Plymouth Voyager. It was also applied to the steering wheel, keys, and fenders of the Voyager and the other Chrysler NS minivans.
The Pentastar continued to represent Chrysler until the merge with Daimler in 1998, when it was retired. Among the few remaining traces of this motif was 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 by a member of the Ford family. Many dealerships still have signage and other traces still visually apparent to the Pentastar, where a five-Pentastar logo remains in use as the logo of the "Five Star Dealer" service rank. Despite having been officially retired under Daimler, the Pentastar continued to make a few relatively inconspicuous appearances on Chrysler Group cars and trucks in markings on window glass and on individual components and molded-plastic assemblies. Chrysler engineers also managed to have the Pentastar cast into every third-generation Hemi cylinder block, unnoticed, apparently, by the Stuttgart bosses.
Return of divisional logos
Divisional logos began to supplant the companywide Pentastar application in the early 1990s. The Dodge division phased in a ram's-head logo beginning with the 1993 Intrepid and Spirit. The Chrysler brand began using a medallion based on its original logo starting with the 1995 Cirrus and Sebring, and this logo was applied to all Chryslers by 1996. That same year, Plymouth adopted a new sailboat logo, which was a simplified version of the brand's pre-Pentastar Mayflower ship logo.
Revival of Pentastar
On May 17, 2007, an internal email stated that Chrysler was going to revive the Pentastar logo, in updated form, after their split from Daimler. The new three-dimensional Pentastar was formally introduced when Chrysler LLC began doing business as a private company in August 2007.
The design shown here is an adaptation of the original medallion logo which Chrysler used on its cars at its inception in 1925. The logo was revived for the Chrysler division in 1996, and was surrounded by a pair of silver wings after the Daimler-Benz merger in 1998. When sold to Cerberus, Chrysler readopted the Pentastar (see above) as their corporate logo, although the winged logo is still used on the cars themselves.
For many years, Chrysler developed gas turbine engines for automotive use. Turbines were common in many military vehicles, and Chrysler built many prototypes for passenger cars. In the 1960s, mass production seemed almost ready. Fifty Chrysler Turbine Cars, specialty designed Ghia-bodied coupes were built in 1962 and placed in the hands of regular people for final testing. The turbine engines never saw production.
Chrysler intends to pursue new drive concepts through ENVI, an in-house organization formed to focus on electric-drive vehicles and related technologies. Established in September, 2007, Chrysler's ENVI division led by Lou Rhodes specifically deals with new all-electric and hybrid vehicles not based on existing models.
In 2008, Chrysler is facing continuous pressure from its rapidly decline sales of trucks, pick ups and minivans as consumers tend to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles given the soaring oil prices.
Chrysler LLC brought a wide range of green vehicles to the Detroit Auto Show, including three concept vehicles that incorporate electric drive technologies.
The Dodge ZEO concept—short for "Zero Emissions Operation"—is an all-electric sport wagon combining a 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack with a 200-kilowatt (268 horsepower) electric motor. The rear-wheel-drive vehicle accelerates to 60 miles per hour (mph) in less than six seconds and has a range of at least 250miles (400km). There is also a plug-in hybrid electric version.
The Chrysler ecoVoyager concept combines a similar battery pack and motor with a small hydrogen fuel cell to achieve a 300miles (480km) range. The vehicle can travel about 40miles (64km) on battery power alone and can accelerate to 60mph (0.027km) in less than eight seconds.
And the Jeep Renegade concept, a plug-in hybrid, combines a lithium-ion battery pack with dual 200-kilowatt electric motors on each axle. The Jeep can travel 40miles (64km) on battery power alone and can travel 400miles (640km) with the help of its 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder clean diesel engine. The vehicle features a lightweight aluminum architecture.
Chrysler is currently planning at least three hybrid vehicles, the Chrysler Aspen hybrid, Dodge Durango hybrid, and the Dodge Ram including HEMI engines. Chrysler plans to use hybrid technology developed jointly with General Motors and BMW AG in vehicles beyond the two hybrid SUVs it had already announced to introduce in 2008.
All-new Dodge Ram 1500 pickup will be available as a hybrid in 2010. The Dodge Ram HEMI Hybrid will combine a two-mode hybrid system with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine. For the 2009 Dodge Ram, Chrysler is launching an improved version of its HEMI V-8 engine featuring variable valve timing and a four-cylinder mode with an expanded operating range. The result is more power and torque, along with a 4% increase in fuel economy.
Chrysler has also been experimenting with a Hybrid Diesel truck for military applications.
Chrysler has debuted:
- the Dodge EV, an all electric sports car based on the Lotus Europa, with plans for a 120 mph top speed and a range of 150 to 200 miles.
- plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), jolting the PHEV mass-production race:
- the Chrysler EV, a series plug-in hybrid with 40miles (64km) all-electric range, based on Chrysler Town & Country.
- and the Jeep EV, based on a Jeep Wrangler. Chrysler is exploring in-wheel electric motors for this vehicle.
At the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, has unveiled the Chrysler 200C EV Concept, a sports sedan with an all-electric range of 40 miles and an extended range of about 400miles (640km). It also added the Jeep Patriot EV, another range-extended electric vehicle.If Chrysler does release an all-electric sports car in 2010, it will be in direct competition with two North American startup companies: Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive.
Chrysler's ENVI division, which is dedicated to creating production electric drive vehicles, announced in September 2008 that Chrysler LLC will have electric vehicles in showrooms by 2010. They showed three "production intent" vehicles and stated that these are going to be the first of a broad portfolio of electric vehicles.
Chrysler Chief Executive Bob Nardelli said government loans would help speed the electric technology to market. But if they aren't approved, Chrysler will have to spend limited resources on developing new technology and would have to make cuts elsewhere, possibly in employment and development of conventional products. "Unfortunately we have had to furlough many families as a result of the economy turmoil and certainly the downward spiraling in the industry," he said. "I'd like to make sure that we don't have to go further to be able to support advanced technology work."
The Chrysler executives said the day is coming when the whole Chrysler fleet has electric powertrains. "The goal is to achieve fundamental technology, get economies of scale, improve our ability to make the future generations more robust, less cost, smaller, more powerful, better performance," Press said. "Ultimately it will lead to a transformation of our entire fleet that will be in some manner electric drive."
PHEV Research Center
Chrysler is in the Advisory Council of the PHEV Research Center.
Chrysler was among the companies boycotted by gay rights groups after removing advertisements from the ABC sitcom Ellen in 1997, which it deemed "controversial."
In 1987, it was discovered that Chrysler sold an estimated 32,750 cars that had been test-driven with disconnected odometers - some as much as 500 miles - before being shipped to dealers. Chrysler settled out of court with complainants. Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca sought to minimize damage to the corporation's public image by calling a news conference in which he termed the action "dumb" and "unforgivable".
- Chrysler — Passenger cars, minivans and SUVs
- Dodge — Passenger cars, minivans, trucks and SUVs
- ENVI - division for creating electric-drive vehicles and related advanced-propulsion technologies.
- Jeep — SUVs
- Global Electric Motorcars (GEMCAR) — Battery electric low-speed vehicles
- Mopar — Replacement parts for Chrysler-built vehicles. Also comprises Mopar Performance, a subdivision providing performance aftermarket parts for Chrysler-built vehicles.
- Chrysler Financial — Financial services for Chrysler customers and dealers
- Chrysler Australia
- Chrysler Fevre Argentina