Chrysler

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This article is about Chrysler. For the flagship car division of FCA US LLC, see Chrysler (division). For other uses, see Chrysler (disambiguation).
FCA US LLC
Type Limited liability company
Industry Automotive
Predecessors Chrysler Group LLC
(2009-2014)
Chrysler LLC
(2007–2009)
DaimlerChrysler AG
(1998–2007)
Chrysler Corporation
(1925–1998)
Founded Chrysler Corporation
June 6, 1925
Chrysler Group LLC
June 10, 2009
Founders Walter Chrysler
Headquarters Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
Number of locations List of Chrysler factories
Area served Worldwide
Key people Sergio Marchionne
(Chairman and CEO)[1]
Products Automobiles
Commercial vehicles
Automotive parts
Revenue Increase US$ 65.78 billion (2012)[2]
Operating income Increase US$ 1.942 billion (2012)[2]
Net income Increase US$ 1.668 billion (2012)[2]
Total assets Increase US$ 40.97 billion (2012)[2]
Total equity Decrease US$ -7.259 billion (2012)[2]
Owners Fiat Chrysler Automobiles[3]
Employees Increase 74,700 (2014)[4]
Divisions Chrysler
Dodge
Jeep
Ram
Mopar
SRT
Website fcausllc.com

Chrysler (/ˈkrslər/), officially FCA US LLC, is an American automobile manufacturer headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan and owned by Italian automaker Fiat.[5] Chrysler is one of the "Big Three" American automobile manufacturers. It sells vehicles worldwide under its flagship Chrysler brand, as well as the Dodge, Jeep and Ram. Other major divisions include Mopar, its automotive parts and accessories division, and SRT, its performance automobile division. In 2014, FCA US LLC is the seventh biggest automaker in the world by production.[6]

The Chrysler Corporation was founded by Walter Chrysler in 1925,[7] out of what remained of the Maxwell Motor Company. Chrysler greatly expanded in 1928, when it acquired the Fargo truck company and the Dodge Brothers Company and began selling vehicles under those brands; that same year it also established the Plymouth and DeSoto automobile brands.

In the 1960s the company expanded into Europe, creating the Chrysler Europe division, formed from the acquisition of French, British and Spanish companies. In the 1970s, a number of factors including the 1973 oil crisis impacted Chrysler's sales, and by the late 1970s, Chrysler was on the verge of bankruptcy, forcing its retreat from Europe in 1979. Lee Iacocca was brought in as CEO and is credited with returning the company to profitability in the 1980s. In 1987, Chrysler acquired American Motors Corporation (AMC), which brought the profitable Jeep brand under the Chrysler umbrella.

In 1998, Chrysler merged with German automaker Daimler-Benz AG to form DaimlerChrysler; the merger proved contentious with investors and Chrysler was sold to Cerberus Capital Management and renamed Chrysler LLC in 2007. Like the other Big Three automobile manufacturers, Chrysler was hit hard by the automotive industry crisis of 2008–2010. Through a combination of negotiations with creditors, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on April 30, 2009, and participating in a bailout from the U.S. government through the T.A.R.P. program, Chrysler managed to remain in business. On June 10, 2009, Chrysler emerged from the bankruptcy proceedings with the United Auto Workers pension fund, Fiat, and the U.S. and Canadian governments as principal owners. The bankruptcy resulted in Chrysler defaulting on over $4 billion in debts. By May 24, 2011, Chrysler finished repaying its obligations to the U.S. government five years early, although the cost to the American taxpayer was $1.3 billion. Over the next few years Fiat gradually acquired the other parties' shares while removing much of the weight of the loans (which carried a 21% interest rate) in a short period. On January 1, 2014, Fiat S.p.A announced a deal to purchase the rest of Chrysler from the United Auto Workers retiree health trust. The deal was completed on January 21, 2014, making Chrysler Group a subsidiary of Fiat S.p.A.[5] In May 2014, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, NV was born by merging Fiat S.p.A. into the company. Chrysler Group, LLC remains a subsidiary. This was completed in August 2014.

History[edit]

Main article: History of Chrysler

The Chrysler company was founded by Walter Chrysler (1875–1940) on June 6, 1925,[8][9] when the Maxwell Motor Company (est. 1904) was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation.[10][11]

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).[12] In late 1923 production of the Chalmers automobile was ended.[13]

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).[14] 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.[15][16] 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 brand was dropped after the 1925 model year. The new, lower-priced four-cylinder Chryslers introduced for the 1926 year were badge-engineered Maxwells.[17] 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).[18] At the same time, the DeSoto brand was introduced in the medium-price field. Also in 1928, Chrysler bought the Dodge Brothers[19] 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.

1955 Imperial car model shown on display at January 1955 Chicago Auto Show

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.

1955 Chrysler - Philco all transistor car radio - "Breaking News" radio broadcast announcement

On April 28, 1955, Chrysler and Philco had announced the development and production of the World’s First All-Transistor car radio.[20] The all-transistor car radio Mopar model 914HR, was developed and produced by Chrysler and Philco, and was an $150.00 "option" on the 1956 Imperial car models. Philco was the company, who had manufactured the all-transistor car radio Mopar model 914HR, starting in the fall of 1955 at its Sandusky Ohio plant, for the Chrysler corporation.[21][22][23]

On September 28, 1957, Chrysler had announced the first production electronic fuel injection (EFI), as an option on some of its new 1958 car models (Chrysler 300D, Dodge D500, DeSoto Adventurer, Plymouth Fury). The first attempt to use this system was by American Motors on the 1957 Rambler Rebel.[24][25] Bendix Corporation's Electrojector used a transistor computer brain modulator box, but teething problems on pre-production cars meant very few cars were made.[26] The EFI system in the Rambler ran fine in warm weather, but suffered hard starting in cooler temperatures and AMC decided not to use this EFI system, on its 1957 Rambler Rebel production cars that were sold to the public.[25] Chrysler also used the Bendix "Electrojector" fuel injection system and only around 35 vehicles were built with this option, on its 1958 production built car models.[27][28]

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.[29]

In 1987 Chrysler purchased American Motors from Renault

In 1985, Chrysler entered an agreement with American Motors Corporation (AMC) to produce Chrysler M platform rear-drive, as well as Dodge Omnis front wheel drive cars, in AMC's Kenosha, Wisconsin plant. In 1987, Chrysler acquired the 47% ownership of AMC that was held by Renault. The remaining outstanding shares of AMC were purchased on the NYSE by August 5, 1987, making the deal valued somewhere between US$1.7 billion and $2 billion depending on how costs were counted.[30] Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca wanted the Jeep brand, particularly the Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ) that was under development, the world-class, brand-new manufacturing plant in Bramalea, Ontario, as well as AMC's engineering and management talent that became critical for Chrysler's future success.[31] Chrysler established the Jeep/Eagle division as a "specialty" arm to market products distinctly different from the K-car-based products with the Eagle cars targeting import buyers.[32] Former AMC dealers sold Jeep vehicles and various new Eagle models, as well as Chrysler products, strengthening the automaker's retail distribution system.

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.[33] To the surprise of many stockholders, Daimler subsequently acquired Chrysler in a stock swap,[34] before the retirement of Chrysler CEO Bob Eaton. His lack of planning for Chrysler in the 1990s, to become their own global automotive company, is widely accepted as the reason why the merger was needed. Under DaimlerChrysler, the company was named DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC, with its U.S. operations generally called "DCX". The Eagle brand was retired shortly after Chrysler's merger with Daimler-Benz in 1998[35] Jeep became a stand-alone division, and efforts were made to merge the Chrysler and Jeep brands as one sales unit.[36] In 2001, the Plymouth brand was also discontinued.

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.[37] The economic collapse of 2007 - 2009 pushed an already fragile company to the brink. On April 30, 2009, the automaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to be able to operate as a going concern, while renegotiating its debt structure and other obligations,[38] which resulted in the corporation defaulting on over $4 billion in secured debts.[39] The U.S. government described the company's action as a “prepackaged surgical bankruptcy."[38]

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$8 billion in financing at near 21%. Under Sergio Marchionne, "World Class Manufacturing" or WCM, a system of complete and thorough manufacturing quality, was introduced and several products re-launched with quality and luxury. The 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee very soon became the most awarded SUV - Ever. The Ram, Jeep, Dodge, SRT and Chrysler divisions were separated to focus on their own identity and brand and 11 major model refreshes occurred in 21 months. The PT Cruiser, Nitro, Liberty and Caliber models (created during DCX) were discontinued. On May 24, 2011, Chrysler repaid its $7.6 billion loans to the United States and Canadian governments.[40][41] Despite being a full 5 years early of their repayment of the loans to the US government, the overall cost to the US taxpayer was $1.3 billion, mostly through the treasury department's sale of Chrysler stock.[42][43][44] On July 21, 2011, Fiat bought the Chrysler shares held by the United States Treasury.[45] With the purchase, Chrysler once again became foreign owned; however, this time Chrysler was the luxury division. The Chrysler 300 was badged Lancia Thema in some European markets (with additional engine options), giving Lancia a much needed replacement for its flagship.

On January 1, 2014, Fiat announced it would be acquiring the remaining shares of Chrysler owned by the VEBA worth $3.65 billion.[46] The deal was completed on January 21, 2014.[5] Several days later, the intended reorganization of Fiat and Chrysler under a new holding company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, together with a new FCA logo were announced.[47] The most challenging launch for this new company came immediately in January 2014 with a completely redesigned Chrysler 200. The vehicle's creation is from the completely integrated company, FCA, executing from a global compact-wide platform.[48][verification needed]

On 16 December 2014, Chrysler Group LLC announced a name change to FCA US LLC.[49]

Corporate governance[edit]

Chrysler House landmark executive offices in the Detroit Financial District

Board of directors[edit]

Management team[edit]

  • Mark Chernoby, Senior Vice President of Quality
  • Reid Bigland, Ram brand CEO, U.S. sales chief & President and CEO Chrysler Canada[50]
  • Saad Chehab, President and CEO - Chrysler brand[51]
  • Mark M. Chernoby, Senior Vice President of Product Development
  • Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group and Fiat Group Automobiles, Head of Fiat Brand[52]
  • Scott R. Garberding, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing
  • Ralph Gilles, SRT brand CEO and President of Design[50]
  • Pietro Gorlier, Mopar brand CEO and President of Service, Parts and Customer Care
  • Bill Cousins
  • Mircea Gradu, Head of Transmission Powertrain and Driveline Engineering (departing)
  • Peter M. Grady, Vice President of Network Development and Fleet
  • Michael J. Keegan, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Management
  • Timothy Kuniskis, President and CEO of Dodge brand
  • Scott G. Kunselman
  • Jody Trapasso
  • Jason Stoicevich
  • Robert (Bob) Lee, Head of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering
  • Robert E. Lee
  • Holly E. Leese
  • Laurie A. Macaddino
  • Michael Manley, President and CEO Jeep brand and COO APAC (Asia Pacific Region)
  • Richard Palmer, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Barbara J. Pilarski
  • Nancy A. Rae, Senior Vice President of Human Resources
  • Gualberto Ranieri
  • Scott A. Sandschafer
  • Joseph Trapasso
  • Joseph Veltri
  • Daniel W. Devine, Vice President, Office of Tax Affairs

Sales and marketing[edit]

US sales[edit]

Chrysler is the smallest of the "Big Three" U.S. automakers (Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors). In 2013 Chrysler sold 1,800,368 vehicles, 9% up from 2012, and fourth largest in sales behind GM, Ford and Toyota.[53]

Chrysler's sales have fluctuated dramatically over the last decade. In 2007 sales reached 2,076,650,[54] falling to 931,402 units in 2009, the company's worst result in decades.

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.[55]

Global sales[edit]

Chrysler is the world's 11th largest vehicle manufacturer as ranked by OICA in 2012.[56] Total Chrysler vehicle production was about 2.37 million that year, up from 1.58 million in 2010.

Recalls - 2014[edit]

Brake Booster Shield Recall March 2014[edit]

In April 2014, Chrysler recalled brake boosters from Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee Vehicles manufactured in the years 2011-2014 stating that, "A brake booster's center shell may corrode and allow water to get inside, which could freeze and limit the braking ability of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash." Chrysler is offering a free repair for any affected SUV worldwide, all that is required is the drive to a local dealer for the repair.[57]

Marketing[edit]

Lifetime powertrain warranty[edit]

In 2007, Chrysler began to offer vehicle lifetime powertrain warranty for the first registered owner or retail lessee.[58] 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.[59] After Chrysler's restructuring, the warranty program was replaced by five-year/100,000 mile transferrable warranty for 2010 or later vehicles.[60]

"Let's Refuel America"[edit]

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.[61] 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[edit]

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.[62]

Ram trucks[edit]

In October 2009, Dodge's car and truck lines were separated, with the name "Dodge" being used for cars, minivans and crossovers and "Ram" for light- and medium-duty trucks and other commercial-use vehicles.[63]

Calendar year U.S. Chrysler sales  %Chg/yr.
1999[64] 2,638,561
2000 2,522,695 Decrease4.4%
2001[65] 2,273,208 Decrease9.9%
2002[66] 2,205,446 Decrease3%
2003 2,127,451 Decrease3.5%
2004[67] 2,206,024 Increase3.7%
2005[67] 2,304,833 Increase4.5%
2006[68] 2,142,505 Decrease7%
2007[68] 2,076,650 Decrease3.1%
2008[69] 1,453,122 Decrease30%
2009[70] 931,402 Decrease36%
2010[71] 1,085,211 Increase17%
2011[72] 1,369,114 Increase26%
2012[73] 1,651,787 Increase21%
2013[74] 1,800,368 Increase9%

"Imported From Detroit"[edit]

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.[75][76] 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 Marshall Mathers Foundation.[77] Following the Eminem ad, there was also an ad for Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh driving a Chrysler 300 to Portland, Oregon, 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.[78]

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.[79] 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 did not 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 does not have a trademark on "Imported from Detroit" and rejected the automaker's argument that trademark law is not applicable to the case.[80][81] 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.[82] 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.

Chrysler's Jefferson North Assembly, which makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, is the only car manufacturing plant of any company remaining entirely in Detroit (General Motors operates a plant which is partly in Detroit and partly in Hamtramck).[83]

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.[84]

"Half Time in America"[edit]

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 criticism from several leading U.S. conservatives, who suggested that its messaging implied that President Barack Obama deserved a second term and, as such, was political payback for Obama's support for the federal bailout of the company.[85] Asked about the criticism in a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft, Sergio Marchionne responded "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 characterized the Republican reaction as "unnecessary and out of place".[86]

"America's Import"

In 2014, Chrysler started using a new slogan, "America's Import" in ads introducing their all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, targeting foreign automakers from Germany to Japan with such ads (German performance and Japanese quality), and at the ending of selected ads, the advertisement will say, "We Built This", indicating being built in America, instead overseas.

Slogans[edit]

  • Engineered to the Power of Cars (1998–2001)
  • Drive & Love (2002–2004)
  • Inspiration comes standard (2004–2007)
  • Engineered Beautifully (2007-mid 2010)
  • Imported From Detroit (2011-2014)
  • America's Import (2014–present)

Product line[edit]

Ram 1500, one of Chrysler's best selling vehicles[68]
  • Chrysler: Luxury sedans, convertibles, and minivans
  • Dodge: Passenger, performance cars, minivans, crossovers and SUVs
  • Ram: Trucks and commercial vehicles
  • Jeep: Off-road vehicles, SUVs and crossovers
  • Mopar: Upscale versions of selected cars, trucks, and SUVs from Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Fiat (new for 2012). Also brand for dealer service and customer service operations.

Mopar[edit]

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

Fiat[edit]

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.[87]

Chrysler Uconnect[edit]

First introduced as MyGig, Chrysler Uconnect is a system that brings interactive ability to the in-car radio and telemetric-like controls to car settings.[88] Internet connectivity using any Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Ram vehicle, via a Wi-Fi "hot-spot", is also available via Uconnect Web. According to Chrysler LLC, the hotspot range will extend approximately 100 feet (30 m) from the vehicle in all directions, and will combine both Wi-Fi and Sprint's 3G cellular connectivity. Uconnect is available on several current and was available on several discontinued Chrysler models including the current Dodge Dart, Chrysler 300, Aspen, Sebring, Town and Country, Dodge Avenger, Caliber, Grand Caravan, Challenger, Charger, Journey, Nitro, and Ram.[89]

Electric and hybrid vehicles[edit]

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 only 56 were produced. In 1997, a second generation, called the EPIC, was released. It was discontinued after 1999.

Chrysler owned the Global Electric Motorcars company, building low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles, but sold GEM to Polaris Industries in 2011.

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 November 2009.[90]

The first hybrid models, the Chrysler Aspen hybrid and the Dodge Durango hybrid, were discontinued a few months after production in 2008,[91] sharing their GM-designed hybrid technology with GM, Daimler and BMW.[92]

Chrysler is on the Advisory Council of the PHEV Research Center, and undertook a government sponsored demonstration project with Ram and minivan vehicles.[93]

In 2012, Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Chrysler and Fiat both plan to focus primarily on alternative fuels, such as CNG and diesel, instead of hybrid and electric drivetrains for their consumer products.[94]

Special programs[edit]

During World War II, essentially all of Chrysler's facilities were devoted to building military vehicles (the Jeep brand came later, after Chrysler acquired American Motors Corporation).[95] They were also designing V12 and V16 hemi-engines producing 2,500 hp (1,864 kW; 2,535 PS) for airplanes, but they did not make it into production as jets were developed and were seen as the future for air travel.[96] During the 1950s Cold War period, Chrysler made air raid sirens powered by its Hemi V-8 engines.

Radar antennas[edit]

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 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.[97][98]

Aircraft[edit]

Missiles[edit]

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.[99]

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 missile launched two small monkeys into space in a nose cone; 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.[100]

Space boosters[edit]

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 MRLV launch attempts were made between November 1960 and March 1961, two of which were successful. The MRLV successfully launched the chimpanzee Ham, and astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom on three suborbital flights in January, May and July 1961, respectively.

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;[101] Chrysler missiles and boosters never suffered a launch failure.[citation needed] The division was also a subcontractor which modified one of the Mobile Launcher Platforms for use with the Saturn IB rockets using Saturn V infrastructure.

Discontinued brands[edit]

See also[edit]

Countries[edit]

Notes[edit]

1. [2] Fiat is exercising their right to increase their share in the company, and have announced that they want to buy an additional ~6.6% of the shares from VEBA Trust, but VEBA disagrees with the price set by Fiat. The matter is currently the subject of proceedings at Delaware Chancery Court.[2]

References[edit]

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