Plymouth Laser

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Plymouth Laser
1990 Plymouth Laser RS Turbo red.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Diamond Star Motors
Production 1989–1994
Model years 1990–1994
Assembly Normal, Illinois
United States
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact
Body style 3-door liftback
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
Platform Chrysler D platform
Related Mitsubishi Eclipse
Eagle Talon
Powertrain
Engine 1.8 L Mitsubishi 4G37 I4
2.0 L Mitsubishi 4G63 I4
2.0 L Mitsubishi 4G63T I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 97.2 in (2,469 mm)
Length 1993-94: 172.8 in (4,389 mm)
1990-92: 170.5 in (4,331 mm)
Width 1993-94: 66.7 in (1,694 mm)
1990-92: 66.5 in (1,689 mm)
Height 51.4 in (1,306 mm)
Curb weight 2,531 lb (1,148 kg)
Chronology
Successor Plymouth Neon

The Plymouth Laser was a sports coupe sold under the Plymouth marque from 1989 (as a 1990 model) to 1994. The Laser and its siblings: the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Eagle Talon, were the first vehicles produced under the newly formed Diamond Star Motors, a joint-venture between the Chrysler Corporation and the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. The "Laser" name was recycled from an earlier sports coupe sold as the Chrysler Laser during the 1980s.

Overview[edit]

Introduced as "The First Plymouth of the 90's"[1] in advertising, the Plymouth Laser debuted in January 1989[2] as a 1990 model. Promotional commercials for the 1990 Laser featured R&B singer Tina Turner[3] who was featured in a series of 1990 promotional ads for Plymouth. With three engine offerings, two transmission offerings, and sporty "aero" styling, the Laser was the most performance-oriented Plymouth since the Barracuda, Duster, and Road Runner muscle cars of the 1970s.

Despite its close resemblance to its Mitsubishi and Eagle siblings, the Laser was slightly more upscale, having several unique styling cues intended to set it apart from the other two. Apart from badging, Lasers sported a racey look, with a plastic panel in the place of a grille, a full rear lightbar, a bulge on the hood for 2.0 L engined models (not necessarily turbocharged), and available stylish "lace" patterned alloy wheels. RS, or "Rallye Sport", models were set apart from the base model by their black roof with body color targa band, power steering, lower bodyside accent striping, dual power mirrors, as well as an array of options not available on base Lasers.[1]

Base Lasers carried a 92 hp (69 kW) 1.8 L 4-cylinder engine, whereas a 135 hp (101 kW), 2.0 L DOHC 4-cylinder was optional with the Laser RS. The top-of-the-line RS Turbo used a turbocharged 2.0 L rated at 195 hp (145 kW). A 5-speed manual transmission was standard. A 4-speed automatic was optional, except with the turbocharged engine, which could only be ordered with the manual transmission until 1991 models debuted.

Through the years[edit]

Model year changes[edit]

1993 Plymouth Laser (post face-lift)
1993 Plymouth Laser RS Gold Edition

1990: The Plymouth Laser was released in January 1989 as a 1990 model. Three models were initially offered: base, RS, and RS Turbo. The similar Mitsubishi Eclipse was also released in 1989, and the Eagle Talon soon followed. RS models, among other options could be equipped with a factory installed CD player, a first such option on any Plymouth.

1991: The Laser received anti-lock brakes (ABS), and the turbocharged engine could now be ordered with an automatic transmission instead of a manual. The Laser RS could now only be ordered with the 195 hp (145 kW) engine.

1992: The Laser received cosmetic changes for 1992, and a new all-wheel-drive (AWD) model joined the lineup. The RS Turbo AWD came only with a manual transmission, while the front-wheel drive version could still be ordered. There was also a freshening to the hood and front and rear fascias. The pop-up headlights were removed in favor of multi-form fixed headlights, making the car look more aerodynamic. The rear lightbar was replaced by two separate taillights. The RS model came with alloy wheels and other cosmetic differences. The RS could also be ordered with a Gold Package, which featured gold trimmed wheels, pin stripes and graphics. Only a limited number of RSs with this package were built, making them rare.

1993: AWD Lasers could now be ordered with an automatic transmission. With the automatic, the power rating of turbocharged models dropped to 180 hp (130 kW). All Lasers except for the base model could be equipped with ABS.

1994: Production of the Laser was halted on February 9, 1994.,[4] due to poor sales. Nothing, including the price, was changed. Production was limited, making 1994 Lasers very rare.

Production Figures by Model Year:[4]
1990 42,105
1991 30,198
1992 24,094
1993 14,300
1994 5,284 (production halted mid-year)
Total 115,981
Talon Eclipse Laser production.png

Trim levels & prices[edit]

The original base prices for the Plymouth Laser.[5] Figures are in United States Dollars.

  • 1990
    • base - $10,855
    • RS - $11,900
    • RS Turbo - $13,905
  • 1991
    • base - $10,864
    • RS - $12,770
    • RS Turbo - $13,954
  • 1992
    • base - $11,184
    • RS - $13,332
    • RS Turbo - $14,811
    • RS Turbo AWD - $16,853
  • 1993
    • base - $11,542
    • RS - $13,910
    • RS Turbo - $15,444
    • RS Turbo AWD - $17,572
  • 1994
    • base - $11,542
    • RS - $13,910
    • RS Turbo - $15,444
    • RS Turbo AWD - $17,572

Awards[edit]

The Laser Turbo was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list from 1989 through 1992.

End of the line[edit]

The Plymouth Laser was not a major sales success. It did not sell as well as the Eagle Talon, and certainly not as well as the Mitsubishi Eclipse. Several factors influenced this. First of all, the Laser was a product of badge engineering, therefore it had to compete with two other cars that were virtually identical. To make matters worse, it faced in-house competition from the Talon, as the Eagle brand was also owned by Chrysler. Where Plymouth was generally marketed as the value-oriented/mainstream brand, Chrysler was trying to market Eagle as their performance brand. Due to this, a much heavier amount of advertising was devoted to the Talon. The fact that the Laser was far different from any other product Plymouth was selling at the time didn't help its popularity either. In the early 1990s, Plymouth's bread and butter lineup still consisted of K-car-derived cars and minivans; the Laser simply did not fit into this persona.

Due to a combination of these factors, the Laser was discontinued after a brief run of 1994 models. This failure of badge-engineering was just a preview of what would happen to the whole Plymouth marque in several years. The Laser's discontinuation coincided with the introduction of its successor, the 1995 Plymouth Neon.[4] The Neon was available as a 2-door coupe and a 4-door sedan and was a far better sales success than the Laser. The Mitsubishi Eclipse and Eagle Talon were both redesigned for 1995. The Talon became Eagle's last surviving model in 1998; the car and the Eagle marque were both dropped after that year. The Eclipse continued until the 2012 model year.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chrysler Corporation Factory Sales Brochure "1990 Plymouth Laser"
  2. ^ "1990-1994 Plymouth Laser: Overview". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  3. ^ "Tina Turner in a Plymouth Laser ad from 1990". Youtube. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  4. ^ a b c "The Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser: Mitsubishi cars with pentastars". Allpar. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  5. ^ "Plymouth Laser". MSN. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 

External links[edit]