Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC
Type Limited liability company
Industry Automotive
Predecessor Chrysler LLC
(2007-2009, Ownership returns to the United Sates)
DaimlerChrysler AG
(1998-2007, merger/demeger with Daimler AG)
Chrysler Corporation
(1925-1998 - Independent Company)
Founded May 31st, 2009[1]
Current Company
June 6, 1925
Heritage
Founder(s) 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) & Fiat CEO
Products Automobiles
Automotive parts
Revenue increase US$ 41.946 billion (2010)[2]
Operating income increase US$ 763 million (2010)[2]
Net income increase US$ -652 million (2010)[2]
Total assets increase US$ 35.449 billion (2010)[2]
Total equity decrease US$ -4.489 billion (2010)[2]
Owner(s) Fiat S.p.A. (53.5%)
United Auto Workers (46.5%)[3]
Employees 51,623 (December 2010)[2]
Divisions Chrysler
Dodge
Jeep
Ram
Mopar
Website ChryslerGroupLLC.com

Chrysler Group LLC (pronounced /ˈkraɪslər/) is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925.[4]

On June 10, 2009, Chrysler LLC emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and substantially all of its operations were sold to a new company, Chrysler Group LLC, organized in alliance with the Italian automaker Fiat.[5][6] Initially holding a 20% interest in Chrysler Group, Fiat's stake was increased to 53.5% (fully diluted) following acquisition of the equity interests held by the US Treasury (6% on 3 June 2011) and Canada (1.5% on 21 July 2011) [7][8]

Contents

History

The company was founded by Walter Chrysler (1875–1940) on June 6, 1925,[9][10] when the Maxwell Motor Company (est. 1904) was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation.[11][12]

Chrysler's world headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI

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 car company).[13] In late 1923 production of the Chalmers automobile was ended.[14]

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).[15] 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.[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 was dropped after its 1925 model year run, although in truth the new line of lower-priced 4-cylinder Chryslers which were then introduced for the 1926 model year were basically Maxwells which had been re-engineered and rebranded.[17] It was during this time period of the early 1920s that Walter Chrysler assumed the presidency of Maxwell, with the company then ultimately incorporated under the Chrysler name.

Early brands

Following the introduction of the Chrysler, the Maxwell brand was dropped after the 1925 model year. The new, lower-priced 4-cylinder Chryslers introduced for 1926 year were badge-engineered Maxwells.[18] 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, 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 4-cylinder model).[19] At the same time, the DeSoto brand was introduced in the medium-price field. Also in 1928, Chrysler bought the Dodge Brothers[20] automobile and truck company and launched the Dodge line of automobiles and Fargo range of trucks. By the late 1930s, the DeSoto and Dodge divisions would trade places in the corporate hierarchy.

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. 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.

The Valiant was introduced likewise as a distinct brand. 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.[21]

Discontinued automobile brands

  • United Kingdom Sunbeam (1901–1976)
  • United States Maxwell (1904–1926)
  • United Kingdom Singer (1905–1970)
  • United Kingdom Commer (1905–1979)
  • United Kingdom Hillman (1907–1976)
  • United Kingdom Karrier (1908–1977)
  • United States Graham Brothers (1916–1929)
  • Canada Fargo (1920–1972)
  • United States DeSoto (1928–1961)
  • United States Plymouth (1928–2001)
  • France Simca (1934–1977)
  • United States Hudson (1909–1957) (AMC)
  • United States Nash (1917–1957) (AMC)
  • United States Rambler (1900 to 1914, and 1950 to 1969) (AMC)
  • United States AMC (1954–1988)
  • United States Imperial (1955–1975; 1981–1983)
  • Spain Barreiros (1959–1978)
  • United States Valiant (1960–1976) The Valiant was introduced in 1960 as a separate Chrysler brand, then was incorporated into the Plymouth line in the US starting in 1961.
  • Australia Valiant (1962–1981).
  • Canada Valiant (1960–1966) Chrysler marketed the Valiant as a separate Chrysler model in Canada until 1967, when the Canada–United States Automotive Products Agreement of 1965 facilitated exporting the Plymouth Valiant to Canada.
  • United Kingdom Humber (1967–1968)[22]
  • United States Eagle (1988–1998)

Special programs for the Government

During World War II, essentially all of Chrysler’s facilities were devoted to building military vehicles (but not the Jeep; this brand came much later after Chrysler acquired American Motors Corporation). One of Chrysler’s most significant contributions to the war effort, however, was not in the field of vehicles but in the radar field.

Radar antennas

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).

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.[23][24]

Missiles

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.[25]

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 missiles launched two small monkeys into space in a nose cone on a Jupiter; 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.[26]

Space boosters

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

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.[27]

Daimler Chrysler

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.[28] To the surprise of many stockholders, Daimler subsequently acquired Chrysler in a stock swap,[29] after the retirement of Chrysler CEO Bob Eaton. Under DaimlerChrysler, the company was named DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC, with its US operations generally called the "Chrysler Group". 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.[30] The deal was finalized on August 3, 2007.[31] On April 27, 2009, Daimler AG signed a binding agreement to give up its remaining 19.9% stake in Chrysler LLC to Cerberus Capital Management and pay as much as $600 million into the automaker's pension fund.[32]

The sale of substantially all of Chrysler's assets to "New Chrysler", organized as Chrysler Group LLC was completed on 10 June 2009. The federal government provided support for the deal with US$6.6 billion in financing, which was paid to "Old Chrysler", and a newly formed company called Old Carco LLC took over the remaining assets and liabilities, which remained in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[33] This transfer excluded eight manufacturing sites, the majority of real estate holdings, and equipment leases. Contracts with 789 dealers in the US were also excluded.[34][35] On May 24, 2011, Chrysler repaid its $7.6 billion loans to the United States and Canadian governments.[36]

Corporate organization

Executive management

  • Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Richard Palmer, Chief Financial Officer
  • Reid Bigland, Dodge brand; U.S. sales chief & President and CEO Chrysler Canada[37]
  • Fred Diaz, Ram brand; Chrysler Mexico/Latin America[37]
  • Olivier Francois, Chrysler brand and marketing
  • Ralph Gilles, Design and SRT brand[37]
  • Michael Manley, Jeep and international sales
  • Pietro Gorlier, Mopar parts and service

Source:[38]

Mopar

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

Brands

The Dodge Ram, one of Chrysler's best selling vehicles[39]
  • United States Chrysler — Passenger cars, minivan
  • United States Dodge — Passenger cars, minivan, crossover, and SUV
  • United States Ram — Trucks and commercial vehicles
  • United States Jeep — Off-road vehicles, SUVs and crossovers

PHEV Research Center

Chrysler is in the Advisory Council of the PHEV Research Center.

Chrysler Uconnect Web

Chrysler LLC Uconnect Web is a system that brings wireless Internet connectivity to any Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep vehicle, via a wi-fi "hot-spot". According to Chrysler LLC, the hotspot range will extend approximately 100 feet (30 m) from the vehicle in all directions, and will combine both WiFi and 3G cellular connectivity. Uconnect is available on several current and was available on several discontinued Chrysler models including the Chrysler 300, Aspen, Sebring, Town and Country, Dodge Avenger, Caliber, Grand Caravan, Challenger, Charger, Journey, Nitro, and Ram.[40]

Fiat

Fiat Auto plans to sell seven of its vehicles in the US 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.[41]

Sales and marketing

Domestic sales

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.[42]

Global sales

Chrysler is the smallest of the "Big Three" US automakers (Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors). Chrysler is the world's 16th largest vehicle manufacturer as ranked by OICA in 2009.[43] Total Chrysler vehicle production was about 0.96 million that year.

Marketing

Calendar Year US Chrysler Sales  %Chg/yr.
1999[44] 2,638,561
2000 2,522,695 decrease4.4%
2001[45] 2,273,208 decrease9.9%
2002[46] 2,205,446 decrease3%
2003 2,127,451 decrease3.5%
2004[47] 2,206,024 increase3.7%
2005[47] 2,304,833 increase4.5%
2006[39] 2,142,505 decrease7%
2007[39] 2,076,650 decrease3.1%
2008[48] 1,453,122 decrease30%
2009[49] 931,402 decrease36%
2010[50] 1,085,211 increase17%

In 2007, Chrysler began to offer vehicle lifetime powertrain warranty for the first registered owner or retail lessee.[51] The deal covered owner or lessee in US, 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.[52] After Chrysler's restructuring, the warranty program was replaced by five-year/100,000 mile transferrable warranty for 2010 or later vehicles.[53] As of October 5, 2009, Dodge's car and truck line are now split into two, "Dodge" for cars, minivans and crossovers and "Ram" for light and medium duty trucks and other commercial-use vehicles.[54]

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.[55]

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.[56]

Environmental initiatives

Electric vehicles

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, this minivan did not gain much popularity throughout its lifetime. In 1997, a second generation, called the EPIC, was released. It was discontinued after 1999.

Chrysler intended 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.[citation needed]

Chrysler LLC brought a wide range of green vehicles to the Detroit Auto Show, including three concept vehicles that incorporate electric drive technologies:

  1. 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 mph (97 km/h) in less than six seconds and has a range of at least 250 miles (400 km). There is also a plug-in hybrid electric version.
  2. The Chrysler ecoVoyager concept combines a similar battery pack and motor with a small hydrogen fuel cell to achieve a 300-mile (480 km) range. The vehicle can travel about 40 miles (64 km) on battery power alone and can accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than eight seconds.
  3. The Jeep Renegade concept, a plug-in hybrid, combines a lithium-ion battery pack with dual 200 kW (270 hp) electric motors on each axle. The Jeep can travel 40 miles (64 km) on battery power alone and can travel 400 miles (640 km) with the help of its 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder clean diesel engine. The vehicle features a lightweight aluminum architecture.

Chrysler is also currently planning at least three hybrid vehicles, the Chrysler Aspen hybrid, Dodge Durango hybrid, and the Dodge Ram hybrid including HEMI engines.

Chrysler has also been experimenting with a Hybrid Diesel truck for military applications.

Chrysler has debuted:[57][58]

  • the Dodge EV, an all electric sports car based on the Lotus Europa, with plans for a 120 mph (190 km/h) top speed and a range of 150 to 200 miles (240–320 km).
  • plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), jolting the PHEV mass-production race:[59]
    • the Chrysler EV, a series plug-in hybrid with 40-mile (64 km) 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, Chrysler unveiled the 200C EV Concept, a sports sedan with an all-electric range of 40 miles (64 km) and an extended range of about 400 miles (640 km). 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.[60]

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.[61]

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."[59]

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."[59]

We chose a technology -- one in which we had the most experience, and which is most accessible to the consumer, and that's electricity.

See also

Countries

References

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