Founded by visionary executive Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, Chrysler launched with a highly-advanced, but surprisingly affordable six-cylinder passenger car. The lineup was soon expanded with Chryslers introduction and acquisition of other brands, but the Chrysler division became the parent companys flagship brand. Considered a peer of Cadillac and Lincoln for many years, Chrysler was renowned for innovation and performance.
As a general sense of...
apathy set into Detroit in the 1970s, Chryslers stature began to diminish. By the 1980s, the automaker and its namesake division were saved by the humble K-car platform, which brought with it iterations including the highly successful minivan.
Chrysler Corporation bought American Motors, briefly merged with Germanys Daimler and, in 2009, was acquired by Italys Fiat, so the automakers namesake brand has taken a decidedly whirlwind international tour.
Todays Chrysler lineup is anchored at the top by the boldly-styled Chrysler 300, one of the few critically-acclaimed products to emerge from DaimlerChrysler. As a result, Chrysler has been pushed further upmarket in the last couple of years than it was in the 1980s and 1990s; although it still remains below Cadillac on the Detroit status ladder, it is noticeably more premium than Dodge or Ford.
Fiats grand plan is to integrate its Italian Lancia division with Chrysler to create a style-focused premium brand with some product overlap. Chrysler will receive some Lancia-designed models in North America, while the reverse will occur in Europe.
Just how this merger will shake out in terms of future products is unknown, but most critics suggest that Chrysler is looking at its brightest future ever.