Despite being one of the “Big Three” auto manufacturers in the 1920s through the 1960s, they struggled to adapt to changing markets following that period, changing hands multiple times between Fiat, Peugeot, and Daimler-Benz. However, in their earlier years, Chrysler was a force to be reckoned with in the American automotive space.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Chrysler was far ahead of their competition in terms of automobile engineering which earned them the reputation of being a quality brand. In the mid-1950s, Chrysler split into multiple tiers depending on price point. The least expensive and blue-collar option was Plymouth, followed by Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler, and Imperial in ascending order.
Chrysler was responsible for some interesting technology that challenged the automaker status quo at the time. For instance, Chrysler introduced their unique Hemi engine in the French Facel Vega, which would later be incorporated into vehicles like the Chrysler C-300. The 426 Hemi would later be implemented into B-body and E-body cars between 1964 and 1971. They were also the first manufacturer to introduce electronic fuel injection to production vehicles with the Chrysler 300D, Dodge D500, DeSoto Adventurer, and Plymouth Fury.
The 1970s proved to be a very difficult time for Chrysler, especially after the 1973 fuel crisis. They struggled to adapt to the new world of compact and eco-friendly cars. While the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant sold well during the time, it wasn’t enough to sustain the company. That eventually led to government aid to keep the company afloat. They would continue to struggle financially, seeking mergers with Daimler-Benz and Fiat.
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