The All-American automotive brand, known as Chrysler (and soon to be Stellantis) was founded in June 1925 and became known as one of the ‘Big Three’ in the U.S) market with other famous brands like General Motors and Ford. Throughout the years, the company has struggled to stay afloat for one reason or another, but somehow, the Chrysler was always able to rebrand itself with a new model that resonated with car enthusiasts and families alike. Here are 5 Cars That Nearly Ended Chrysler’s Legacy and 5 That Saved it.
Cars That Nearly Killed Chrysler
2007 Chrysler Sebring
This midsize sedan toughed it out for about a decade after its 1995 debut. The Sebring got a lot of flack, and not necessarily because it was a bad car, but simply because it brought nothing new to the table, especially in the sea of other sedans during that time that was considered pretty bland and unimportant. It didn’t do much to stand out and didn’t even attempt to trick buyers into believing that it was a great vehicle with its lackluster looks. Therefore, by the time Chrysler finally decided to do away with the Sebring, no one even noticed that it was gone…or perhaps even existed.
Chrysler TC By Maserati
This downfall of this 1988 Chrysler model took an unexpected turn for the worse mainly because the brand found great success from its K-Platform. The overall idea was to combine the company’s engine with a Maserati body, but ultimately the car was heavily panned by automotive journalists for apparently “taking the worst from each partner.” One big criticism was the fact that the TC vehicle seemed to have similarities to the LeBaron GTC convertible, which less inexpensive. Other deterrents included a lack of choices for exterior colors and ultimately second-rate engine performance. Chrysler was only able to sell 7,300 units its 3-year production, as opposed to their estimate of between 5,000 to 10,000 per year.
2004 Chrysler Pacifica
It might be surprising to know that the Pacifica minivan that we all know and love today didn’t always get such a great reception, specifically its 2004 model. These early models were humorously nicknamed ‘engine-dropper’. This harsh nickname was characterized by the real prospect that the engine could actually fall out of the car. Since the engine cradle was highly susceptible to rust and could rise to a level where it couldn’t even support the weight of the engine. Needless to say, this really ruffled feathers with buyers and even led to quite a few lawsuits against the Chrysler. Besides the rust, the original Pacifica models were pretty uninspiring and didn’t translate well in sales.
2007 Dodge Caliber
The 2007 Dodge arrived when Chrysler was tackling significant financial trouble and simply didn’t offer much pizzaz that would save the day. This dull SUV was chastised for being unnecessarily loud, heedless of what engine option the buyer chooses. Some might have even simply ignored the noise if the engine performance was worth getting excited about, but driving this vehicle just felt ridiculous.
Chrysler Aspen Hybrid
Many people felt that the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid was a purposeless vehicle, and it was predictable that it wouldn’t even last a year after its initial debut. It was pretty much the equivalent to a BlockBuster store trying to one-up Netflix since it had strong comparisons to the Dodge Durango but was covered with plastic and unauthentic wood finishing. There were reports that the company already spent past their budget during the production of these models, therefore, it seemed perplexing as to why they would continue to try to produce them. Sales proved to be stagnant and the combination of the 2009 economic recession ultimately led to the Aspen’s demise.
Cars That Saved Chrysler
The very first Caravan is best hailed as not just the car that rescued the Chrysler but also the one that ignited the birth of the minivan. The idea of the minivan concept was summoned up by the company’s CEO, Lee Iacocca, who initially presented it at Ford but it was rejected. At Chrysler, he was able to bring his concept to fruition and was greatly rewarded by the success of the 1984 Dodge Caravan, with over 14.6 million units that have been sold since 1983.
The compact Omni car had a successful reign for 13 years after its release in 1977. It drew inspiration from the European Chrysler Horizon and was even one of the first front-wheel-drive economy cars made and sold in North America. The Omni essentially came to Chrysler’s rescue, when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy and turned to government support just to keep afloat. This compact was used as evidence that it was making affordable and fuel-efficient cars to compete with imports that were dominating the market at the time. In the end, the Chrysler Omni became a smash hit in the automotive market in the years approaching the debut of the ever famous K-cars.
The Dodge Aries was developed upon the famous K-Car platform and relished in great success as a result. The platform of the K-Car is characterized as a car made to lodge 6 passengers across 2 bench-style seats. During this time, the traditional arrangement could only accommodate 5 passengers, which significantly contributed to the popularity of the K-platform. At first, customers weren’t too pleased with the high price tag, but the company responded quickly to the criticism by dropping down to a more wallet-friendly price.
Chrysler hit the bulls-eye with the Dodge Challenger, and it continues to be one of the most well-known vehicles from Chrysler and even in the automotive industry. In spite of numerous changes made by the parent company, Daimler, it continues to provide top-notch performance. Since its first introduction in 1970, there have been three generations that continue to produce much-need revenue to the company, even when having to play a tough match of tug-of-war from rivals like the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro.
1982 Chrysler LeBaron
Last but not least, Chrysler’s 1982 Lebaron is considered the top-dog of the K-cars that helped to elevate the company during hard times. It aided Chrysler’s relaunching the convertible market after a lengthy absence. Compared to its predecessor, the Lebaron’s length was trimmed off by two feet. Also, a jaw-dropping 362kg of weight was also removed, which meant gas mileage greatly improved, a very enticing development during that time.
Miami Lakes Chrysler
Today, Chrysler has earned numerous awards with its dynamic and technologically savvy 2020 Chrysler Pacifica and 2020 Pacifica Hybrid. Miami Lakes Automall is currently selling these models for around $40,000, (plus destination fee). Those who are interested in any of these models can simply view our online new car inventory and chat with a representative for further assistance.