Chrysler K cars were successful

economy : Chrysler - an eventful history

NEW YORK. Walter P. Chrysler had a good view. He owned an apartment in the Chrysler Building - the New York skyscraper that was the tallest skyscraper in the world in the early 1930s. Named after him, the Art Deco building still pays homage Today the classic automobiles of the 1920s, with ornaments that look like hood ornaments and a bonnet made of polished steel. Chrysler was hired by the automobile company Maxwell Motor Car in 1920 to save the ailing company. Chrysler was successful and baptized the company for five years later on without further ado - to Chrysler Corporation. This story of decline and rise would repeat itself several times in the course of the Chrysler Chronicle.

The hardest hit for Chrysler was the late 1970s, when Americans turned away from their gasoline-guzzling street cruisers in shock from the oil crisis, and US car buyers discovered that foreign cars were not only more economical, but European brands were design and technology and Japanese in In terms of quality, US producers had lost a lot of ground in the 1960s and 1970s when they were just fighting against each other. In the insular world of the motor city of Detroit, US companies had put on a lot of fat. Now got General Motors and Ford suffered billions in losses while Chrysler, financially the weakest, threatened bankruptcy in the late 1970s.

Lee Iacocca, whom Henry Ford II had shortly before called in as CEO, was hired to save the day. Iacocca, a hard-hitting man with folk hero qualities, accepted the challenge - for a starting annual salary of one dollar and the guarantee that one Success would make him rich. With an irresistible sales talent, he convinced the public and politicians of his strategy, which consisted of drastic cost reductions and the development of fuel-efficient front-wheel drive cars, the K-Cars. Furthermore, he reminded the unions that a bankruptcy of the traditional company thousands After heated discussions in the middle of a presidential election campaign, the union-affiliated Carter administration approved large loans in late 1980. Iacocca went straight to the point, closing 20 factories and halving the workforce. Suppliers and banks granted deferred payments, the unions accepted wage cuts -Cars w urden a surprise success and Chrysler was able to repay the government loans in the amount of 1.2 billion dollars early with interest.

Cost reductions and K-Cars would hardly have been enough to rehabilitate the company in the long term. Iacocca, who had already caused a sensation at Ford with the "Mustang", succeeded in another stroke of genius at Chrysler: He invented the mini-van. This spacious and practical one Vehicle, a mix of passenger cars and minibuses, was particularly popular with families in the suburbs. Chrysler's main business today is in mini-vans and pick-ups, where profits are much higher than those of cars, another building block for the long-term The success was the takeover of the smaller competitor American Motors, which brought the successful Jeep brand into the marriage, but then Iacocca followed a trend that other car managers with full corporate coffers were also succumbing to: With strategic acquisitions he wanted to reduce - and overturned - its dependence on the cyclical automotive business yourself.

Even Iacocca later admitted that he had got bogged down with this diversification strategy. At the end of the 1980s, the Chrysler cart was again in the mud. A cyclical slump in sales and the company's weak position in the passenger car sector were difficult to create. Only the popularity of the Jeeps and mini-vans kept the company afloat. In addition, capable managers who had hoped for the successor to Iacocca resigned. But Iacocca stuck to his chair and acted as a savior from the self-inflicted hardship with millions of wages and set ambitious cost-cutting targets. To do this, the company gradually sold its holdings and refocused on the auto business. It was not until 1992 that the Chrysler board of directors found the courage to meet folk hero and best-selling author Iacocca, who was identified with the company. to deport.

He was replaced by the inconspicuous engineer Robert Eaton, who had previously been under contract with General Motors for 29 years, most recently as European boss. He put solid management in place of star qualities. He also kept Robert Lutz in the company, who also worked Hopes for the Iacocca job had raised. Under the recently retired Lutz, Chrysler consistently expanded the product range and the design, which until then had only been a copy of the 80s models. Instead of crisis there were now overflowing coffers, the hostile takeover attempt by major shareholder Kirk Kerkorian with the help of Iacocca, but this attempt was repulsed.

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