Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. vii

LIST OF TABLES

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. x

read more

PREFACE

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xii

The origins of this book go back to late 1980, when I took on the monumental task of documenting the sprawling Dodge Main factory complex in Hamtramck, Michigan, before its demolition. This was my first venture into Chrysler Corporation history, from which I quickly learned of the absence of any reliable business history of this important American corporation. I later documented Chrysler’s Jefferson Avenue factory in Detroit and the company’s headquarters and engineering complex in Highland..

read more

INTRODUCTION

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xiii-xv

The Chrysler Corporation, established in 1925, was the last of the ‘‘Big Three’’ American producers to enter the automobile industry, twenty-two years after the Ford Motor Company and seventeen years after the General Motors Corporation. Unlike Ford, which began as a cash-strapped newborn, or General Motors, which started off as a giant combination of dozens of automobile producers and suppliers, Chrysler...

ABBREVIATIONS

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. xvi

read more

1. From Railroad Shop Sweeper to Second-in-Command at General Motors: The Early Life and Career of Walter Percy Chrysler

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-14

In December 1907, the Chicago & Great Western Railroad named 33-year-old Walter P. Chrysler superintendent of motive power, with the responsibility of managing the railroad’s locomotives and near 10,000 men. He was the youngest man ever to hold this position. Walter and his wife, Della Forker, enjoyed a comfortable life with their two children (Thelma and Bernice) in Oelwein, in the northeastern part of Iowa. His new job paid him a salary of $350 a month, respectable pay at..

read more

2. Roots: Willys-Overland, Chalmers, and Maxwell

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 15-28

Chrysler Corporation descended from three pioneer automobile companies— Willys-Overland, Chalmers, and Maxwell—which struggled in a highly competitive industry and survived only because of Walter P. Chrysler’s business genius. Their histories illustrate the difficulty of achieving longterm success in the adolescent...

read more

3. Walter Chrysler’s Car and His Company, 1924–27

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-44

At the New York Automobile Show of January 1924, Walter Chrysler realized his long-delayed dream of introducing a new car of superior design bearing his name. The Chrysler Six, with a host of advanced features and a stylish look, was an instant success and propelled Chrysler onto the automobile industry’s center stage. With Chrysler cars producing growing sales and profits, the Maxwell models disappeared—along with the..

read more

4. The Dodge Brothers and Their Company

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 45-60

The lead article in Automotive Industries on 9 June 1928, ‘‘Dodge-Chrysler Merger Unites Two Great Properties,’’ described the Chrysler purchase of Dodge as ‘‘one of the most startling developments in many years.’’1 Chrysler Corporation, with assets of about $104 million at the close of 1927, had bought Dodge Brothers, with...

read more

5. Dodge Brothers in the 1920s

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 61-72

The Dodge brothers’ company survived without its founders and continued to produce cars and trucks profitably through the 1920s, but it struggled much of the time. Frederick J. Haynes, groomed by the Dodges to run the company, took control in 1920 and served as an effective leader until 1925. Dodge Brothers enjoyed considerable success...

read more

6. Success and Struggle, 1928–33

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 73-86

During the six years that began with the merger of Chrysler and Dodge Brothers in 1928, Chrysler Corporation experienced an intense roller-coaster ride of exhilarating successes in 1928 and 1929, followed by lost sales and profits from 1930 to 1933, the trough of the Great Depression. Still, its performance was nevertheless remarkably strong. Chrysler rebounded more rapidly than the other automakers, largely on the strength....

read more

7. Chrysler in the Mid-1930s

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 87-110

Much of Chrysler’s history in the mid-1930s centered around the serious miscalculation called Airflow, which could have sent Chrysler to its grave in 1934–37, even as the rest of the auto industry enjoyed economic recovery. The Chrysler Corporation introduced its revolutionary Airflow cars in 1934 in its Chrysler and DeSoto lines. Walter Chrysler, the ‘‘Three Musketeers,’’ and other top company officials believed that Airflow would push Chrysler to leadership in the industry. Instead..

read more

8. Chrysler in the Late 1930s

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 111-126

The Chrysler Corporation faced serious and ever-changing challenges during the brief period from 1937 through the end of 1940. For the first time, the corporation had to contend with a well-organized, militant, and increasingly entrenched labor union representing its production workers. After enjoying substantial economic recovery through 1937, Chrysler and the rest of the auto industry faced another..

read more

9. Chrysler in the Second World War

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 127-148

Well before the United States officially entered the Second World War as a combatant, Chrysler Corporation began to manufacture a variety of military hardware and equipment. By early 1942, the automaker converted to making war goods exclusively. Wartime production profoundly affected Chrysler. Manufacturing entirely new products created enormous problems for Chrysler’s engineers, managers, and production workers. Chrysler’s managers and engineers cooperated with government...

read more

10. Postwar Recovery and Crisis, 1945–50

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 149-160

Chrysler Corporation’s successes of the late 1930s and during the Second World War gave way to a series of chronic problems that plagued the automaker for more than a decade after the end of the war: lingering difficulties in returning to civilian production; unimaginative, unappealing new products until the appearance of the ‘‘Forward Look’’ cars for the 1955 model year; an aging management and an outdated...

read more

11. The Tex Colbert Era, 1950–61

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 161-186

The Chrysler Corporation remade itself in many respects during the Tex Colbert era, but with mixed results. The transition to a new management team and a new management structure was painfully slow and difficult. Chrysler Corporation also diversified in significant ways during the 1950s—it again became a significant defense contractor, making tanks, trucks, and missile systems. The company did not do..

read more

12. The Lynn Townsend Era: The Fat Years, 1961–68

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 187-206

Lynn A. Townsend became president of Chrysler Corporation on 27 July 1961, at age 42, following the resignation of L. L. Colbert as president and chairman of the board. Two months later, on 21 September 1961, George H. Love filled the position of chairman of the board. This was both a symbolic and a substantive changing of the guard at Chrysler. Colbert was the last president to have worked with Walter..

read more

13. The Lynn Townsend Era: The Lean Years, 1969–79

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 207-232

In sharp contrast to his early tenure at Chrysler, Lynn Townsend’s later years saw little success and much disappointment in the company’s performance. His management systems and his management style corrected many fundamental weaknesses the company faced in 1961 when he assumed the presidency. In many respects, his first seven years were easy ones because he could quickly fix glaring problems such as..

read more

14. Lee to the Rescue, 1978–83

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 233-262

Between the appointment of Lee Iacocca as its president on 2 November 1978 and the end of 1983, the Chrysler Corporation went through a traumatic and turbulent reversal in its fortunes. In five years, the nearly dead automaker revived and was well on the road to a healthy future life. Day-to-day accounts of those times can be found in several excellent books and will not be repeated here.1 In many important...

read more

15. Lee’s Company, 1984–92

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 263-294

The Chrysler Corporation enjoyed mixed success during Lee Iacocca’s final nine years as chairman. The company earned more than $1 billion each year for the half-decade of 1984 to 1988. From the peak earnings of $2.38 billion in 1984, however, profits fell every year through 1991, when the automaker suffered losses of $795 million, the first time it had finished in the red since 1981. After making a profit of $723 million in ...

read more

16. Chrysler into DaimlerChrysler, 1993–2002

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 295-314

Robert Eaton succeeded Lee Iacocca as chairman of the Chrysler Corporation on 1 January 1993 and was at the helm for the next six years. During his tenure, Chrysler introduced a steady stream of extremely popular and profitable products ranging from the high-powered Viper sports car to the subcompact Neon. The dynamic, innovative, forward-looking management team assembled earlier by Iacocca—including Robert Lutz, Francois Castaing, Thomas Gale, and others— remained firmly...

read more

Conclusion: Chrysler Corporation: A Retrospective

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 315-318

Chrysler’s history consists of four distinct segments. The first included the early success and rapid growth of the company between 1925 and 1935 under the visionary leadership of Walter P. Chrysler. The second, extending from 1935 through 1950, was a period when the company struggled and barely maintained its position as the number two producer. The third period, from 1950 to 1978, was largely a time...

NOTES

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 319-370

INDEX

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 371-390