by Gerard Wilson
For details on production records and how these numbers were calculated, see the first article in this series, “Plymouth US Production Figures 1946-2001.” These tables are not definitive or fully accurate, but are the best I could do with the available information. I would welcome correspondence with anyone who is interested in this material and can correct any errors or misinformation on my part.
— Gerard Wilson, June 2013
Editor’s note: totals are for models or model groupings by generation. In some cases, totals may not be included on a chart, but will be found on the next chart. In other cases, totals on one chart include cars from a prior chart. This is unavoidable if we are to have reasonably sized tables.
The 1946-48 cars from nearly all automakers were essentially prewar models, somewhat upgraded; the need to convert factories from a wartime footing led the major companies to produce cars as quickly as they could, knowing that demand would be strong no matter what the product was.
The entries for the C38 standard and C38 long wheelbase models are in italics because the serial numbers do not distinguish between the the two. The annual total for the two combined is the U.S. serial number total; the annual total for each is estimated to be proportional to the model year total reported by Chrysler, which aggregates U.S. and Canadian production for the entire 1946 - 1948 model cycle. The model year total for the cycle was used to apportion the C38 and C38 serial numbers. The model year total exceeds the serial number total, for the whole period and both nations, by 3,095 cars.
The standard C38 and 38 Town & Country models had a 3.1 meter wheelbase. Town & Country entries are serial numbers. The C38 Royal and Windsor 8 passenger sedans had a 3.5 meter wheelbase. (For non-metric measurements, see our other Chrysler history pages, called out at the end of each section.)
The C39 New Yorker and Town & Country were more luxurious straight-8 cars, with a longer wheelbase than the Royals and Windsors to accommodate the longer engine. Entries are compiled from serial numbers, which are slightly adjusted to equal the model year total for the three year cycle.
The C40 was a large custom-built limousine with an interior hand-assembled from quality materials. The wheelbase was 3.7 meters, and because it used the same heavy 5.3 liter engine as the Saratoga and New Yorker, forward movement was stately. Although the serial number total over the three year cycle is 1.430 units, the total here is the model year total.
Chrysler products for 1949 - 1952 had an old-fashioned short-length, tall-height configuration designed for optimum interior space, in contrast to the lower and longer products introduced by other makes. For the C45, C51, and C55, the standard and 8 passenger models are in the same series; the numbers here are estimated from the model year totals, which combine Canadian and U.S. production, and 1951 and 1952 production. These cars used a 3.2 meter wheelbase. The C55 Saratoga had the 5.4 liter “Firepower” overhead-valve “Hemi” V8, the lightest and fastest model to receive this engine for 1951. As before, the C51/C55 8 passenger sedans were built on a 3.5 meter wheelbase.
The C46, C49, C52 and C54 were the Chrysler luxury models, solid, spacious, durable automobiles. They used a 3.3 meter wheelbase, and for 1951 - 1952 received the V8. Model year production is from serial number totals. Model year production for the C47/C50/C53 Crown Imperials is model year production, which differs slightly from serial numbers.
The replacement of the straight-eight with the V8 allowed Chrysler to consolidate Windsor and New Yorker models on the 3.2 meter wheelbase. While the cars were restyled with a one piece windshield, new rear window, and integrated rear fenders, they still appeared dated as competitors moved on. Model year totals are used, apportioned between U.S. and Canada by serial numbers.
The Custom Imperial hardtop and sedan for 1953 and 1954 used a 3.3 meter and 3.4 meter wheelbase, the Crown Imperial used a 3.7 meter wheelbase. Imperials, like Packards, may have been aesthetically passé, but their conservative, dignified presence and rarity more than compensated for the discerning few. Model year totals are serial numbers, with minor adjustments to correspond with official production totals.
All Chrysler products underwent a complete transformation for 1955 - 1956 in what was called the “hundred million dollar look.” They were the first Chrysler products for which design, not function, was the first priority. The Chrysler brand vehicles were all built on the same chassis and had powerful standard V8 engines.
The C300 and 300-B were luxuriously appointed high-performance hardtops to showcase Chrysler performance (the “300” stood for “300 horsepower,” the most powerful standard engine from any American make in 1955). The series would continue for many more letters, standing with Imperial at the top of the Chrysler lineup, and competing for some years with the best in the world.
Totals for 1955 and 1956 are U.S. serial numbers, adjusted to equal the dual country model year totals.
These stylish cars gave way to an even more dramatic transformation, the “Forward Look” for 1957 - 1959 (the initial tagline: “Suddenly it’s 1960.”) Chrysler had the most advanced-design cars on the market, but they were completely undone by inadequate engineering and poor assembly quality. The resulting problems on brand new cars permanently erased Chrysler’s formerly solid reputation for quality engineering. Models for 1958 and 1959 remedied the worst defects, but confidence in the company would take time to recover. Numbers for 1957-1959 are from corporate records.
The 1957 Windsor was built on the same 3.2 meter wheelbase as the other Chryslers, but for 1958 - 1959 it used the 3.1 meter chassis of the about-to-be-discontinued Desoto Firedome/Fireflite/Adventurer.
Yet another dramatic transformation occurred at Chrysler for 1960: not only were all the products (except Imperial) now semi-unibody and completely new, requiring a major investment in the assembly plants, but the dealer networks were rationalized for the first time. The Windsor (1960 - 1961), Newport (1961 - 1962) were lower -priced Chryslers, intended to replace the Desoto and built on a 3.1 meter unibody. The 300 and 300 H were added in 1962. Model year production from Wards.
The Chrysler Saratoga and 300-F (1960), 300 - G (1961) and New Yorker (1960 - 1962) were the luxury Chryslers, built on a 3.2 meter wheelbase unibody. The letter series moved to the shorter wheelbase when long wheelbase coupes and convertibles were dropped after 1961. Model year production for 1960 is model year total (less Canadian Saratoga), thereafter from Wards.
The 1963 - 1964 Chryslers were the last to be designed under Virgil Exner's influence. They were not much larger than the previous Newport/300, but the styling made them appear larger than they were. Quality and public confidence in Chrysler were increasing, and so were sales. Model year totals are from Wards.
The 1965 - 1966 Chryslers were designed by Elwood P Engel. They were strong designs, and quickly set a postwar production record for their two year model cycle. The last letter series (300L) was built in 1965. Model year production from sources cited.
Windsor and New Yorker Town & Country wagons (1965) and Town & Country wagons (1966) were built on a separate wagon platform, 3.07 meter wheelbase, also used for Dodge and Plymouth wagons. Model year production from sources cited.
Chrysler Newport, 300 and New Yorker models for 1967 - 1968 continued the line of massive yet graceful automobiles, perhaps more so than their competitors, in this period before federal standards began to shape automobile design and engineering. Model year totals are official data.
Chrysler Town & Country wagons, 1967 - 1968, continued to use a separate wagon unibody, now 3.1 meter wheelbase, also used for Dodge and Plymouth. Model year totals are official data.
The large Chrysler 300 (1969 - 1970), Newport and New Yorker (1969 - 1973) used a “fuselage” body side which was a graceful, jetliner-like curve from the base to the fenderline. The rear window was a graceful slope from roof to trunk. These cars set a production record for a U.S. - built Chrysler which has not been matched since. Model year production totals are official data, including exports.
The Town & Country wagons for 1969 - 1973 followed the fuselage theme on a 3.1 meter wheelbase wagon shell, also used for Dodge and Plymouth, a bit shorter than other Chrysler models. Model year production totals are official data, including exports.
A new Imperial, without a Chrysler badge, was introduced for 1969 and sold as an Imperial for one more year; then it became a Chrysler Imperial for 1971 - 1973, as Chrysler management ended its unsuccessful effort to establish the Imperial as a rival to Cadillac and Lincoln. In addition to the total shown in this table, an additional 33,893 units were built as Imperials for 1969 - 1970. Totals are from official data.
Chrysler introduced a new model cycle of large luxury cars for 1974 - 1978, including a Chrysler Imperial for 1974 - 1975. All of the 1974 - 1978 Newport, New Yorker, Town & Country, and Imperial cars were built on a 3.15 meter wheelbase unibody, meeting new safety requirements in a less obtrusive way than most other cars. Production volumes were down, as cars of this size and weight began a slow decline. Model year production totals are from published information.
The Lebaron, Fifth Avenue, and New Yorker Fifth Avenue (1977 - 1981, 1984 - 1989) were designated M bodies, but were just luxurious versions of the entry-level, F-body Volare/Aspen. The LeBaron was originally to be a smaller luxury car than the Newport at an equivalent price, but the failure of the R - body Newport/New Yorker made it the highest volume Chrysler for most of its life, which lasted through 1989. The coupe was built separately for 1980 - 1981; the wagon dropped after 1981. During the 1981 model year, production moved to Canada for 1982 - 1983, then back to the U.S.
Lower priced trim versions, and many fleet units diminished Chrysler's luxury image, but the volume generated helped the company greatly. Model year production compiled from monthly totals and changeover dates, generally consistent with published totals.
The R-body Newport and New Yorker, 1979 - 1981, were Chrysler's replacement for the 1974 - 1978 luxury cars; it was smaller and lighter, with equivalent passenger space. It was an excellent product, but the diminishing numbers of buyers favoring large semi-prestige cars went elsewhere. Model year totals are from published sources.
For 1980 - 1981, the LeBaron coupe used the 2.76 meter wheelbase version of the F body Volare/Aspen coupe, rather the 2.86 meter wheelbase used for all other M bodies, including the 1977 - 1979 coupes. Model year production of all 1980 - 1981 M bodies is estimated from monthly totals, changeover dates, and U.S. model year sales by body styles.
The K-body Le Baron, 1982 - 1989, was a four-cylinder front drive compact with a Chrysler badge and many “luxury” styling touches; it sustained the Chrysler brand during a difficult decade, inflicting some damage to the luxury image. Model year totals are as published.
The Executive sedan and limousine were based on the LeBaron, with sedan stretched 600 cm, Limousine to 3.3 meters, both fitted with a luxury interior. With their 2.6 liter Mitsubishi four-cylinder, they could not move the extra weight gracefully (Limousine got a turbocharged 2.2 later on, but it was still not enough). Model year production is from the Walter P. Chrysler News issue of 12/1989.
Production data is from Ward’s unless otherwise noted for this era.
The E -Class sedan (1983 - 1984), renamed New Yorker sedan (1985 - 1989), was a more practical evolution of the LeBaron K-car. The E - Class was more expensive than the Dodge and Plymouth E-bodies, yet outsold them both.
The Laser (1984 - 1986) was another derivative of the K - platform, in this instance a sporty coupe; it provided performance at a modest price, but not luxury. It was dropped after 1986 in favor of the more sedate J body LeBaron, more appropriate for Chrysler buyers (the Laser name went to Plymouth’s version of the Mitsubishi Eclipse). Chrysler Laser had a much longer life as the Dodge Daytona, sold in Canada as Chrysler Daytona (Daytona data is estimated).
The LeBaron GTS hatchback sedan (1985 - 1989), officially an H body, was the first departure from the strict K derivatives, though its platform and architecture were both based off the K. In base form, the sportiness was limited to the styling and hatchback configuration, but optional suspensions and turbocharged engines made the car a serious sport-luxury choice.
Yet another LeBaron, the J body LeBaron coupe (1987 - 1993) and convertible (1987 - 1995) were the most attractive Chryslers in many years. They were exclusive to Chrysler (no Dodge versions), and sold well as premium products. The effort to move them upscale was undermined by the inability to come up with a name other than LeBaron.
If it wasn’t a LeBaron, it was a New Yorker: the last E - body New Yorkers and the new C - body New Yorkers (1988 - 1993) were both produced and sold for 1988. The C body, was a quiet, conservative front drive luxury sedan which took over from the old M body in 1990, and was almost as successful. Dodge C - body sedans were sold as Chrysler Dynasty sedans in Canada, so Canadian sales of those cars are added here and subtracted from the Dodge Dynasty charts. Production of the New Yorker is compiled from monthly totals, changeover dates, and other information.
1989-94 cars below have production compiled from monthly totals and changeover dates except as noted.
The extended wheelbase Plymouth and Dodge vans went into production in 1987 and were selling well, so a premium version with a Chrysler badge was introduced in 1989 as the Town & Country. It was expensive, and few were produced, but subsequent versions would sell well.
One more New Yorker: the Y - body New Yorker Fifth Avenue/Imperial (1990 - 1993) models were the largest front drive Chrysler yet, and exclusive to Chrysler - there were no Dodge versions. Chrysler front drive had improved greatly in composure and agility, as demonstrated by these cars, but they sold only modestly. Model year production is from Wards.
One more LeBaron: the A - body LeBaron sedan (1990 - 1994) was the entry level Chrysler. It sold at a 50% premium to the Dodge and Plymouth versions, which were more simply styled but not essentially different from the Chrysler. Additional cars were imported from Mexico.
The popular Chrysler T body minivans were revised for 1991 with engineering and interior changes to maintain their popularity. The Town & Country, as before, was only available as an extended wheelbase (3.03 meters) van fully equipped, with few options. All the extended wheelbase vans were built in the U.S. during this period.
Also see 1992
Model year production compiled from monthly totals and changeover dates except when noted.
The Chrysler LH cars were a complete break from the template followed since 1981. Low, long, and wide, with the wheels pushed out as far as posssible, “cab forward” design gave Chrysler an edge to be followed by everyone else and revitalized Chrysler’s fortunes; the company’s stock price tripled shortly after the New York Times ran the first general-audience preview of the new cars. Almost all of the LH cars were built in Canada, but a few Concorde models were built in the U.S. for 1995 - 1996.
Following the engineering and design methods of the LH was the Cirrus, code JA, ( 1995 - 2000) an intermediate cab forward sedan. It was a distinctive sedan with a roomy interior and responsive handling at a reasonable price. The Chrysler version had a more powerful standard engine (from Mitsubishi), more compliant suspension, and quieter interior than the Plymouth and Dodge versions.
The Chrysler Neon (1996 - 1998) was a subcompact cab forward sedan built for export outside of North America. It had a standard luxury and engine enhancements not available on domestic Neons, including leather-covered seats; it was the first mass-market car sold in Britain with standard air conditioning, and one magazine called it the best car ever imported to the U.K. from the United States. For 2000, Neon was redesigned to be stronger and quieter than the first, retaining its agility.
The “NS” Town & Country vans (1996 - 2000) were influenced by the “cab forward” theme, maximizing space while lowering and widening the body. As before, the Town & Country was built in the U.S., but for 1996 -1999 a short wheelbase (2.8 meter) LX version joined the LXi long wheelbase (3.03 meter). There are no data for production of each version; so once getting production for both versions from monthly totals and changeover dates, we allocated numbers based on model-year sales ratios, a number different from model year production. In addition, for the 2000 model year, Voyagers and Grand Voyagers built between January and August 2000 were Chrysler Voyagers and Grand Voyagers. The number built was apportioned between the two based on U.S. model year sales.
Major events for Chrysler during this time were the shift from losses and pundits’ predictions of bankruptcy in the early 1990s to high profits and high critical acclaim throughout the 1990s, after the launch of the LH. In 1998, Chrysler agreed to be acquired by Daimler-Benz, ending its brief resurrection as a force to be reckoned with; but the impact was not to be seen outside the corporation until the year 2000.
* Chrysler Neon for export, not including Dodge and Plymouth Neon.** LX / Voyager was short wheelbase, LXi / Grand Voyager was long wheelbase. During the 2000 model year, Voyager switched from Plymouth to Chrysler, with January-August 2000-built minivans being Chrysler rather than Plymouth Voyagers. Given the Chrysler Voyager, no short wheelbase Town & Countries were made for the 2000 model year.
Model year production is compiled from monthly totals and changeover dates.
The 2001-2006 Sebring (JR) retained the cab - forward design of its predecessor, with a sturdier body structure, but the elimination of Plymouth led Chrysler to offer lower priced versions of its cars and vans to keep Chrysler dealers in business, even if they were now competing with Dodge. The base Chrysler Sebring was now priced only slightly above the Dodge Straus, the differences being mostly styling and perhaps softer suspension settings on the Chrysler.
The Sebring (JR) convertible, 2001 - 2006, remained a premium product with no Dodge counterpart. It was a comfortable, stylish four place convertible with a high level of equipment, aimed at a different buyer than the Mustang. Like its predecessor, Sebring Convertible garnered critical acclaim and was generally rated above other convertibles including Toyota Solara.
A disastrous replacement to the reputable Sebring occured in 2007, with the adoption of a Mitsubishi platform ordered by Stuttgart; long-time, reliable convertible top maker ASC was replaced by Karmann, allegedly to gain a new hard top. The result was moving a car that had been highly rated for a convertible in quality to the bottom of the charts. Despite more power, the car did not seem faster, and the newly stripped-down interior was not well received by buyers or critics. Convertible sales surged at first as buyers flocked to the hardtop, then fell dramatically.
The RS minivans (2001 - 2007) had a stronger body structure, dual sliding doors, improved interiors, suspension and engine upgrades. Because of the elimination of Plymouth, the Chrysler van had a broader price range, and would retain it until 2010.
Between 2001 and 2003, the standard wheelbase (2.88 meter) Chrysler van was the Voyager, renamed Town & Country for 2004 - 2007. This was an entry level van with limited options. They were built in the U.S. for model years 2001 - 2004, in the U.S. and Canada for 2005 - 2007. The larger ( 3.03 meter wheelbase) vans were always Town & Country, and were available with LX, LXi, Touring and Limited packages, depending upon the year. A few were built in the U.S. for 2001, but 2002 - 2004 models were built in Canada. For the 2005 - 2007 model year, both versions were built in both countries, and the LX and LXi designations were replaced, with SXT denoting the former medium-level Plymouth. For model years 2005 (production began in January 2004) through 2007, production is allocated between standard and extended wheelbase vans based on sales and equipment installation data for each. These entries are estimates, in italics.
The Prowler roadster (2002) was a single-year build out of the Plymouth Prowler roadster. An additional 10,267 Plymouth Prowlers were built between 1997 and 2001. Sales fell dramatically as soon as the Chrysler label was applied to the car which had been designed to rejuvenate the Plymouth brand.
* Short wheelbase (SWB) and long wheelbase (LWB)
The Town & Country was redesigned for 2008, jettisoning the different suspension tuning for Chrysler and Dodge, as well as the short-wheelbase version. A new engine, the 4.0 liter, was created from the existing powerplants, and coupled to a new six-speed automatic, which was based on the old four-speed. In 2009, retuning this powertrain made the 4.0 the most fuel efficient minivan on the domestic market, beating Chrysler’s own 3.3 and 3.8 powered vans. The American production plant for Chrysler minivans was closed down during 2009, with all production centralized in Canada.
Sebring was thoroughly renovated for 2011 and renamed Chrysler 200 to symbolize the change; it gained a new V6 engine, new suspension tuning, interior and exterior styling, seats, and a six-speed automatic. The end result looked and felt like a completely different car, and it gained positive reviews from those who actually drove it (not all reviewers did). Convertible sales remained low, though.
Also see Chrysler history by year
Also by Gerard Wilson: Chrysler 1945-48 • Chrysler 1949-52 • Chrysler 1953-54 • Chrysler 1955-56
and Production numbers and histories, 1946-onwards
Plymouth’s golden yearsRising through the early 1930s
Moving to front wheel driveStories of how and why it happened
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All Mopar Car and Truck News
Killing the buzzes
Dodge pickup trucks, 1961-71