Failing automakers Hudson and Nash merged their fortunes to become American Motors Corporation, hoping that they could reap some economies of scale. Eventually, due to slow sales for their overweight cars, they were bought by Renault, partly to increase Renault's sales in the US. Renault's attempt failed, and Chrysler, under "buy and sell" Iaccoca, bought AMC.
Iaccoca, for unknown reasons, dropped the AMC name, replacing it with Eagle - after a heavy 4x4 compact car - in 1988; the brand was dropped in 1998.
Chrysler was contractually obligated to sell Renaults after buying AMC, leading to the AMC Premier (renamed Eagle Premier in mid-1988). Built in Bramalea (Ontario), it was the roomiest car in its class and quite aerodynamic. Its 3 liter, European, MPI V-6 and four-speed automatic were reportedly quite nice to drive, with 150 hp @ 5,000 rpm and 171 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.
Sales were slow, partly because Eagle dealers were selling odds and ends: leftover AMCs, the Renault/AMC hybrid, the odd Mitsubishi, an LH (each depending on the year). Mainly, Eagle was a sideshow to Jeeps. Eventually, in October 1997, Chrysler announced it would end the Eagle name and franchise in 1998.
The Eagle Vision replaced the Premier, which was the main cornerstone of the Eagle brand. (whether it--Premier--was a worthy one or not can be debated). Eagle was supposed to try and capture import buyers.
In the late 1980s, the Grand Wagoneer’s buyers had the highest average income of ANY American vehicle. Cherokee held a spot equal to Cadillac Deville buyers (median income around $50k). Chrysler saw that the people who bought these vehicles didn't have Chryslers or even Lincolns in the gargage next to the Jeep. Volvo, Mercedes, Audi, etc were the garage roommates of the Cherokees and Grand Wagoneers. Chrysler said, why can't we provide a car that those people would consider buying while they're at the Jeep dealer instead of losing those sales to Volvo, Audi, etc. If Jeep is attracting those 'type' of buyers, why can't we do the same with a car line?
That is what the Premier was supposed to do, and the Vision, and the 300M (which was originally going to be an Eagle).
The Summit (Colt/Mirage) was a stop-gap model intended to give Alliance/Encore owners somewhere to go for a few years. The Medallion (R21) they were stuck with for a couple of years due to legal issues with Renault.
The Premier seemed unsure of what its mission was. Chrysler aimed the low line models against Taurus, and the ES and Limited ones against Acura and Volvo. I think confusion reigned because of it.
Eagle ended up competing against corresponding Chrysler and Dodge models. In the 1990s, the decision was made to eventually dual Jeep-Eagle with Chrysler-Plymouth, leading to the long-term goal of phase-out of the Eagle brand and eventually Plymouth. Chrysler-Jeep would become the "upper-crust" division.
Eagle Premier | Eagle Vision | Eagle Summit
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