Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge in Mexico
Mopars in Mexico have existed for almost as long as the Chrysler Corporation itself. Most Chrysler products were for sale in Mexico; and Mrs. Walter P. Chrysler visited the country.
An early production facility in Mexico City, the well-known Lago Alberto plant, was not closed until 2002, at which time it was producing trucks. U.S. components had been assembled along with Mexican ones to sell the finished product. A full line of Chryslers were available in the country, from Plymouths all the way to Imperials, in some years. One 60-year-old Chrysler dealership still has the owners’ 1958 Imperial in their showroom.
In the early 1960s, regulations forced car companies to assemble cars in Mexico, using local as well as imported components. The idea was to develop a national car industry in the country. We saw Mercedes Benz, Fiat, Citroen, and Volvo leave. The American Big Three remained along with American Motors, Volkswagen, and Datsun.
At that time Chrysler was well established in the country. It had good reputation and its cars were second to none. They were always perceived as technologically superior to Fords and GMs. In 1960-61 we had the Dodge Lancers, Valiants and Dodges like the Savoy. We also had the full-size Plymouths, namely the Belvedere; the Fury was never available here. Plymouth was somewhere between the smaller Valiant/Lancer and the Dodges. There were no Chryslers in the 1960s.
Through its affiliate Automex, Chrysler built the Valiant, by far the prettiest car in its class, in 1963. A luxury version not unlike the Signet was dubbed the Acapulco. The large Dart arrived in 1962 and was renamed to 330 in 1963; it had two and four door sedans and a station wagon. Plymouth was available with a six cylinder engine, 4 door sedans only. Dodges had six and eight cylinder engines, although the latter were the 318 "A" engines.
The 1964 and 1965 car lines were the same as in the U.S., except that the two-door Dodge became the 440 hardtop; 1964 Dodges had automatic transmissions, for the first time in Mexico.
In 1965 we saw the Barracuda, some of which had the 318 engine. It competed well against Ford's Mustang, but from the front you couldn't tell it apart from a Valiant Acapulco, with which it shared the grille, trim and interiors. The Barracuda was roomier and had a better engine than the Mustang. While being marketed as a "Valiant Barracuda" the trunk said "Plymouth," a brand that was dropped from 1965 to 1967. In 1968 and 1969 we saw the Plymouth Belvederes, only to be permanently deleted in 1970. We have not had a Plymouth again [In the 1990s and early 2000s, it appears that Plymouth models including Voyager and Breeze — the latter in Canadian form — were sold in at least part of Mexico, according to “AC.”]
The 1966 Coronet was also manufacturered by Automex. To comply with a new 60% local-content rule, which demanded that the engine, transmission, and rear axle all be made in Mexico, all Chrysler vehicles in 1966 had the slant six as the only engine. The only Coronet model was the Coronet 440. About 26,000 vehicles were made by Automex in 1966, including the more popular Valiants and trucks.
Trim selection was never as wide as in the states, and engine selection was reduced to the Slant Six and the 318 V8 (I'm not sure when the "A" 318 was changed to the "LA" 318). The Slant Six was the 170 hp version until at least the very late 1960s.
In 1967 the Barracuda at last had its own body shell and front and rear ends, which carried over until 1969.
In the late 1960s a Mexican partner was running Automex, when somebody had the brilliant idea of marketing the cars as "Los Bien Armados," "The Well-Assembled Ones." The timing for this could not have been worse, because production problems were causing poor quality. The good reputation of Dodge and Valiant deteriorated so much that Chrysler took over the whole operation, but it was too late, and the poor reputation of Chryslers persists even today.
1970 brought the Duster, sold as Valiant Duster; its sports version was the Super Bee, rather than the Barracuda, probably for cost reasons, as the Super Bee shared all its body major components with the Duster. The Super Bee had air ducts on top of the hood and a tach attached to the top of the left side air duct; it used a 318 V8 with a 4-bbl carb and a harder suspension, as well as a four-speed manual transmission with a Hurst gear shift lever. This was one fast car and on many occasions it blew the doors off Mustangs.
The two-door Dart was redesigned, although the 4-door sedan carried over with the same body since 1967 all the way to 1976. It could be had with with either a six or an eight cylinder engine, and there was also a sporty version with a console mounted gear shift lever and bucket seats.
The other big news in 1970 was the introduction of the Monaco in both two and four door versions as well a station wagon, all with only the 318 V8 engine available and automatic transmission. Monaco was to compete with Ford's Galaxie 500 and LTD and Chevrolet's Impala (and Caprice in 1975), but Monacos had a reputation for poor quality both in their assembly and performance. Dodge’s unit body construction made them noisier while driven on Mexican roads, which were (and still are) in terrible shape. The lack of body isolation quickly showed up with all sorts of body noises both in the inside and the outside of the passenger's cockpit, with trim falling down sometimes! But the stiffer torsion bar suspension fared much better than GM's and Ford's coils, and was easier to maintain; the car would stop wobbling way before Ford or Chevys.
In 1971 we saw carryovers except that the new Coronet was a 4-door sedan only, and it was smaller than its predecessor, emphasizing the difference with the Monaco. New for 1971 was the Dodge Charger in two versions, the basic one that came with a 225 Slant Six engine and the SE which had the 318 V8. Though expensive, it sold well and the V8 was fast, capable of very good acceleration and allegedly, a top speed on top of 120 mph.
1972 saw the demise of the Coronet, which was no longer brought into the country. That year the Monaco showed up with hidden headlights. Some people recalled the Coronet's 1967 hidden headlight fiasco, as the system was failure prone and difficult to repair many owners chose to leave the headlights showing. For 1972 the system was completely different, instead of having the whole headlight assembly rotate, it had solenoid-operated doors that opened and closed. In the event of any failure, the doors would drop, revealing the headlights.
The following year we saw the 5-mph bumpers appear in Mexico too, although they were not mandatory. Chrysler cars were carry-overs from 1972, with the exception of the usual front and rear end cosmetic changes brought forth by the new bumpers. In 1973 we no longer had the Charger. A first in the Mexican market was that Chrysler introduced electronic ignition in all its models.
A new Monaco was launched in 1974. For the first time, it had the 360 4-bbl carb and it came as a two-door hardtop, four door sedan and station wagon. It sold well despite a stagnant economy, and it had a decent set of factory equipment such as electric everything and A/C. The Super-Bee also got that engine down the road, but it didn't last long. The Darts also managed to keep the 318.
From 1974 to 1976, Dodge and Plymouth had kept the U.S. versions of the cars unchanged. Taking advantage of the lack of Plymouth in Mexico, Chrysler attached Plymouth noses and tail-lights to their cars in 1976 as their annual update.
In 1975 the Monaco became the Royal Monaco, available only as a two and four door sedan and station wagon. The rest of the cars were the same.
In 1976 the Super Bee had the 360 V8, making it by far the fastest Mexican car. A special version of a Valiant Super Bee was used by the Mexican Federal Highway Police. Those patrol cars were immensely successful and at the time it was hard to find anything faster. A Lamborhini Miura owner told me that a curious police officer raced his patrol car against his Lambo in a deserted stretch of Mexican Highway, and that the Valiant went head-to-head with the Lambo all the way.
1977 brought the final Monaco to Mexico as well as the U.S. By far the best looking of them all, it sold well once Mexico recovered from the effect of the 1976 peso devaluation and subsequent economic crisis and inflation. The new generation of Valiant and Dart, called Aspen and Volare, were brought to Mexico, but the Dart used the Volare nose and Aspen rear, and the Valiant used the Volare rear and Aspen nose. The Valiant was available only as a two-door sedan with the 225 Slant Six while the Dart had two or four doors, with the 225 Slant Six or the 360 V8, manual or automatic. The Super Bee lived on with its 360 4-bbl.
In 1978 the Chrysler LeBaron came; the radically different 2-door sedan had parking lights stacked neatly on top of the headlights, while the four door had a standard 360 4-bbl V8 and full luxury equipment. The Mexican market doesn't really reward technology over gadgets, so this car had every creature comfort ranging from ultra-comfortable seats to a great sound system, 15-inch wheels versus the 14-inchers of its more Spartan siblings, and a price tag to match.
Traffic in Mexico City was becoming impossible, so the LeBaron was right on target for those people who wanted a fully-equipped luxury sedan but did not want to drive around a behemoth like the Ford LTD or Chevy Caprice. The LeBaron was much smaller, yet it had everything the other cars had in a smaller, more maneuverable package that was easy to drive and to park. The success of the LeBaron prevailed until its demise in 1987.
Larger cars such as the St. Regis, Newport and New Yorker never made it South of the Border in those days, and were seen around only when driven by diplomats or tourists, or else in car magazines. Chrysler knew they had a winner with the LeBaron, whereas the St. Regis and/or its sister cars would have had to be pitted against the successful Caprice.
The Chrysler Cordoba made it to Mexico in 1980; it was said that many of those had been imported from the U.S. by the company, in a time when driving an imported car in Mexico was difficult to say the least. The Cordoba showed up only in 1980 and some were sold in 1981 and 1982. All of them had the 360 V8 and were in one trim level. The cars sold well initially but poor quality prevented them from making a difference in the market. LeBarons fared much better.
The Super Bee bowed goodbye at the end of the 1980 model year, replaced by the Dodge Magnum. The Magnum had the large 360 V8 4-bbl, sport wheels, bucket seats and four-speed manual transmission. It was very powerful and kept well the tradition left by the Super Bee. Chrysler also brought down the Diplomat as a Dart in 1980, in both two and four door versions, with six and eight cylinders, using the Aspen front clip.
Jesus David Morales noted that the three-on-the-tree (column mount manual shifter) was common in Mexico as late as 1982, used by both Dodge and Chevrolet. Most manual cars so equipped had no power steering or brakes, and were equipped with the Mexican version of the Super Six. Hubcaps shown below were typical of Mexican Dodge F and M bodies from 1978 to 1982; the hood ornament was present on every car, regardless of trim level.
The Dart name continued through 1989, when the “E body Dart” (E body with 1987 LeBaron front clip) was dropped. The 1981 and 1982 Volare were exactly the same car as the 1980 Dart, except that they used a 1980 Volare (not Aspen) front clip.
Mexico had many problems starting in February 1982 with a massive currency devaluation, which all but stopped economic activity in the country. By then Chrysler had deleted all its car lines and the K-car was already being sold in the U.S. Timing couldn't have been better in Mexico, because the K-car was exactly the car to buy in the middle of a crisis.
The Aries/Reliant were good sellers; the Aries came in as a Dart with the Reliant's front end, in two and four door versions, with 4-speed manul transmission or 3-speed automatic which made the car terribly slow. The Reliant was a Valiant. It only came in the two door version and standard transmission although some automatics might have made it to the market. These cars were a huge success and competed well against Chevy's Citation and Celebrity, both of which had V6s.
The new front wheel drive LeBaron was launched in 1983, in both body styles, two and four door. It repeated its predecessor's success back in 1978: a car fully loaded with options that would be easy to drive in what was now heavy traffic, and was economical at the pump too, as gas prices in Mexico were (and still are) more expensive than in the U.S.
In 1984 Chrysler launched its turbocharged engines, which became instantly successful in Mexico, where as said before, people don't care too much about car technology. For the general market it was nothing short of a miracle that four bangers had power to match larger V8s, of which only Mustangs and Grand Marquises remained in the country. Notwithstanding rumors spread by ignorant car mechanics and probably the competition, Chryslers famous 2.2 liter turbo engine proved to be as reliable as its normally-aspirated counterpart. Until 1992, these little cars remained the country's fastest vehicles.
In 1985 we saw the introduction of the front wheel drive Magnum, taking advantage of the nose lift in the K-car series as well as the larger rear window. The Magnum had a 2.2-liter engine, 5-speed manual gearbox, sports wheels and wider tires. It sold very well in a market that was literally screaming for a sports car after GM discontinued the X-11 and Ford discontinued the Mustang.
The New Yorker name was resurrected in 1986 when the E-body came to Mexico. This new car capitalized again on the LeBaron's success and was a best seller because without being too much larger than the LeBaron, it was still a highly maneuverable car in the city, and because it had a longer wheelbase, the ride was also improved.
In 1986 we also saw the K-bodied Dart disappear and the new E-Body Dodge 600 appear as a Dart. The car was successful and this time it got the 2.5-liter engine. It was carried over until 1989, and the only change in the meantime was the grille, which Chrysler execs here decided was to be the one of the 1986 LeBaron, which was gone with the 1986 model year.
By far the most significant car to be introduced in 1986 was the new LeBaron, which was called Phantom in Mexico. It was another success in every aspect.
In 1988 the highway police drove E-body Volare patrol cars with the turbo engine. Specs were never released and although it was the 2.2-liter, it had been modified to get some extra power. My guess is that it was intercooled but I can't really say. It is worth noting that in Mexico we never had the Mitsubishi engines. All K-cars and their derivatives always had either the 2.2 or the 2.5 four.
Marie H. added:
The Chrysler Dynasty was available only with the higher-end engines (3.0 and 3.3 V6); it was not identical to the Canadian model, but specifications were similar to the U.S.-spec Dodge Dynasty. It was sold between 1988 and 1993, and all were automatics. A few Plymouth Voyagers (1984-1991) made their way into Mexico, but unofficial imports from the U.S. and these were mainly the basic or LE versions. Voyager was available beyond 2000; it was more or less identical to the Dodge Caravan, but specifications were similar to European models. LX trim was the most popular, in 3.3 version. No 2.0 versions were available, though, nor the diesel variant seen in Europe.
In 1989 the K-bodies were dismissed in favor of the P-bodies, the Shadow/Sundance. These cars were now sold as Chryslers, no Darts, Dodges, Plymouths, Valiants or anything else for that matter. The Sundance trim was used for the regular car, which now had the 2.5-liter engine although the plain-Janes still had the 2.2. The Shadow trim, especially the grille, was used for the R/T version, which had a turbo 2.2 with throttle-body fuel injection and four wheel disk brakes, a market first. The gearbox was a cable-driven 5-speed, probably Getrag but I'm not sure.
The E-cars were dropped then in favor of the AA-body. The Acclaim never made it here, except when Chrysler put Acclaim grilles to Spirits. The Spirit was successful too in many counts: roominess, trunk space, improved power from the first carbureted and then fuel-injected 2.5. V6s never made it to the Mexican market although they were assembled in the Ramos Arizpe plant in northern Mexico, a plant that had been built to assemble the K-cars. At the time, Chrysler had the Mexico City plant, another assembly facility dating to the late 60s in Toluca, 40 miles west of Mexico City, and the Ramos Arizpe plant. Some 3.0 V6 Spirits made it to Mexico but allegedly this was a misrouted shipment. (One reader wrote to tell us that some Acclaims were imported as gray-imports around 1993-94, mainly four-cylinders with the Gold Package; few V6s were seen, and some were retrofitted with Chrysler badging.)
The LeBaron came to Mexico again, but this time it was dubbed the New Yorker because the name was associated with a recent Chrysler success. The real New Yorker that was based in the Dynasty never made it to the south of the border.
In 1990 the turbo engine was upgraded from 2.2 to 2.5 liters. Because of poor sales in the U.S., Chrysler decided to sell only cars with automatic transmissions in Mexico. Even the entry level Shadow and the Shadow R/T with its new, more powerful 2.5 engine had them.
The Shadow R/T was dropped from sight in 1991, when the Spirit R/T was introduced. The Spirit R/T has stiffer springs, thick sway-bars, an intercooler and 15-inch wheels with Goodyear GT+4 tires. Except for the yearly changes, Spirits carried over until 1995, the year in which they were sold side-by-side to the Stratus but only while supplies lasted. The Spirit R/Ts were so good that some original owners still keep theirs.
In 1992 and 1993 the DOHC version (224 hp) of the 2.2 engine was available in Mexico, both in the Spirit R/T and the Phantom (LeBaron in the U.S.), coupled to a Chrysler-designed 5-speed New Process Gear manual gearbox. Chrysler sold only a handful of these extremely powerful cars, some of which are still seen around. The difference with the basic model is that these have a decal attached to the door that says "DOHC" and they ride on 16-inch wheels. (In the United States, all Spirit R/Ts were equipped with the DOHC 2.2 Turbo III engine, and all had manual transmissions.)
After the Mexican car market was open for imports in 1992, Chrysler brought down the 1992 Imperial which sold only a handful of units. It was dropped the following year.
In 1994 Chrysler launched the Concorde and the Dodge Intrepid as a Chrysler. Both were imported and sold well, although the Intrepid had rather poor reputation and never sold as well as the Chrysler. We also got our first minivans, which were the Voyager, Grand Voyager and Town and Country, all of them sporting the Chrysler badge.
The Neon is another success story. Economical, roomy and affordable, there were various options to choose from, even the R/T package. The Neon was used as a police car.
Another big seller, launched in Mexico at the same time as the USA, was the Chrysler 300M. You saw a lot of them; you almost never saw new Concordes and some Intrepids.
We had the PT Cruiser, another immediate success, and a hot car among car thieves. Chrysler dropped its price, an unusual situation.
The Cirrus (Chrysler Sebring sedan) has sold well. We have had the 4-cylinder 2.4l turbo engine as well as the V6 and the convertible version. The latter was sold many years ago under a separate label, the Sebring, but a trade mark problem prevented this name to be attached to the car, so it was sold as the Cirrus Convertible Limited.
An interesting addition was the Athos (Atoz) by Dodge. This Korean car was manufactured by Hyundai, featuring a 1.0 liter engine (55hp@5,500 RPM) and a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The minivans have been strong sellers, especially the Voyager (short wheelbase), as it is affordable by Mexican standards, and it has a good engine, the 3.3 liter coupled to a 3 speed automatic transmission. The Viper is available under special order, but few have been around in the showrooms, let alone on the streets.
The big Dodge vans were not available here either, until the late 1990s. You can get here the Dodge vans with capacities of 8,12 and 15 passengers with a choice of V6 or V8 engines. DHL bought a whole fleet of them but now they are using Nissan's Urvan. Up to 1966, we did have the Dodge A-van.
Jeep and Dodge trucks
[Written around 2006] Since the mid-90s, Chrysler has successfully sold in Mexico the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and regular Jeep models. The Grand Cherokees are especially popular among big shots, who buy armored versions with souped-up engines, transmissions and tires. An unsuccessful revival of the Ramcharger took place in the late 1990s.
Chrysler factories and assembly plants in Mexico
Lago Alberto (Mexico City)
The Lago Alberto truck plant in Mexico City was built in the early 1930s; in 1992, when the Mexican government started to demand a measure of environmental responsibility, Chrysler Corporation decided to close the antiquated plant and move production to Toluca and a new plant in Saltillo, both of which still are operational. However, according to Derek Strohl, the automakers negotiated a break for VOC emissions, and the plant was given until 2006 to bring its volatile organic compound emissions down to acceptable levels (e.g. comparable to Canada and the United States). Thus, by 1997, the plant had highly efficient electrostatic paint applicators, water running underneat the floors to catch paint vapors, and other measures.
While Chrysler planned a continued investment in Lago Alberto, in 1998 the stockholders approved an ill-advised acquisition by Daimler, and all growth ended. In 2002, the factory was closed.
Derek Strohl wrote that the Saltillo plant, which has always made Dodge Rams, was originally intended to replace the 1930s-era Lago Alberto, which had pollution discharge issues and could not use water-based paint due to the size of the facility. Negotiations with Mexico resulted in a compromise, and by the time the Saltillo plant was built, Lago Alberto had been brought largely into compliance; it was closed largely due to Daimler’s takeover. Saltillo remains in production, building Dodge Ram trucks.
Derek noted that the Saltillo factory has a zero-discharge policy; water coming out of the plant is no dirtier than the drinking water, and indeed, it produces a surplus of clean drinking water that is put into the municipal water system. Wastes are handled with an on-site treatment plant, and confined in a hazardous waste landfill near Monterrey.
The Saltillo plant was recognized in 1997 for producing the highest quality Chrysler trucks.
Toluca has plants that make engines and transmissions as well as a flexible assembly plant. It has pumped out Neons, JA cars, PT Cruisers, Fiat 500s, and Journeys.
Chrysler de Mexico as of 2009
Joseph Chamasrour, CEO of Chrysler Mexico, said there were 150 dealers selling all Chrysler brands... and Mitsubishi, since Chrysler is the distributor in Mexico for Mitsubishi; all dealers sell all brands. Customers were satisfied with the brands, according to J.D. Power (except the Chrysler brand itself, which was #14 of 17 manufacturers). Mitsubishi satisfaction was #5, Jeep #6, Dodge #7. Most dealers were profitable. Over 95% of the vehicles sold were Jeep and Dodge (excluding Mitsubishi).
Chrysler was gaining slightly in the Mexican market while Volkswagen, Nissan, Ford, and GM fell. Free trade agreements opened Mexico to numerous new brands - there were now 333 nameplates in Mexico, up from 240, and 52 brands, up from 41 in 2003. Chrysler market share has swung up and down from 9% to 11.8% through 2009.
The Mexican market is 55% pasenger cars, 15% SUVs, 20% trucks, 10% minivans/sport tourers. Chrysler was #4 in 2006, #1 in 2007, #2 in 2008. Journey was #1 in its segment. Chrysler had a 33.6% share of the minivan/sport tourer segment; Journey had double the sales of its nearest competitor. Dodge has had five years of growth in truck market share with a #1 award for Dakota by J.D. Power in 2009. [Market share did not maintain stable after 2009]
The Hyundais and other Modern Mopar Mexico notes, as of 2009
(by Paul): The Dodge Verna sold in Mexico keeps the original manufacturer’s badge — the Verna is a Dodge in name only. From 1999 to 2006 model, Verna came as 1.4 GL and 1.6 GLS (originally 1.5 GL and GLS). The original was a Hyundai Accent, but it had the Ram badge on the grille, perhaps because the Brisa — a related model sold in Venezuela — wore it. There were two bodystyles: a five-door hatchback or four-door sedan (no three-door coupe), and all were either 5-speed manual or automatic. Unlike the Accent, which had a performance model (1.5 MVi in the UK, 1.5 GT in continental Europe), Dodge had none.
Later models, from 2006, were identical to the Hyundai, and wore the Hyundai badge, badged Dodge Attitude.
Chrysler Voyager was a Dodge Caravan in all but name, with the same body panels, unlike the European version (which was identical to the U.S. Town & Country). The Cirrus sold in Mexico was only available as 2.4 LX, no V6, even for convertibles. From 2007, when the Sebring (Cirrus in Mexico) launched, the 2.7 V6 was only offered in Limited and Touring trim. Touring was more sport/luxury.
Dodge never sold the 1996-2012 Caravan or Grand Caravan in Mexico, so the Chrysler Voyager and the Town & Country filled that role. The Town & Country was only a single trim level, with a V6 engine (3.3) and automatic transmission.
Other Chrysler in Mexico notes
Jorge Carlos Peña wrote: “Chrysler Mexico (formerly Fabricas Automex) built 318s until 1974, when it began the production of the 360, which was the only 8-cylinder option from then until the 1990s. From 1969 to 1973 we had a special version of 318 rated 270 HP gross [vs the standard 230 hp], and in Mexico the 318-4bbl version (Carter AVS and Thermoquad) was available since 1968. I have a Coronet 1968 that come with a 4bbl Carter AVS from the factory. The B engines were not available.” Jorge also wrote that the 273 and 340 were not available in the Magnum; Héctor López noted that they were, however, available in the Barracuda.
The Aspen / Volare (by Jesús David Morales)
The F Body was launched in 1977 as the Dart (Aspen) and Valiant-Volare. For 1978, 1979 and 1980, the Dart was practically the same than the Aspen in the US during those years. The “Diplomat” (a revised Aspen) was sold as the Dart for 1981 and 1982. The Magnum (1981-1982) was essentially a Diplomat coupe with sporty trim and the powerful 8 cylinder engine. The Volare Super Coupe sold in the US was sold in Mexico as the "Super Bee" (1978-1980). In 1982, the A/F/M/J bodies were replaced by the Dart K (Aries) and Volare K (Reliant) During 1982 both the F and K Bodies were sold as the "Regular Dart / Volare" and the "Dart K and Volare K."
Dart would continue through 1989, first as the Dart K (Aries, 1982-1985), then as the Dart E (an E-Class car using the front end of the LeBaron sedan, 1986-1989), while the Volare would be dropped one year earlier (1988) and was known first as the Volare K (Reliant, 1982-1986) and then as the Volare E (Plymounth Caravelle, 1987-1988).
J. Carlos Zwala wrote:
The Magnum came with blackout exterior trim, double exhaust and special aluminum wheels without tacky white walls. It evolved into a spruced up, turbo-charged version of a mixture of a two door Aries LE and the front end of a Caravelle model, it wore distinctive aluminum rims with Goodyear GTs, Recaro seats, fog lights, a front spoiler, two tone paint, blacked-out exterior moldings and a five speed transmision. For a number of years it claimed the throne of being the fastest production car sold in Mexico.
All Phantoms ( Lebarons) produced and sold in Mexico came with turbo engines. Most were highly equipped. In the 1990s a highly attractive Lebaron appeared, it wore very attractive rims, a smooth grill, among other unique details. Another interesting model included the Dodge Europa, a sporty equipped Caravelle with four Recaro style headrests.
Alfonso Mayerstein wrote:
There were versions unique to our country:
Valiant ACAPULCO (1963-1967). It was basically a V200 Signet with bucket seats, upgrade interior and the option of the 4-on-the-floor Hurst gearshift.
Valiant Std or Acapulco CONVERTIBLE. These were chopped down sedans with reinforced chassis, whose manufacture was carried on a separate location from the Chrysler factory in the old Lago Alberto Location. This factory still builds Ram pick ups and trucks as well as the Ramcharger that you guys still do not know in the States.
2011 update (Mr. Source)
Chrysler Mexico, now under the rule of Fred Diaz (who also runs Ram), reported December sales of 10,041 units, a 2% increase over December 2010. For the full year, Chrysler Mexico sold 82,072 units, a 4.5% increase over 2010. Retail sales were up 10% vs December 2010, and were the best retail sales in 31 months. (Chrysler Mexico covers Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, and Jeep, but not Fiat.)
Chrysler now has the first place in SUVs and minivans in Mexico,and has the second place in trucks. Chrysler continues to grow with the sales of the 200, Town & Country, and the 300.
The Jeep Compass had an increase of 319% and the Wrangler had the best month for the last four years, the Patriot had also the best month for the last two years.
Dodge continues very strong selling the Journey, that vehicle is the top seller for Chrysler Mexico. Dodge is also selling very well the rebadged Hyundais, every month they are selling better.
Ram had an increase of 30% in December 2011, Hyundai rebadged trucks are helping in sales because the H100 Van increased 70% and the H100 Wagon increased 267% vs December 2010.
Chrysler Mexico gaining momentum, Fred Diaz is changing a lot of things in Mexico, so the future for Chrysler Mexico seems very bright.
Hyundai and Chrysler allowed their partnership to cease renewal in 2014, and Chrysler lost the rebadged-Hyundai i10 and Attitude. Replacing the popular i10 is the Fiat Siena, rebadged to Dodge Vision, while the Dodge Attitude has switched its base from Hyundai to the Mitsubishi Attrage. The company also continued to sell the unique-to-Mexico Ram 4000, and added the Fiat Strada-based Ram 750.
Neons in Mexico • Valiants in South America • Dodge Stratus R/T - Mexico-Only Car