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Plymouth and DaimlerChrysler: The Saga Continues

Against the merger / loss of Plymouth

Andy Kerr

The loss of Plymouth was inevitable due to 70s style model overlap, but you guys should see what is going on in Canada.

All dealers are now Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge Truck.

The only Dodge badged car available is the Viper. Intrepid and Neon are sold as Chryslers. All others are gone.

The only Plymouth badged car available is the Prowler. The Voyager minivan will be sold as a Chrysler next year. Incidentally, Ford has done the same thing. The only Mercury available next year will be the Cougar.

GM has diversified and sent their brands in unique directions. (ie: Olds).

GM and Ford are introducing new products about every 30 days. (ie: Focus, Escape, new Tahoe, Deville DTS). Daimler Chrysler has not introduced anything since the new Neon and 300M. No wonder their sales are down across the board. The PT Cruiser is a joke with a 4 cylinder engine. The next generation minivans have merely a cosmetic facelift. (grill, dash, etc.)

My personal opinion is that Daimler intends to phase out Chrysler completely within ten years. The E320 starts at a relatively low price and Mercedes-Benz vehicles are now in some Chrysler showrooms! Both our governments (taxpayers) bailed out Chrysler and watched Lee Iacocca rebuild it into a great company just to lose it ten years later!

I was a 3rd generation Chrysler fan, my 1st car was a Charger 440 Magnum and I still own a NY. But since the fall of 98, I have given up. I hope to buy a Monte Carlo "Intimidator" when they become available.

To conclude, it is a shame but Chrysler appears to be having the life sucked out of it by Daimler. Walter P. Chrysler, the Dodge brothers, my Dad and his Dad are all rolling in their graves.

[Webmaster note: the minivan redesign is actually more substantial, and includes substantial power boosts, innovative new sliding doors, an electric rear hatch, and significant body stiffening for improved ride and handling.]

Mark Veith

As the owner of an older EEK, I'm even seeing the effects of the beginnings of the death of Chrysler as we knew it. Let me be pointblank: I own an 1987 Sundance.

When I first bought this car two years ago, there were a lot of after-market parts available for this car. After the Daimler buyout, I began to notice something very strange: that parts supplies at auto parts stores have suddenly begun to dry up for older Chryslers. This is particularly evident at AutoZone. There are some other stores that have parts yet available, but I don't know how long this is going to last. What's out there may be things that have not sold out yet. Suddenly AutoZone has told me that they don't carry a lot of Chrysler parts anymore. While some drop-off is inevitable over time, it's been way too rapid, given the numbers of EEK cars out there. I'm not talking about just a few parts, but quite a lot. Plenty of parts for Ford and GM, but suddenly none for Chrysler.

I realize this may sound farfetched, but given the Europeans' hatred of American industry (particular the French) and their history of industrial espionage, I don't put it past Mercedes to send agents to after-market parts manufacturers and warehouses to buy out Chrysler parts stocks as well as paying off manufacturers not to produce parts.

Also be careful with your Allpar web sites. Several times I have tried to get on and got error messages. I had no trouble previously. As I write this, they may have hackers infiltrating your web sites. I read on your news site that your server crashed a while back. This could have been them. It's pretty evident that they don't want Chrysler cars on the road and are doing anything they can to get rid of them any way they can. If you can't afford or don't want a Mercedes, so what? As Marie Antoinette said,"let them eat cake".

Mercedes means nothing to me. As far as I am concerned, they are just a piece of junk. When I was a child and teenager in the 60s and 70s I owned 20 shares of Chrysler stock. Sold it around the time the K cars came out. I wished that I has still had it at that time so I could've said "NO!" to that piece of white-collar crime that occurred. That was no merger, that was a takeover by rich German slobs. It infuriated me. $80,000 for one of those? That's a good downpayment on a house, and in some areas, will BUY a house.

Just think how many hungry children that would feed, clothe and house. I really like my EEK, but I'm afraid my car isn't gonna last much longer. EEKs were the only car line that I know of that was truly modular and had many interchangeable parts. Who else took a rear-wheel drive 3-speed transmission design, made a few modifications, and converted it into a front-drive transaxle (in several versions)?All the others had to come out with transaxles engineered from the ground up. Plus they're easy to work on. The web site has also helped much. I wish that I had found out what a great front-drive car Chrysler made much sooner.

If a merger (not a takeover) was inevitable I would've rather seen Volkswagen purchase them, as was rumored in the early 80s. Save for the transaxle being on the opposite side on VW, their cars had many design similarities..and of course VW engines were found in the early Omni/Horizon. VW-Chrysler would've been a very good combo.

Notice in DaimlerChrysler corporate TV and print ads how they put very little emphasis on Chrysler's history and heritage immediately after the takeover? Everything was Mercedes. This is why they won't be selling their Mercedes with Chrysler cars-or vice versa. They're going to can Chrysler, probably within 10 years.

For the takeover / end of Plymouth

J. Maynard

Just two comments - I honestly don't think the vast majority of car buyers care about the Plymouth name. Those who are familiar with it now think of it in a rather negative light. The brand names that are seen by young, hip buyers as the ones to be seen in are Volkswagen, Honda, BMW, Acura, Lexus, or any sport ute. This is sad to say, but probably true.

Young people I know swoon over the new Jetta, Passat and Beetle. They either laugh at the Neon or are indifferent to it, even if it is a good car. I try to argue that the Neon is a fine car, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. Part of the problem is styling, part is the three speed automatic. The European look is very cool these days. Past years of boring cars hasn't helped either. (Volare, K cars)

Second, all the fuss over Chrysler becoming German is very interesting to a Canadian. I too am sad to see it change hands, but I also should remind you that Americans control a good 40% or so of much of the Canadian economy. In the auto industry, it is 70%, and much higher in other industries as well. Comparable U.S. figures are rarely over 5%.

When the Canadian government tries to allow for distribution of Canadian movies (in Canada!) Mr. Jack Valenti comes charging in to say that we are trying to destroy American cultural industries. Consider this - about 2% of the films seen in Canada are Canadian. About 95% are American. I have to admit it is a tiny bit amusing to see all the hand wringing over an American company being sold to foreign interests. (Again, I too am sad about the sale). Perhaps Americans will be a little more sympathetic to Canadians trying to maintain a voice in the global economy.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my views.

Geoff Lovig

It's time for chrysler to improve their quality image, and hopefully Daimler can do it. I can't tell you the number of people I know who are devout Mopar fans (including myself, who owns a Neon and Valiant) but won't buy a new Chrysler product because they are aware of the quality and customer service problems chrysler has. Instead they rebuild the old mopars, and remember a time when Mopars ruled the road.

As far as deleting the Plymouth name goes...look at the market. The number of first time buyers are increasing every year, many of whom do not care about heritage, so much as product image and reliability. I am often teased by friends for owning a Plymouth Neon and Plymouth Valiant but no one says much about a Dodge Neon R/T (which BTW is the same as my 95 sport) or the Dodge Dart (again same car). The Plymouth name has an image of economic family car, and cannot compete an a market that is demanding "sports luxury" vehicles. Dodge is a much more logical choice for remaining competitive in this ever changing market.

May the memory of the Plymouth live on. Let it retire with what dignity it still has. Michael Jordon, who is arguably one of the best and well known names in the sport was smart to leave the game while still on top. Compare that to Plymouth who has been free riding on Dodge's nameplate for far too long.

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