Cars by name
Trucks and Jeeps

Engines / Trans
Repairs / Fixes
Tests and Reviews

1981 Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries: marketing the launch


by Justin Paulson,
Chrysler K-Car Club

The Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries — the original K-cars —  showed that Chrysler could once again move at the front of the pack, and beat the imports at their own game.

The cars were essential to Chrysler’s survival; loan guarantees had been granted based on plans for the K-cars. Existing products could not sell well enough to keep the company viable. It was absolutely essential to sell hundreds of thousands of the little K-cars, or Chrysler would fail, and tens of thousands of people would walk the unemployment lines, slamming America’s economy. Chrysler had lost nearly $2 billion in 1980; but they were profitable by 1983. [Chrysler in 1981]

campaign K

As part of Campaign K, Chrysler worked with K-mart, then visited by near half the country’s adult population at least once a month, with over 1,700 K-marts nationwide. Every Chrysler-Plymouth Dealer was invited to partner with a K-mart during their "K-Days" annual sales event. Thousands of scratch-to-win tickets were printed with the K-mart and the K car logos; winners got a car, others were invited to take their ticket to the dealer for a second-chance drawing. Ten to twenty K-cars were to be given away nationally.

k-mart promotion

Prototypes were displayed at K-marts when the local dealer didn’t want to be involved, driving around at other times with signage promoting K-days. Chrysler hyped the K-car as hard as they could, knowing the future of the company depended on it, and fall 1980, sent a big packet to every dealer on how to keep the K “hot.”

K-car t-shirt

buttons and pins

K-car ad

Dodge introduces Durango Hellcat, Charger Redeye and Challenger Super Stock

FCA sales plummeted—as we expected them to

Dodge first domestic to top J.D. Power, and other odd news

More Mopar Car
and Truck News