- Plymouth (automobile)
Infobox Defunct company
company_name = Plymouth
slogan = "One clever idea after another" (late 1990s)
fate = Withdrawn from market (2001); models discontinued or rebranded as Chryslers
foundation = 1928
defunct = 2001
location = Auburn Hills, Michigan United States
products = Cars, minivans
Plymouth (founded 1928 - dissolved 2001) is a
marqueof automobilebased in the United States, marketed by the Chrysler Corporationand DaimlerChrysler.
The Plymouth automobile was introduced on July 7, 1928. It was the Chrysler Corporation's first entry in the low-priced field, which at the time was dominated by Chevrolet and Ford. Plymouths were actually priced a little higher than the competition, but they offered standard features such as
hydraulic brakesthat the competition did not provide. Plymouths were originally sold exclusively through Chryslerdealerships. The logo featured a rear view of the Mayflowership which landed at Plymouth Rock. However, the Plymouth brand name came from "Plymouth Binder Twine", chosen by Joe Frazer for its popularity among farmers. [ [http://www.allpar.com/history/plymouth/plymouth-name.html What's in a Name? (How Plymouth Was Named)] ]
The origins of the first Plymouth can be traced back to the
Maxwell automobile. When Walter Chryslertook over control of the trouble-ridden Maxwell-Chalmers car company in the early 1920s, he inherited the Maxwell as part of the package. After he used the company's facilities to help create and launch the Chrysler car in 1924, he decided to create a lower-priced companion car. So for 1926 the Maxwell was reworked and re-badged as a low-end Chrysler model. Then at the end of the decade this model was once again reworked and re-badged, this time to create the Plymouth.
Great Depression, 1940s, and 1950s
While the original purpose of the Plymouth was simply to cover a lower-end marketing niche, during the
Great Depressionof the 1930s the car would help significantly in ensuring the survival of the Chrysler Corporation in a decade when many other car companies failed. Beginning in 1930, Plymouths were sold by all three Chrysler divisions (Chrysler, DeSoto, and Dodge). Plymouth sales were a bright spot during this dismal automotive period, and by 1931 Plymouth rose to the number three spot among all cars.
In 1939 Plymouth produced 417,528 vehicles, of which 5,967 were roadsters, or two-door convertibles [http://www.joesherlock.com/39Ply_history.html] with
rumble seats. The 1939 Roadster was prominently featured at Chrysler's exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair, advertised as the first mass-production convertible with a power folding top. It featured a 201-cubic-inch, 82-horsepower version of the Chrysler Flathead Six engine.
For much of its life, Plymouth was one of the top selling American automobile brands, along with
Chevroletand Ford ("the low-priced three"). Plymouth even surpassed Ford for a time in the 1940s as the second most popular make of automobiles in the U.S. " styling theme produced cars with much more advanced styling than Chevrolet or Ford, although Plymouth's reputation would ultimately suffer as the cars were prone to rust and sloppy assembly. Because of its new "Forward Look" styling, however, 1957 total production soared to 726,009, about 200,000 more than 1956, and the largest output yet for Plymouth. The marque also introduced its limited production Fury line in 1956, and it too benefited from the crisp Forward Look designs.
The Plymouth brand lost market share rapidly in the early 1960s. While Plymouth was a styling leader from 1957 to 1958, its 1959 through 1962 models were awkwardly styled cars that failed to strike a chord with the public. Plymouth also found itself in competition with its own corporate sister division Dodge when the lower-priced, full-size
Dodge Dartwas introduced for 1960. Rambler, and then Pontiacwould assume the number three sales position for the remainder of the decade. Plymouth went into a decline from which it would never fully recover.
The marque regained market share following the introduction of the 1965 models, which returned Plymouth to full-size vehicles and more mainstream styling. Plymouth regained its traditional third place in the sales race in 1971 and 1974, primarily with its popular Valiant and Duster compact models, but as a brand Plymouth was hardest hit by Chrysler's financial woes of the late 1970s. Marketing decisions progressively thinned Plymouth lineup while giving new models to the Dodge and Chrysler brands; by 1979, the Plymouth range consisted of only the domestically produced Volare and Horizon models, and some rebadged Mitsubishi imports. distinction and quashing any significant reasons for buying one over the other.
Most Plymouth models offered from the late 1980s onward, such as the Acclaim, Laser, Neon, and Breeze, were badge-engineered versions of Chrysler, Dodge, or Mitsubishi models. Chrysler considered giving Plymouth a variant, to be called the Accolade, of the new-for-1993 full-size LH platform [ [http://www.allpar.com/model/intrepid.html Dodge Intrepid, Eagle Vision, Chrysler 300M, New Yorker, and LHS - the LH cars, with reviews ] ] , but decided against it. By the late 1990s, only four vehicles were sold under the Plymouth name: the Voyager/Grand Voyager minivans, the Breeze mid-size sedan, the Neon compact car, and the Prowler sports car, which was to be the last model unique to Plymouth.
After discontinuing the Eagle brand in 1998, Chrysler was planning to expand the Plymouth line with a number of unique models before the corporation's merger with
Daimler-BenzAG. The first model was the Plymouth Prowler, a modern-day hot rod. .
The last new model sold under the Plymouth marque was the second generation Neon for 2000-2001. The PT Cruiser was ultimately launched as a Chrysler, and the Prowler and Voyager were absorbed into that make as well. Following the 2001 model year, the Neon was sold only as a Dodge in the US, though it remained available as a Chrysler in Canadian and other markets. The
Plymouth Breezewas dropped after 2000, before Chrysler introduced their redesigned 2001 Dodge Stratusand Chrysler Sebringsedan.
Events leading to the demise of Plymouth
1960: Dodge introduces the smaller, lower-priced "Dart" series that competes directly with Plymouth's offerings.
1961and 1962: Ramblerand then Pontiac assumes third place in industry sales for the remainder of the 1960s.
1962: Sales drop dramatically with the introduction of a line of unpopularly-styled, downsized full-size models.
1971: Unable to afford to develop its own subcompact, the British Hillman Avengeris imported as the Plymouth Cricket, which is discontinued in mid-1973 due to quality concerns.
1974: The Dodge Dartand Plymouth Valiantare, for the first time, different only in name and minor trim details. This identicality continues with the Dodge Aspenand Plymouth Volaréas well as all further passenger car models. The car that would ultimately become the Chrysler Cordobais reassigned to Chrysler from Plymouth. Last year for Barracuda.
1976: Last model year for the Valiant/Duster. First model year for the Volare.
1977: The large Gran Fury is discontinued.
1978: The mid-size Fury is discontinued at the end of the model year.
1979: Plymouth's lineup is reduced to the Horizon and Volaré, and three rebadged Mitsubishi imports.
1979/ 1980: Chrysler makes several thousand more Dodges than Plymouths for the first time. More Plymouths would be made than Dodges for 1981 and 1982, but from then on there will always be more Dodges made than Plymouths.
1980: Newport-based Gran Fury introduced. Last year for Volaré.
1981: The full-size Gran Fury and Trailduster SUV's last year.
1989: The mid-size Gran Fury (Caravelle in Canada) as well as the Reliant are discontinued after this model year. The Reliant is replaced by the Acclaim.
1994: The little-advertised Laser sport-compact as well as the popular Sundance and Colt compacts all end production. They are replaced by a single car, the Neon.
1995: Plymouth's lineup is at its all time low, just 3 cars: the Acclaim, the Neon, and the Voyager/Grand Voyager. The number will go up to 4 in 1997, with the introduction of the Prowler, but will never get any higher.
1996: In an attempt to move Plymouth downmarket, Chrysler makes the redesigned Voyager only available in base and mid-level "SE" models. All of the higher-end trim levels available on the previous generation can now only be found on the Dodge Caravan.
1999: The redesigned 2000Neon becomes the brand's last new model.
2000: The mid-size Breeze ends production. This is also the last year for the Voyager minivanas a Plymouth. All 2000 Voyagers built in December 1999 and beyond are badged as Chrysler Voyagers. In Canada, the redesigned Neon is sold under the Chrysler name, leaving only the Voyager and Prowler in the lineup. Almost 250,000 more Dodges are built than Plymouths for this year.
2001: Plymouth's final model year. Only the Neon remains in the Plymouth line. The Prowler becomes a Chrysler. The Breeze is dropped as Chrysler issues the Chrysler Sebringsedan to replace the Chrysler Cirrus. The PT Cruiser is launched as a Chrysler, though it was originally planned to be a Plymouth. The final Plymouth, a Neon, is assembled on June 28, 2001.
Throughout its later years Plymouth's meager advertisement (in relation to Chrysler and Dodge) played a part in the marque's demise.
Plymouth car models
title = Plymouth models included the following:
titlestyle = background:#99FF99; text-align:left;
bodystyle = text-align:left;
Plymouth Model 30U(1930)
Plymouth Arrow(1976-1980, rebadged Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste)
*Plymouth Arrow Truck (1979-1982, rebadged
Plymouth Champ(1979-1982, rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage)
Plymouth Colt(1983-1994, rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage)
Plymouth Commercial Car(1937-1941)
Plymouth Conquest(1984-1986, rebadged Mitsubishi Starion)
Plymouth Cricket(1971-1975, rebadged Hillman Avenger)
Plymouth Deluxe(1933-1942, 1946-1950)
Plymouth Gran Fury(1975-1977, 1980-1989)
Plymouth Grand Voyager(1987-2000)
Plymouth Laser(1990-1994, rebadged Mitsubishi Eclipse)
New Finer Plymouth(1932)
Plymouth Model PA(1931)
Plymouth Model Q(1928)
Plymouth Road Runner(1968-1980)
Plymouth Sapporo(1978-1983, rebadged Mitsubishi Galant)
Plymouth Scamp(1971-1976, 1983)
Plymouth Special Six(1934)
Plymouth Standard(1933, 1935)
Plymouth Model U(1929)
*Plymouth XX 500 was a
1950 concept car.http://www.autoweteran.gower.pl/concept_timeline.htmlref|concepts|noid=noid]
*Plymouth Explorer, was a
*Plymouth Belmont, was a
*Plymouth Cabana was a
1958concept station wagon, which featured a unique glass roof for the rear portion of the car.
*Plymouth XNR 500 was a
1960concept sports car.
*Plymouth VIP was a
1965concept four seater convertiblewith a unique roof bar from the top of the windshield to the rear deck.
*Plymouth Duster I was a
1969concept roadster, with a wraparound boat-style windshield.
*Plymouth Slingshot, was a
1988 concept car. [ [http://www.conceptcars.it/storia/timeline.htm Concept Cars: Concept Cars Timeline ] ]
*Plymouth Speedster was a
19892-seater concept car.
The Plymouth division went through numerous slogans, including the following:
*"If it's important to you, it's important to Plymouth" (early 1990s)
*"The nine most important words to Plymouth: Satisfy the customer, satisfy the customer, satisfy the customer" (late 1980s)
*"The pride is back, born in America" (mid and late 1980s)
*"Now that's imagination, that's Plymouth!" (late 1970s)
*"Chrysler-Plymouth, coming through!" (mid 1970s)
*"Plymouth is out to win you over this year" (mid-1960s)
*"Plymouth - star of the forward look" (late 1950s)
* Kimes, Beverly Rae (Historian and Author) and Clark, Henry Austin, Jr. (Chief of Research) (MCMLXXXIX). "Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805-1942" (Second edition). Krause Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-87341-111-0.
* [http://web.archive.org/web/19961224081059/http://www.plymouthcars.com/ Plymouth Website Circa Dec. 24,1996] Courtesy of the
* [http://auto.howstuffworks.com/plymouth-cars.htm HowStuffWorks: How Plymouth Cars Work]
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