How Would You Save Chrysler?

Chrysler Thunderbolt
Photo: Chrysler

In the absence of a parent company named Chrysler, the individual Chrysler brand is...what is it exactly? Is it Stellantis’ American luxury brand, like Cadillac and Lincoln? Is it a Buick-like near-luxury brand? I’m not sure I can really even nail down a historical brand proposition for Chrysler after the second world war. I’m not saying there haven’t been some good Chrysler branded cars, there definitely have been. I am saying that I can’t really articulate what they all had in common, other than being Chryslers. We remember the Cordoba for the goofy ads, but is there anything else? The good Imperials were Imperials, not Chrysler Imperials.


If you go to the Chrysler website and click on the “This is Chrysler” tab, you get a list of charities they’re involved with, awards and accolades they’ve won, a timeline of notable Chrysler innovations and some branded merch. It does say “American innovation is in our DNA” which is something!

The Pacifica and 300 are worth holding onto, for sure. But if you were building a car brand, I don’t know that you’d necessarily shoot for three variants of the same good minivan and an aging if serviceable sedan. But like the dealer that was quoted in Adam’s post, I can’t really see them doing away with the brand entirely.

More than any other established brand, they really are kind of a blank slate. What if they picked up the turbine car thread and made the Chrysler brand the advanced powertrains brand? Let them lead an EV push, really push some sci-fi styling. I could get excited about that.

So what would it take to get you excited about the Chrysler brand? Some re-badged Citroens? Some DSs? A friggin’ New Yorker? A 300 Hellcat? A Thunderbolt? Thunderbolt EV?

Jalopnik EIC '48 Willys CJ-2A, '84 Porsche 911, '15 VW GTI, '07 Lexus GX 470.


I'm in the middle of some calibrations

But why? Are any legacy American luxury brands relevant anymore? We keep seeing other brands like Cadillac and Lincoln trying to get back their magic, but even Cadillac struggles at it despite actually coming out with cool product. The brands just aren’t as aspirational and desirable as they once were, and Chrysler seems to be at the bottom of that heap.

Stellantis just needs to double-down on what they’re good at, and kill off Chrysler. Then they need to bring back Plymouth. Move all the Dodge cars upmarket, making all Challengers and Chargers at least a GT trim.

Then sell a Plymouth branded Charger called the Satellite and a Challenger branded as a Barracuda/’Cuda. Cloth interiors only, but offering up to Scatpak performance. Plymouth would take over the base SXT trims, and cover the budget/budget performance side of the market, and offer an even cheaper trim with exposed steelies, minimal luxury to really hit the KIA credit level side of the market. But at the same time, offer decontented big V8's at the higher end.

Make all the goofy musclecar stuff available. Wild colors, Roadrunner package on the Satellite, Rapid Transit System for the Scatpak equivelant, etc.

TLDR; kill Chrysler, Split Dodge into Dodge/Plymouth, Keep upmarket Dodges Dodge, make lower-end Dodges Plymouths.