In the pantheon of orphaned car brands, perhaps the most poignant today is Eagle, not because of its sales numbers but because of its lineage. Eagle was the bastard child of the 1987 AMC-Renault tie-up and its subsequent sale to Chrysler. At the time of the Chrysler buyout, AMC had product in the pipeline that Renault had a financial interest in seeing hit the market. Chrysler didn't want it — Jeep was their trophy — but Renault forced them to take the Franco-American models as part of the deal, so Chrysler spun them off into their own brand: Thus was born Eagle. Eagle initially offered the Eagle Medallion and Premier models through co-branded Jeep-Eagle dealerships. The Medallion, a rebadged Renault sold in four-door and wagon body styles, was practically orphaned at its introduction and disappeared after just two years. The full-size front-drive Premier soldiered on through 1992 along with its Dodge Monaco cousin, in part due to a contract Chrysler had with Renault to purchase 260,000 V6 engines for the cars. In the end, Chrysler broke the contract and paid Renault for the 121,000 engines it never needed, after selling just 139,000 Premier/Monaco models. Eagle made enough of a contribution to Chrysler's bottom line to continue the brand with rebadged Chrysler products after the French influence was exorcised. The Mitsubishi Mirage/Dodge Colt begat the Eagle Summit, the Mitsubishi Eclipse/Plymouth Laser produced the Eagle Talon and the Dodge Intrepid resulted in the Eagle Vision. Eagle never really developed a brand identity, however, and Chrysler allowed the nameplate to die off after 1998. Enter 2008. The weakest domestic automaker, this time Chrysler, is being shopped around, with Renault and General Motors both expressing different degrees of interest. Ironically, reports have Nissan/Renault interested solely in Jeep, though any deal would result in redundant brands. A new marque isn't in the cards, as it was with Eagle, but at least one will almost certainly die. [The Garage Blog; Image courtesy Eagle Premier Home Page]
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