Chrysler LLC is an American automobile manufacturer that has been producing automobiles since 1925. From 1998 to 2007, Chrysler and its subsidiaries were part of the German based DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler AG). Prior to 1998, Chrysler Corporation traded under the ''C'' symbol on the NYSE. Under DaimlerChrysler, the company was named ''DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC'', with its U.S. operations generally referred to as the ''Chrysler Group''.
On May 14, 2007 DaimlerChrysler AG announced the sale of 80.1% of Chrysler Group to American private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., although Daimler continues to hold a 19.9% stake. This was when the company took on its current name. The deal was finalized on August 3, 2007.
On August 6, 2007, after the announcement of the spin-off to Cerberus, the Chrysler LLC, or ''The New Chrysler'', unveiled a new company logo and launched its new website with a variation of the previously used Pentastar logo. Robert Nardelli also became Chairman and CEO of Chrysler under the ownership of Cerberus.
The company was founded by Walter P. Chrysler on June 6, 1925, when the Maxwell Motor Company was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation.
Walter Chrysler had originally arrived at the ailing Maxwell-Chalmers company in the early 1920s, having been hired to take over and overhaul the company's troubled operations (just after having done a similar rescue job at the Willys car company).
In late 1923 production of the Chalmers automobile was ended.
Then in January 1924, Walter Chrysler launched the well-received Chrysler automobile. The Chrysler was a 6-cylinder automobile, designed to provide customers with an advanced, well-engineered car, but at a more affordable price than they might expect. (Elements of this car are traceable back to a prototype which had been under development at Willys at the time that Walter Chrysler was there).
The Maxwell was then dropped after its 1925 model year run, although in truth the new line of lower-priced 4-cylinder Chryslers which were then introduced for 1926 were basically Maxwells which had been re-engineered and rebranded.
It was during this period that Walter Chrysler assumed the presidency of the company, with the company then ultimately incorporated under the Chrysler name.
The advanced engineering and testing that went into Chrysler Corporation cars helped to push the company to the second-place position in U.S. sales by 1936, a position it would last hold in 1949. Among the innovations in its early years would be the first practical mass-produced four-wheel hydraulic brakes, a system nearly completely engineered by Chrysler with patents assigned to Lockheed, and rubber engine mounts to stop vibration. The original 1924 Chrysler included a carburetor air filter, high compression engine, full pressure lubrication, and an oil filter, at a time when most autos came without these features.
Chrysler developed a road wheel with a ridged rim, designed to keep a deflated tire from flying off the wheel. This safety wheel was eventually adopted by the auto industry worldwide.
In 1998 Daimler-Benz purchased Chrysler, forming DaimlerChrysler AG. Chrysler Corporation then was legally renamed DaimlerChrysler Motors Company LLC, while its total operations began doing business as Chrysler Group. This was initially declared to be a merger of equals, but it quickly became evident that Daimler-Benz was the dominant partner. Despite offering a range of attractive models, Chrysler went into another of its financial tailspins soon after the merger, greatly depressing the stock price of the merged firm and causing alarm at headquarters in Germany, which sent CEO Dieter Zetsche to take charge. The Plymouth brand was phased out in 2001, and plans for cost cutting by sharing of platforms and components began. The strongly Mercedes-influenced Chrysler Crossfire was one of the first results of this program. A return to rear-wheel drive was announced, and in 2004 a new Chrysler 300 using this technology and a new Hemi V8 appeared and was successful. Financial performance began to improve, with Chrysler providing a significant share of DaimlerChrysler profits due to restructuring efforts at the Mercedes Car Group. The partnership with Mitsubishi was dissolved as DaimlerChrysler divested its stake in the firm due to Mitsubishi's demand for more control in the management.
According to the April 2007 issue of Der Spiegel, CEO Dieter Zetsche expressed a desire to dismantle Chrysler and sell off the majority stake and at the same time keep Chrysler ''dependent'' upon Mercedes-Benz after the sale.
On April 4, 2007 Dieter Zetsche said that the company was negotiating the sale of Chrysler, which was rumored for weeks before the announcement. One day after, investor Kirk Kerkorian placed a 4.5 billion dollar bid for Chrysler. On 12 April Magna International of Canada announced it was searching for partners to place a bid for Chrysler. Magna's offer was outbid.
On 2007-05-14 DaimlerChrysler AG announced that it would sell 80.1_% of its stake in the Chrysler Group to Cerberus Capital Management for $7.4 Billion. After the transaction was to complete, Chrysler Group (DaimlerChrysler Corporation) would officially become Chrysler Holding LLC (changed to Chrysler LLC upon completion of the sale), with two subsidiaries Chrysler Motors LLC (new name of DaimlerChrysler Motors Company), which will produce Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles, and Chrysler Financial Services LLC (new name of DaimlerChrysler Financial Services Americas LLC), which will take over the current operations of Chrysler Financial. DaimlerChrysler AG plans to change its name to Daimler AG pending shareholder approval.