Goodbye Chrysler

By: Unique Cars magazine

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Fiat Chrysler Australia has today announced the Chrysler brand will be no more in Australia, which it says was the sole remaining right-hand-drive market for the company's product.

This leaves approximately 30 300C Luxury and SRT variants on showroom floors to be sold, while Jeep dealers will be providing service support for the existing fleet.

Kevin Flynn, FCA Australia Managing Director, said: "Chrysler has held a special place in the heart of many Australians and we are proud of its history here."

It marks the second time the marque has wandered off these shores – the company previously exited the scene in 1980. That left then manufacturing partner Mitsubishi to assemble the final Australian CM Valiants through to 1981.

Chrysler returned to the market as an importer with Jeep in 1994, and soon expanded the range to include a number of Chrysler and Dodge models.

The marque's local story goes back to 1951, when the parent company registered Chrysler Australia. Its intention was to gather up a large group of independent distributors.

Along the way, the company acquired several local assembly and manufacturing outfits, eventually building them into a group capasble of producing whole cars. 

Oddly enough, it also acquired aircraft manufacturing facilities, which were involved in projects such as the Canberra bomber.

The colourful history also included a partnership with the Rootes Group, through which it developed cars such as the Hillman Hustler.

While Chrysler Australia initially began assembling right-hand-drive versions of US models, it soon branched out into cars that had a strong local flavour. Meet the Chrysler Royal, which started as a 1954 Plymouth and became very much its own car that was made through to 1963.

However it was the Valiant name and the huge number of variants that grew from it which really made its mark in this country. It started as a relatively humble importation of CKD (complete knock-down) kits of the R-series in 1962 and quickly grew into the development of distinct models. 

 

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