When Walter Chrysler picked up the remains of the Maxwell Motor Company in 1925, he decided to establish a company called the Chrysler Corporation. His arduous efforts resulted in Chrysler becoming one of the 'Big Three' automobile manufacturers in the US.
Once Daimler-Benz acquired the company, the holding company became Daimler Chrysler. The company merged with Fiat S.P.A. and became a subsidiary of its successor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Chrysler has produced vehicles under the Dodge, Jeep and Ram nameplates, as well as creating the Plymouth and DeSoto brands. Chrysler had its share of financial rollercoaster rides and almost declared broke several times before others stepped in to save the automaking giant.
One of the biggest reasons for Chrysler's financial strain was due to the subpar quality of its vehicles. If the design wasn't the attributing factor to the brand's downfall, it was the reliability. Although Chrysler has produced several subpar vehicles since the establishment in the early 1920s, it has made numerous cars in the '90s that could have gotten a design and a mechanical upgrade before debuting onto the market.
We wanted to find out which cars from the '90s Chrysler produced that could have done much better had the automaker invested more time to ensure that the car was up to scratch.
20 1990 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue
The Fifth Avenue cars were available from 1983, but Chrysler produced the New Yorker Fifth Avenue models from 1990 until 1993. Although Fifth Avenue became a model of the New Yorker, the cars had some differences.
The New Yorker used a longer chassis than the standard car, and its larger interior volume classified the car as a full-size model, despite having smaller exterior dimensions than the first generation. The 1990 model had a 3.3-liter V6 engine as the standard, coupled with a four-speed electronic automatic transaxle. The 1991 model had a 3.8-liter V6 engine that was capable of pumping out 147 horsepower.
19 1990 Chrysler Town And Country
Only a few manufacturers in the U.S. produce minivans, and Chrysler was one of the companies. Chrysler wanted to build a van that was suitable for a daily commute and safe to drive to the countryside, hence the name Town and Country.
The first model that Chrysler offered was the 1990 version and kept the car in production until 2016 when the Chrysler Pacifica minivan replaced the Town and Country. When you name a minivan Town and Country, you shouldn't be surprised if the critics scoff. Apart from the odd name, the Town and Country had a strange design and color pattern.
18 1990 Plymouth Acclaim
Consumers who were looking to purchase a mid-size Plymouth sedan in the early '90s would have gone for the Acclaim. The car was an updated replacement for the similar size E-body Caravelle. Badge Engineering was responsible for providing Dodge and Chrysler with its versions of the AA-body Acclaim.
The car differed from its siblings in wheel choices, fascias, and bodyside molding. For the 1992 model, Plymouth consolidated the Acclaim's three trim levels into one base model. Although Plymouth tried to make changes to appeal to the market, the Acclaim lasted until 1995, as the market felt that the car stayed the same throughout its six-year run.
17 1996 Plymouth Breeze
The Breeze replaced the Acclaim in 1996. Although the Breeze offered a soft-tuned suspension, as well as special order packages, people regarded it as a low-end model of Chrysler's JA platform, and the V6 engine wasn't part of the Chrysler line-up unlike the Chrysler Cirrus or Dodge Stratus.
The car had a cab-forward design, and the ridged taillights were its distinct feature. The car offered several options such as the four-speed automatic transmission, a tilt steering wheel, anti-lock brakes and power door locks. The base model was big and had a 5-speed manual transmission and cost $14,000 when it debuted onto the market.
16 1990 Plymouth Laser
The Laser was the first car produced under Diamond Star Motors, a joint venture between Chrysler Corporation and the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. The two companies used the name Laser from an earlier Chrysler model produced in the '80s called the Chrysler Laser.
Don't expect too much performance from the Laser if you get your hands on one these days, as the base model had a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that was capable of pumping out only 92 horsepower, though the two-liter was capable of pumping out 135 horsepower. After four years on the market, the Laser failed to impress consumers, and Plymouth called it a day for the model.
15 1990 Chrysler Imperial
For most of its history, the Imperial was a luxury vehicle. Originally debuted in 1926, the Imperial positioned itself as a prestige marque to the rival Lincoln, Cadillac, and Duesenberg.
Production for the Imperial ended in 1954 until Chrysler resurrected it in 1989 to produce a 1990 model. The first run lasted for almost thirty years, but the second one lasted only three years. That should tell you that the resurrection was a failure. Although the first cars might have competed in the luxury segment, the Imperial that Chrysler resurrected in 1989 looked like a regular sedan.
14 1995 Dodge Stratus
When Dodge launched the Stratus in 1995, it received critical acclaim. The Stratus featured in Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list in 1996 and 1997, but ratings fell in the subsequent years.
The first generation Dodge Stratus received a poor rating for the frontal test crash. Once the IIHS crash test results came out, the market was scruple about purchasing the Stratus. Once the car's ratings from consumer and auto magazines fell below average among mid-size cars, consumers had turned their back on the Stratus. Dodge canceled the production of the Stratus in 2006.
13 1990 Chrysler TC By Maserati
Was it a Chrysler or was it a Maserati? The car was a bit of both. Chrysler and Maserati developed the car as a grand tourer and introduced the car at the 1986 Los Angeles Auto Show. The automakers delayed the manufacturing by two years but offered the TC in 1989.
The automaker manufactured 7,300 models in Milan, Italy in 1990 and canned the production in 1990. The car had a Daytona-spec turbocharged 2.2-liter straight-4 engine, capable of pumping out 160 horsepower. The car provided decent performance, but the market never warmed up to the idea, and the two automakers pulled the plug on the project.
12 1990 Dodge Spirit
Car pundits described the Spirit as a replacement for the smaller Aries and the hatchback Lancer. Although Dodge sold 60,000 Spirits in the first year of production, its wheels came to a screeching halt when the manufacturer ended the production in 1995.
The manufacturer marketed the car under the Chrysler brand in Mexico since it used the Dodge name for trucks. Sales for the Spirit started strong and climbed for the two subsequent years, but Dodge only sold 12,000 units in 1995, ending the production run.
11 1994 Chrysler Neon
Some markets knew the car as the Chrysler Neon while others knew it under the Dodge and Plymouth nameplates. The manufacturer offered the Neon in multiple versions and configurations over its production life, ending in 2005.
The sales in 2006 had dwindled to 12,000 units in the U.S., so it was time for the manufacturer to halt the production. After an eleven year hiatus, the manufacturer resurrected the car under the Dodge Neon nameplate, a rebadged variant of the Fiat Tipo sedan for the Mexico market.
10 1991 Dodge Stealth
After collaborating with Mitsubishi Motors, Chrysler was responsible for the Stealth's exterior styling. Known as the Mitsubishi GTO in the Japan market, the Stealth had a 3-liter, 24 valves V6 engine that was capable of pumping out 160 horsepower, four-wheel steering, full-time all-wheel drive, and adaptive suspension.
The slow sports car sales in the U.S. prompted the automaker to plan a facelift for the 1997 model, which it abandoned in favor of the minor cosmetic adjustments, including a new front bumper and a rainbow shaped arched type wing. Although the Mitsubishi GTO lasted in Japan until 2000, it saw its last day in the States in 1996.
9 1995 Chrysler Cirrus
Chrysler started production of the Cirrus in 1994 as a 1995 model and marketed it as an affordable, fun to drive vehicle that was safe to transport the family. The concept show vehicle flaunted the rear suicide doors and a 400 horsepower turbocharged 3-liter two-stroke engine.
The concept and the production model used Chrysler's cab-forward design. The production model boasted a 2-liter in-line four-cylinder engine that had a five-speed manual transmission, as well as fifteen-inch black steel wheels with plastic steel covers. The Cirrus stuck around for six years until Chrysler ended the production in 2000.
8 1995 Dodge Avenger
Chrysler has garnered a reputation for designing eccentric cars, and the Avenger fulfilled that role. The car made its debut in 2004 as a front-wheel drive, mid-sized sedan. Dodge built the two-door coupe from 1994 until 2000 in a similar price class and size as the Dodge Daytona.
Diamond Star Motors built the car as a 2-liter inline-four engine for Chrysler and a 2.5-liter V6 for Mitsubishi. The four-cylinder model came with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. The automaker paused the production in 2000 to continue eight years later until 2014.
7 1995 Chrysler Sebring
During the fifteen years of production of the Sebring, Chrysler produced three generations of convertibles, two generations of coupes and two generations of sedans. The Sebring was a replacement for the LeBaron coupe. Chrysler introduced the redesigned sedan in 2007 and a convertible the subsequent year.
After 2008, sales from the Sebring began to decline. In 2009, Chrysler sold 50,000 units less than the previous year and only just above 2,000 units in 2011. After a fifteen year run, the Sebring's production came to an end, as consumers no longer demanded the vehicle.
6 1993 Dodge Intrepid
In Canada, the manufacturer sold it as the Chrysler Intrepid, but in the United States, it replaced the Dodge Monaco as Dodge's largest car. Chrysler started the production in 1992 to produce a 1993 model. The first generation had a base 3.3-liter V6 engine, but a more powerful 3.5-liter that was capable of pumping out 214 horsepower was optional.
The second generation, produced from 1998 until 2004, had a 2.7-liter V6 engine that could produce 200 horsepower. Once the sales of the car dipped by the early 2000s, Chrysler had no other choice than to take the Intrepid off the market.
5 1993 Chrysler Concorde
The Concorde was an entry-level full-size sedan, which had a cab forward design. Chrysler showcased the Concorde at the 1992 International Auto Show in Detroit, as a 1993 model that had a base price of $18,000. The car related to the Eagle Vision but had a more traditional image than the Vision.
The first generation had a full-width taillamp design and featured leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel door inserts, and shift knobs. The main problem that some consumers who purchased the Concorde had with the car was related to the engine. By 2004, consumers had grown weary of the problems, and Chrysler ended the production.
4 1997 Plymouth Prowler
The Prowler would have been much more successful if Chrysler had produced the vehicle several decades before 1997. In my opinion, the car resembled a 1932 Ford so that era would have welcomed the Prowler with open arms. The automaker offered the Prowler as a single generation, front-engine, rear-drive, rear transmission configuration.
Chrysler kept the car in production for less than six years and produced around 11,000 Prowlers. The retro-styled production car had an appeal that would have lured in consumers who preferred a classic look, but it lacked power. The 1997 model needed 7.2 seconds to reach 0 to 60 mph. Chrysler sold around 450 units of Prowler in 1997.
3 1999 Chrysler Java
The Java was a concept car that Chrysler created, and its mediocre design and the subpar performance tell the story of why it never went into production. Chrysler introduced the Java in 1999 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and based the design upon the Chrysler minivans.
Although Chrysler used the minivans as inspiration for the design of the Java, it didn't provide the space or the speed of its minivans. The 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine was capable of reaching a top speed of 105 mph. The car needed 12.9 seconds to reach 0 to 60 mph and boasted a five-speed manual transmission. The cargo space was limited. You were lucky to fit your golf clubs in the trunk.
2 1999 Chrysler 300M
Considering that the 300M had a similar design to many Chrysler sedan, it's no wonder that the car lasted on the market for only five years. Chrysler introduced the 300M as a full-size luxury sedan that had a front wheel drive and a V6 engine that was capable of pumping out 255 horsepower.
Chrysler offered only one engine, a 3.5-liter V6 that Chrysler created for first-generation LH vehicles and revamped for the newer LH line. Motor Trend announced that the 300M was its Car of the Year for 1999. Chrysler redesigned the 300M and installed numerous features to appeal to the market, but consumers had lost interest, so Chrysler pulled the plug on the project in 2004.
1 1994 Chrysler LHS
The Chrysler LHS had its first production run from 1993 until 1997, and the second was from 1999 until 2001. The standard features included a 3.5-liter, 24 valves V6 engine that was capable of pumping out 214 horsepower, according to Edmunds, as well as body colored grille, traction control, integrated fog lights, automatic temperature control and premium sound systems with amplifiers.
The leather seats were also standard. The second generation featured a new winged emblem of the Chrysler division. The big difference between the second generation and the first was that the 3.5-liter engine was capable of pumping out 253 horsepower.
Sources - Edmunds