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The Last Plymouth


From: Automotive News, June 27, 2001
By Richard Truett

(Not the actual last Plymouth)

Automotive News
 
The last Plymouth in history will be a silver Neon that rolls off the assembly line June 28. Like many other retirees, it's going to Florida. Even though Plymouth was the former Chrysler Corp.'s top-selling car brand from 1930 to 1978, the company will not mark the end of production with any ceremonies or publicity photos.

Plymouth was started by Walter P. Chrysler in 1928 as a high-volume, low-cost brand. Chrysler announced it was killing the brand in 1999.
In recent years, Chrysler let the Plymouth brand wither by starving it of new products. Recent Plymouth models, except the Prowler, were shared by other divisions, and the brand's image in the marketplace had become murky. The death knell for Plymouth came when the company badged the PT Cruiser a Chrysler. With its similarly shaped retro styled grille, the PT would have been a perfect sibling for the Prowler.

Automakers such as General Motors and Mercedes-Benz place historic cars in their corporate museums. But the last Plymouth has been sold to Darrell Davis, Chrysler's vice president of parts and service.
"I sent a note to (former CEO) Jim Holden right after I heard we were discontinuing the brand," Davis said. He asked to buy the car. Holden said yes.
Davis, who has a house and a collection of vintage cars in Orlando - mostly Plymouths and Chrysler-brand vehicles - says he won't drive the Neon much, if at all. Davis said he asked personnel at the Belvidere, Ill., plant to provide documentation that the car is the last Plymouth-badged vehicle to be built.
Chrysler group has a history of ignoring its failures. The last Eagle, a 1998 Talon, was shipped and sold retail. No one knows the whereabouts of the last DeSoto, a 1961 model. A spokesman for the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Mich., says the company traditionally saves the first of many models, not the last.
The Prowler, which was introduced as a Plymouth, has been wearing a Chrysler badge since January.
From Automotive News. Copyright 2001 Crain Communications Inc. All rights reserved.

Last Update 7/26/01
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