The last Plymouth automobile, a silver Neon, rolled off the assembly line

Thursday 28th June 2001

The last Plymouth automobile, a silver Neon, rolled off the assembly line. Plymouth was introduced in 1928 as Chrysler Corporation’s entry-level car. At this time, the low-priced field was dominated by Ford and Chevrolet. While Plymouth was priced higher than Ford and Chevrolet, the Plymouth offered some standard features not available on the competition, such as external expanding hydraulic brakes. In the beginning, Plymouth was sold exclusively through Chrysler dealerships. With regard to the name Plymouth, the official story goes: “Product of Chrysler engineering and craftsmanship, Plymouth has been so named because its endurance and strength, ruggedness and freedom from limitations so accurately typify that Pilgrim band who were the first American Colonists.” The real story is somewhat different. When Walter Chrysler decided to get involved in the low-priced car field in 1926, everybody knew that Ford and Chevrolet dominated this market and thus any new car entering the market would have a struggle. While every farmer by this time had to have a car and most were buying Fords, every farmer had heard of Plymouth Binder Twine. By naming the new car Plymouth, Chrysler took advantage of a well-known and trusted name. In spite of the competition, during its first year of production (actually only six months) became fifteenth in terms of production and by 1931 it had become the third best-selling vehicle in America. In 1930, Chrysler expanded its distribution of Plymouths to all three Chrysler divisions (Chrysler, DeSoto, and Dodge). By the 1950s, Plymouth had a reputation for engineering, affordability, and durability. In 1957, Plymouth reached its production peak. By the 1960s, Plymouth rapidly lost market share and lost its third place standing to Pontiac. Between 1971 and 1974, Plymouth briefly reclaimed its third place status, but in the 1980s its popularity continued to fall. By 2001, Plymouth only had one model, the Neon, and the last Plymouth was assembled in June 2001.

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