The history of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in the automotive industry is rich with innovation and evolution. From its first model to modern-day achievements, the automaker has always been at the forefront of the car-making world. This innovation has provided the groundwork for modern features, technology, and design aesthetics. FCA has pushed the envelope, forcing the competition to follow suit, and as a result, has left a mark on the automotive world.
Every Great Super Hero Has an Origin Story
The brands that make up the FCA family represent the storied past of the entire automotive industry; some of which have histories that stretch back to the invention of automobiles themselves.
The earliest of these stories began in 1889, when Horace and John Dodge (pictured above) moved Ontario, Canada and formed the Evens & Dodge Bicycle Company. After some success building bikes, the Dodge brothers moved back to Detroit to take advantage of booming sales of automobiles with their own machine shop on Beaubien street. After various partnerships with automotive founding giants like Olds Motor Works and Henry Ford, the Dodge brothers opened their own plant in Hamtramck, Michigan. Together, they made a name for themselves building quality parts using the efficient assembly line method, ultimately helping to reduce the cost of owning an automobile. Dodge trucks became incredibly popular after the automaker’s models became the first gasoline-powered vehicles to be used in combat by the US Army pursuing Pancho Villa in Mexico in 1916 (pictured below).
Along the same time, Walter P. Chrysler (pictured below) began working for the Buick Motor Company in Flint, Michigan as Works Manager, and just seven years later, he resigned as President of Buick and Vice President of General Motors. Over the next two years, Chrysler took control of two companies to save them from dire straits: Willys-Overland and the Maxwell Motor Company, the latter of which would be the first to produce and sell a Chrysler model. In 1925, he created The Chrysler Corporation. Three years later, he bought the Dodge Brothers Corporation and introduced the DeSoto and Plymouth brands.
If Willy’s-Overland sounds familiar, that’s because it produced the legendary Jeep with the introduction of the iconic Willy’s MB for the US military in 1941. Like most manufacturers at the time, Willy’s and Chrysler devoted most of their resources to the war effort, producing several billion rounds of ammunition, 600,000 trucks, and 25,000 tanks by the end of the war. After the war, Jeep introduced a civilian version of the MB to incredible popularity: the CJ-2A. Only a couple of years later, and Jeep made history once again by combining four-wheel drive, ample seating, and a sturdy steel frame to create the world’s first SUV (pictured below).
On the other side of the pond, Giovanni Agnelli created Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino, or what we now know simply as FIAT, in 1899. In those first few years, the brand established a reputation for its creativity and saw profits by mass-producing airplane engines and taxi-cabs. In 1910, FIAT was the largest automaker in Italy, and it expanded stateside to open up a plant in Poughkeepsie, New York, although that US plant only lasted a few years due to burdensome regulations. Even though its popularity in the US has waxed and waned over the years, FIAT has remained one of the most iconic car brands in Italy and the rest of Europe.
Fast forward to 2014, when these ancestors of automotive lineage joined forces to create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a supergroup of popular car brands that includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, FIAT, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. Plus, the popular parts and service company, Mopar, lives under the FCA umbrella.
FCA is still committed to changing the automotive industry, and it remains a leader in efficiency, performance, and luxury. Visit Stateline Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat at 800 Gold Hill Rd, Fort Mill, SC 29708 or contact our sales staff online today and let us show you how the rich history of FCA has helped this brand generate some of the best vehicles on the market today.
Image Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles