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Historical Timeline 1980-1989

Select ​Period: 1800s | 1900s | '10s'20s | '30s | '40s | '50s | '60s | '70s | '80s | '90s | 2000s | '10s



The K-cars – Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries – are introduced, to be built at the Jefferson Avenue and Newark plants.

The first four-cylinder engine built by Chrysler since the 1930s – a 2.2 OHC Four – is announced.

U. S. President Jimmy Carter signs the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act, essentially making the federal government a co-signer for bank loans totaling up to half a billion dollars – money Chrysler needs to finance new, market-competitive cars.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Continuous-flow, electronically-controlled fuel injection engine.

Chrysler’s marine division is sold.


The defense division is sold to General Dynamics.


The Chrysler LeBaron convertible is announced, reopening the “ragtop” market.

Chrysler announces a five-year, 50,000-mile warranty protection program.

Planning begins for the massive Chrysler Technology Center, to be built in Auburn Hills, Michigan, 35 miles north of downtown Detroit.


Chrysler pays off the government-guaranteed bank loans seven years ahead of schedule.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Front-wheel drive minivan.

Production begins November 2 on the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan minivans, creating an entirely new product segment in the automobile industry.


Chrysler Corporation reorganizes into a holding company that includes Chrysler Motors, Chrysler Financial, Gulfstream Aerospace and Chrysler Technologies.

Chrysler acquires 15.6 percent of Italian luxury car manufacturer Officine Aliferi Maserati SpA.

Dodge Daytona / Plymouth Laser sport coupes introduced.


Chrysler and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. form Diamond Star Motors Corporation as a joint venture.


Chrysler announces a seven year-70,000 powertrain warranty protection plan.


Chrysler Corporation acquires American Motors Corporation for $1.524 billion.

The Eagle brand is launched, the first new Chrysler brand name since 1928.

The Lamborghini Portofino show car – the precursor of Chrysler’s successful cab-forward designs of the 1990s – is introduced.

The restyled Chrysler LeBaron convertible serves as pace car for the Indianapolis 500.


Robert A. Lutz is named Chrysler Motors Vice President – Operations.

The Diamond-Star joint venture with Mitsubishi begins operations at a new plant in Normal, Illinois.

Chrysler offers airbags as standard equipment – an industry first.

The Dodge Dynasty / Plymouth Spirit is introduced.


The Dodge Viper concept sports car debuts.

Chrysler and General Motors form New Venture Gear as a joint venture.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Ultradrive® fully-adaptive, electronically-controlled automatic transaxle.

Chrysler Engineering First:  Four-wheel anti-lock braking on a four-wheel drive vehicle.

The Pentastar Transportation Group, Inc. is formed from four rental companies – Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, Inc., Snappy Car Rental, Inc., Dollar Rent-A-Car Systems, Inc. and General Rent-A-Car Inc.

Chrysler signs an agreement with Steyer-Daimler-Puch to build minivans in Europe.

The Maserati TC, Chrysler’s first production two-seater car in decades, is introduced.

The Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries end production.