The Plymouth brand no longer exists as an active company in the automotive marketplace. During its years as part of the Chrysler Corporation; it was used to bring low-cost, budget-oriented cars to the masses. The line of used Plymouth cars consists of the Breeze, Grand Voyager, Neon, Prowler, and Grand Voyager. Plymouth cars were last sold in 2001, with a limited lineup consisting of the Plymouth Prowler roadster and the Plymouth Neon compact car. By this point in time, the company had been largely reduced to producing badge-engineered copies of Dodge and Chrysler vehicles. In fact, the Prowler was one of the few vehicles exclusive the Plymouth in its final ten years of existence, and it was eventually transferred to Chrysler during its final model year.
Plymouth dates back to 1928 when Chrysler decided to create an entry-level brand and provide a more fleshed out lineup for the company overall. The company got its name due to the fact that Chrysler executives felt that it would sound familiar and recognizable to buyers, largely due to the proliferation of Plymouth farm products, an entirely unrelated company. The first cars sold by Plymouth fared well, and in fact played a key role in keeping Chrysler solvent during the turbulent financial times brought on by the Great Depression. Their affordability and low production costs helped defray a drop in sales of some of Chrysler’s pricier models. The Plymouth lineup grew to include coupes, sedans, and station wagons, but by the beginning of the 1960’s the company faced a crisis brought on by poor styling choices and dismal build quality that caused problems with both corrosion and reliability.
Another important issue cropped up during this time period: Dodge’s poaching of Plymouth sales. Chrysler allowed the more powerful division to market smaller vehicles that essentially took the legs out from underneath the budget car company. Plymouth was given a brief reprieve thanks to the rise of the muscle car era, in which the GTX, Roadrunner and ‘Cuda played a substantial role. The ensuing fuel crisis also saw the company well-positioned to take advantage of renewed interested in its smaller, more efficient vehicles such as the Valiant. However, once the 80’s rolled around, it became clear that Plymouth was doomed to walk a few paces behind Dodge and Chrysler, selling de-contented versions of the cars produced by its corporate cousins.
Modern Day Plymouth
At the end of the 1990’s, the possibility of rebirth loomed on Plymouth’s horizon. A plan was put into place for Plymouth to continue on into the new millennium as a sort of retro-inspired boutique brand for Chrysler, but after the merger with Daimler financial realities forced the company to choose one of its marques for shuttering. Ultimately, the extensive dealer network built by Dodge combined with their strong pickup and SUV sales meant that Plymouth, with its limited lineup was the easier target. The Voyager minivan was phased out first in 2000, followed by the Breeze sedan. Examples of these automs can still be found on the used car market. The Neon and the Prowler were given last minute stays of execution, but they too followed their brethren onto the dustbin of automotive history the following year.