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Video: How Lee Iacocca Leveraged the K Car’s Success to Save Chrysler

Posted July 11, 2019 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Chrysler history K-car sales

The Mustang might be Lee Iacocca‘s most celebrated success, but honestly, Ford probably has never leaned on the pony car for its survival. The K car, however, kept Chrysler solvent through the Eighties, and while success does have many fathers, Iacocca generally gets the credit for positioning the K car and for staking the company’s existence on the platform. Tofer’s video details exactly how that chapter in auto history unfolded.

A multimedia history lesson on Hemmings Daily.

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Re: Video: How Lee Iacocca Leveraged the K Car’s Success to Save Chrysler

07/11/2019 1:47 PM

Amazing that the K-Car actually saved Chrysler.

While not quite in the same 'class' as the Cavalier, based on the GOV's (gubmit owned vehicle) we signed out of the motorpool, I'm surprised the K-Car didn't end Chrysler.

Maybe the only reason Chrysler survived was that the government bought thousands and thousands of those things.

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Re: Video: How Lee Iacocca Leveraged the K Car’s Success to Save Chrysler

07/12/2019 10:10 AM

At the time it was revolutionary. At the time it was the most efficient American car. It came in so many different varieties, all based on the same platform. And it was the 'K' platform on which the minivan was developed, and that, really, is the vehicle that saved Chrysler. The Omni, aka American Rabbit was easily affordable, highly fuel efficient by comparison to other American cars of the day. Sexy? No. Capable? Just look how many are still on the roads. 200,000, 300,00 miles later.

I have owned several 'K' based cars. I raced an 83 Shelby Charger in the Buccaneer Division of the SCCA, class C production. Regional 3rd place in 1984. Sold it to another racer with 185,000 miles on a highly modified, naturally aspirated (Webers) Shelby 2.2.

I drove an 86 Dodge Lancer from new, 2.2 turbo, automatic. I had it for 13 years. 353,000 miles before a Mack dump truck ended it. it's 4th collision. Original engine, original tranny, had to replace the turbo at 250,000. Was running great the day it finally was hit by something big enough to stop it.

Then we have had three minivans, a 90 voyager, an 03 caravan, and a 08 T&C.

Currently own an 11 Caliber 140,000 miles and counting. Based on the same K frame Front engine design as that original American Rabbit.

No my friend, I can definitely agree, the K car was something and it definitely saved Chrysler.

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Re: Video: How Lee Iacocca Leveraged the K Car’s Success to Save Chrysler

07/12/2019 11:59 AM

All I can say is you had a very different experience than I did.

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Re: Video: How Lee Iacocca Leveraged the K Car’s Success to Save Chrysler

07/12/2019 9:22 PM

I can agree with that. When I was a kid we always joked about them, but my cousins' mom had a Dodge Aries station wagon- right at the time when her boys got their licenses. She didn't find out just what that car had gone through until the oldest had kids almost old enough to drive, but among other things it did go through a mud bog that another school mate refused to take his 4wd through!

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