Sunday, January 02, 2022

End of the Road

The Chrysler corporation launched its Plymouth marque in 1928 to give the company an entry-level brand that could compete with cheaper Chevies and Fords.

By the late '60s, the brand had lost focus. They offered a stripped-down version of the B-body muscle car, the Road Runner, that was cheaper than its Dodge equivalent. They offered a deluxe version of the B-body muscle car, the GTX, that was more luxurious than its Dodge equivalent. They offered a pony car, the 'Cuda, that was racier than its Dodge equivalent. Peak sales for Plymouth happened in '73, with nearly a million sold, and then the long slide began.

By the Eighties, they offered cheaper versions of everything in the Dodge/Chrysler catalog, with little differentiation. By the Nineties, the basic Plymouth even had the same name as its Dodge counterpart: Neon.

2000-2001 Plymouth Neon

By '96, there were only three models sold under the Plymouth name: The aforementioned Neon compact, the mid-sized Breeze, and the Voyager/Grand Voyager minivans. In an attempt to try and revive the marque, Chrysler released the Plymouth Prowler, a retro-styled "factory hot rod" that was a sales flop, and changed the Plymouth badge to one that featured a sailing ship, like the original badge that had been replaced back in 1961.

The last gasp appeal to nostalgia didn't work and, at the end in '00 and '01, all that was left of Plymouth was the Neon. The last Plymouth Neon... the last Plymouth, period ...built in 2001 recently turned up on Bring a Trailer, with only 68 miles on the odometer. It sold for nineteen grand.