American Motors
Overview
 
American Motors Corporation (AMC) was an American automobile company formed by the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation
Nash-Kelvinator Corporation
Nash-Kelvinator Corporation was the result of a merger between Nash Motors and Kelvinator Appliance Company. The union of these two companies was brought about as a result of a condition made by George W...

 and Hudson Motor Car Company
Hudson Motor Car Company
The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form American Motors. The Hudson name was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was dropped.- Company strategy...

. At the time, it was the largest corporate merger in U.S. history.

George W. Mason
George W. Mason
George Walter Mason was an American industrialist. During his career Mason served as the Chairman and CEO of the Kelvinator Corporation , Chairman and CEO of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation , and Chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation .- Early life :George W. Mason was born in Valley...

 was the architect of the merger to reap benefits from the strengths of the two firms to battle the much larger "Big Three" automakers (General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

, and Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

). Within a year George W. Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

 took over, reorganized the company and focused the future of AMC on a new small car line.
Encyclopedia
American Motors Corporation (AMC) was an American automobile company formed by the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation
Nash-Kelvinator Corporation
Nash-Kelvinator Corporation was the result of a merger between Nash Motors and Kelvinator Appliance Company. The union of these two companies was brought about as a result of a condition made by George W...

 and Hudson Motor Car Company
Hudson Motor Car Company
The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form American Motors. The Hudson name was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was dropped.- Company strategy...

. At the time, it was the largest corporate merger in U.S. history.

George W. Mason
George W. Mason
George Walter Mason was an American industrialist. During his career Mason served as the Chairman and CEO of the Kelvinator Corporation , Chairman and CEO of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation , and Chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation .- Early life :George W. Mason was born in Valley...

 was the architect of the merger to reap benefits from the strengths of the two firms to battle the much larger "Big Three" automakers (General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

, and Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

). Within a year George W. Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

 took over, reorganized the company and focused the future of AMC on a new small car line. By the end of 1957 the original Nash and Hudson brands were completely phased out. The company struggled at first, but sales of the Rambler took off. Its cars were frequent winners in Mobil Economy Run
Mobil Economy Run
Mobil Economy Run was an event that took place every year from 1936 to 1968. It was designed to provide real fuel efficiency numbers during a coast to coast test on real roads and with regular traffic and weather conditions...

s and Ramblers became America's third most popular car during the early 1960s. In the mid-1960s, the leadership of Roy Abernethy
Roy Abernethy
Roy Abernethy was an executive in the American automobile industry, serving as CEO of American Motors Corporation from February 1962 to January 1967. Prior to his tenure at AMC, Abernethy had been with Packard Motors and Willys-Overland. Abernethy replaced George W...

 focused AMC on larger and more profitable car lines to move away from the Rambler
Rambler (automobile)
Rambler was an automobile brand name used by the Thomas B. Jeffery Company between 1900 and 1914, then by its successor, Nash Motors from 1950 to 1954, and finally by Nash's successor, American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1969...

's perceived "negative" compact car
Compact car
A compact car , or small family car , is a classification of cars which are larger than a supermini but smaller than or equal to a mid-size car...

 image. However, AMC's deteriorating financial and market position put Roy D. Chapin, Jr. in charge to revitalize the company. Prices and costs were cut while new and more "sporty" automobiles were introduced. AMC became known for their new, popular muscle car
Muscle car
Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as "any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving." Usually, a large V8 engine is fitted in a...

 offerings beginning in 1968 with the Javelin
AMC Javelin
The Javelin was a production version of one of the AMC AMX prototypes shown during the 1966 AMX project nationwide tour. Intended to rival other pony cars such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. American Motor's Javelin debuted on 22 August 1967, for the 1968 model year...

 and AMX
AMC AMX
The AMC AMX is a two-seat GT in style and approach sports car that was produced by American Motors Corporation for the 1968 through 1970 model years. The AMX was also classified as a muscle car, but "unique among other American cars at the time due its short wheelbase"...

. Designer Richard A. Teague
Richard A. Teague
Richard A. Teague , born in Los Angeles, California, was an industrial designer in the North American automotive industry...

 developed many vehicles from common stampings, resulting in cost savings for a company that often lacked operating capital.

AMC purchased Kaiser's Jeep
Jeep
Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler . The first Willys Jeeps were produced in 1941 with the first civilian models in 1945, making it the oldest off-road vehicle and sport utility vehicle brand. It inspired a number of other light utility vehicles, such as the Land Rover which is the second...

 utility vehicle operations in 1970 as a complement to the company's existing passenger car business. Beginning in the early 1970s, they moved towards an all-new design of compact cars based on the Hornet
AMC Hornet
The AMC Hornet was a compact automobile made by the American Motors Corporation in one generation beginning with the 1970 model year and continuing through the 1977 model year. The Hornet replaced the compact Rambler American marking the end of the Rambler marque in the American and Canadian markets...

, including the Hornet itself and the Gremlin
AMC Gremlin
The AMC Gremlin is a two-door subcompact car produced in the United States and Canada by the American Motors Corporation between 1970 and 1978. AMC reduced its development and manufacturing costs by adapting a shortened Hornet platform with a Kammback-type tail...

. Other new models in the 1970s included the radically styled Matador
AMC Matador
The AMC Matador is a mid-size car that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation from 1971 to 1978. The Matador came in two generations: 1971 to 1973 and a major redesign from 1974 to 1978...

 and Pacer
AMC Pacer
The AMC Pacer is a two-door compact automobile produced in the United States by the American Motors Corporation between 1975 and 1980.Its initial design idea was started in 1971. The car's unusual rounded shape with massive glass area greatly contrasted with the three-box architecture with "square,...

. However, as costs mounted, AMC reduced their overall line and began to focus almost exclusively on their Hornet-based offerings and Jeep line. By the late-1970s new lines, such as the Spirit
AMC Spirit
The AMC Spirit was a subcompact marketed by American Motors Corporation from 1979 to 1983 as a restyled replacement for the Gremlin. The Spirit shared the Gremlin's platform and was offered in two hatchback variations, each with two doors — marketed as sedan and liftback...

 and Concord
AMC Concord
The AMC Concord is a compact car produced by the American Motors Corporation for the 1978 through 1983 model years. The Concord replaced the AMC Hornet and to some extent the mid-size AMC Matador, discontinued after 1978 in a market moving to downsized automobiles...

, were variations of the Hornet's platform
Automobile platform
An automobile platform is a shared set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major components over a number of outwardly distinct models and even types of automobiles, often from different, but related marques...

. The company continued to innovate existing designs introducing in 1979 the 4-wheel-drive AMC Eagle
AMC Eagle
The AMC Eagle is a compact-sized four-wheel drive passenger vehicle that was produced by American Motors Corporation . The AMC Eagle line of vehicles inaugurated a new product category of "sport-utility" or crossover SUV....

. The Eagle is widely recognized as one of the first true crossovers.

Beginning in 1980, AMC partnered with France's Renault
Renault
Renault S.A. is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans and also buses/coaches. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the world's third largest automaker...

 in an effort to keep their expensive manufacturing operations open, obtain much-needed capital, and as a source for vehicles in the increasingly popular subcompact category. After 1983, Renault purchased a majority controlling interest in AMC, and ended production of all AMC cars (except for the Eagle), focusing entirely on promoting the Alliance
Renault Alliance
The Renault Alliance is a subcompact automobile manufactured and marketed in North America by American Motors Corporation , with 623,573 examples manufactured for model years 1983-1987, and with a three and five-door hatchback variant, the Renault Encore marketed beginning in 1984.The two models...

, a Renault-based subcompact. In spite of further new vehicle development, including the Medallion
Eagle Medallion
The Eagle Medallion was a rebadged and re-engineered North American version of the French Renault 21. While the cars were built on the same platform, the French market 21 and the American market Medallion differed in features, powertrain availability, frontal styling, and trims...

 and an early, Teague designed version of the Premier
Eagle Premier
The Eagle Premier was a full-size automobile developed by the American Motors Corporation and Renault partnership, inherited by Chrysler Corporation when it acquired AMC in 1987, and marketed from 1987 through 1992...

, Renault sold AMC to Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

 in 1987. Both AMC and Renault brands ceased in the U.S. The Jeep/Eagle
Jeep-Eagle
Jeep-Eagle was the name of the automobile sales division created by the Chrysler after the US$2 billion takeover of American Motors in 1987...

 division of Chrysler Corporation was formed after Chrysler's 1987 buyout, with Jeep
Jeep
Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler . The first Willys Jeeps were produced in 1941 with the first civilian models in 1945, making it the oldest off-road vehicle and sport utility vehicle brand. It inspired a number of other light utility vehicles, such as the Land Rover which is the second...

 and Eagle
Eagle (automobile)
Eagle was a marque of the Chrysler Corporation following the purchase of American Motors Corporation and aimed at the enthusiast driver.Though short-lived, the Eagle Vision sedan sold in respectable numbers, while the sporty Eagle Talon sold more than 115,000 units.-Overview:Following the...

 models (the Medallion and the redesigned Premier) marketed primarily by former AMC dealers
Car dealership
A car dealership or vehicle local distribution is a business that sells new or used cars at the retail level, based on a dealership contract with an automaker or its sales subsidiary. It employs automobile salespeople to do the selling...

.

Formation

In January 1954, Nash-Kelvinator Corporation
Nash-Kelvinator Corporation
Nash-Kelvinator Corporation was the result of a merger between Nash Motors and Kelvinator Appliance Company. The union of these two companies was brought about as a result of a condition made by George W...

 began acquisition of the Hudson Motor Car Company
Hudson Motor Car Company
The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form American Motors. The Hudson name was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was dropped.- Company strategy...

 (in what was called a merger
Mergers and acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions refers to the aspect of corporate strategy, corporate finance and management dealing with the buying, selling, dividing and combining of different companies and similar entities that can help an enterprise grow rapidly in its sector or location of origin, or a new field or...

) to form American Motors. The deal was a straight stock transfer
Stock transfer
A stock transfer agent or share registry is a company, usually a third party unrelated to stock transactions, which cancels the name and certificate of the shareholder who sold the shares of stock, and substitutes the new owner's name on the official master shareholder listing. Stock transfer agent...

 (three shares of Hudson listed at 11⅛, for two shares of AMC and one share of Nash-Kelvinator listed at 17⅜, for one share of AMC) and finalized in the spring of 1954, forming the fourth-biggest auto company in the U.S. with asset
Asset
In financial accounting, assets are economic resources. Anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value and that is held to have positive economic value is considered an asset...

s of US$355 million (US$ in dollars) and more than $100 million in working capital
Working capital
Working capital is a financial metric which represents operating liquidity available to a business, organization or other entity, including governmental entity. Along with fixed assets such as plant and equipment, working capital is considered a part of operating capital. Net working capital is...

. The new company retained Hudson CEO A.E. Barit as a consultant and he took a seat on the Board of Directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

. Nash's George W. Mason
George W. Mason
George Walter Mason was an American industrialist. During his career Mason served as the Chairman and CEO of the Kelvinator Corporation , Chairman and CEO of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation , and Chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation .- Early life :George W. Mason was born in Valley...

 became President and CEO.
Mason, the architect of the merger, believed that the survival of America's remaining independent automakers depended on their joining in one multibrand company capable of challenging the "Big Three" – General Motors, Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

, and Chrysler – as an equal. The "frantic 1953–54 Ford/GM price war" had a devastating impact on the remaining "independent" automakers. The reasons for the merger between Nash and Hudson included helping cut costs and strengthen their sales organizations to meet the intense competition expected from autos' Big Three.

One quick result from the merger was the doubling up with Nash on purchasing and production allowing Hudson to cut prices an average of $155 on the Wasp line, up to $204 on the more expensive Hornet models. After the merger, AMC had its first profitable quarter during second three months in 1955, earning $1,592,307 (US$ in dollars) compared to a loss of $3,848,667 (US$ in dollars) during the same period in the previous year. Mason also entered into informal discussions with James J. Nance
James J. Nance
James J. Nance was an American industrialist who became president of Studebaker Packard. Later, he was chief executive of the Central National Bank of Cleveland, chairman of the executive committee of Montgomery Ward and chairman of the board of trustees of Cleveland State University and a major...

 of Packard to outline his strategic vision
Strategic planning
Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. In order to determine the direction of the organization, it is necessary to understand its current position and the possible avenues...

. Interim plans were made for AMC to buy Packard Ultramatic
Ultramatic
For the Voigtländer SLR camera, see Voigtländer Ultramatic CSUltramatic was the trademarked name of the Packard Motor Car Company's automatic transmission introduced in 1949 and produced until 1956 at Packard's Detroit, Michigan factory....

 automatic transmissions and Packard V8 engine
V8 engine
A V8 engine is a V engine with eight cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of four cylinders, in most cases set at a right angle to each other but sometimes at a narrower angle, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft....

s for certain AMC products.

In 1954, Packard acquired Studebaker
Studebaker
Studebaker Corporation was a United States wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the...

. The new Studebaker-Packard Corporation
Studebaker-Packard Corporation
The Studebaker-Packard Corporation was the entity created by the purchase of the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, in 1954.Packard acquired Studebaker in the transaction...

 (S-P) made the new 320 CID Packard V8 engine and Packard's Ultramatic automatic transmission available to AMC for its Nash Ambassador
Nash Ambassador
Ambassador was the model name applied to the senior line of Nash automobiles from 1932 until 1957. From 1958 until the end of the 1974 model year, the Ambassador was the product of American Motors Corporation , which continued to use the Ambassador model name on its top-of-the-line models...

 and Hudson Hornet models. When Mason died in 1954, George W. Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

 succeeded him. Ironically, Romney had once been offered Nance's job. In 1948, Romney received offers from Packard for the post of chief operating officer and from Nash for the number two position in the company. Although the Packard offer would have paid more, Romney decided to work under Mason because he thought Nash had a brighter future. S-P President James Nance refused to consider merging with AMC unless he could take the top command position (Mason and Nance were former competitors as heads of the Kelvinator and Hotpoint
Hotpoint
The Hotpoint Electric Heating Company is a British brand of domestic appliances. The brand is currently fully owned by Italy's Indesit....

 appliance companies respectively), and a week after Mason's death Romney announced, "there are no mergers under way either directly or indirectly." Romney agreed with Mason's commitment to buy S-P products. Mason and Nance had agreed that in return S-P would endeavor to purchase parts from American Motors, but S-P did not do so. As the Packard engines and transmissions were comparatively expensive, AMC began development of its own V8 engine
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

. In mid-1956, the 352 CID Packard V8 and TwinUltramatic transmission was phased out and replaced by AMC's new V8 engine
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

, as well as GM's Hydra-Matic and Borg-Warner
BorgWarner
BorgWarner Inc. is a United States-based worldwide automotive industry components and parts supplier. It is primarily known for its powertrain products, which include manual and automatic transmissions and transmission components, , turbochargers, engine valve timing system...

 transmissions.

By 1964, Studebaker production in the United States had ended, and its Canadian operations ceased in 1966. The "Big Three", plus the smaller AMC, Kaiser Jeep
Kaiser Jeep
Kaiser Jeep was the result of the merger between the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation, an independent automaker based in Willow Run, Michigan, and the Toledo, Ohio-based Willys-Overland Company....

, International Harvester
International Harvester
International Harvester Company was a United States agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. In 1902, J.P...

, Avanti, and Checker
Checker Motors Corporation
Checker Motors Corporation was a Kalamazoo, Michigan based vehicle manufacturer and tier-one subcontractor that manufactured taxicabs used by Checker Taxi...

 companies were the remaining North American auto manufacturers.

Product development in the 1950s

Product consolidation

American Motors combined the Nash and the Hudson product lines under a common manufacturing strategy in 1955, with the production of both Nashes and Hudsons combined, while retaining the separately branded established dealer networks. The Hudsons were redesigned to bring them in harmony with Nash body styles.

The fast-selling Rambler model was sold as both a Nash and a Hudson in 1955 and 1956. These badge-engineered
Badge engineering
Badge engineering is an ironic term that describes the rebadging of one product as another...

 Ramblers, along with similar Metropolitans, were identical save for hubcaps, nameplates, and other minor trim details.

The pre-existing full-size Nash product line was continued and the Nash Statesman
Nash Statesman
The Nash Statesman was the lower-priced version of the two main Nash Motors' automobile series, and was priced below the top-line Nash Ambassador....

 and Ambassador were restyled as the "new" Hudson Wasp
Hudson Wasp
The Hudson Wasp is an automobile that was produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan between 1952 and 1954. The Wasp was also built by American Motors Corporation in Kenosha, Wisconsin and marketed under its Hudson brand for model years 1955 and 1956.- 1952–1954 :The Wasp was...

 and Hudson Hornet
Hudson Hornet
The Hudson Hornet is an automobile that was produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan between 1951 and 1954. The Hornet was also built by American Motors Corporation in Kenosha, Wisconsin and marketed under the Hudson brand between 1955 and 1957.The first-generation Hudson...

. Although the cars shared the same body shell, they were at least as different from one another as Chevrolet and Pontiac. Hudsons and Nashes each used their own engines as they had previously: the Hudson Hornet continued to offer the 308 CID I6 that had powered the (NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

) champion during the early 1950s; the Wasp now used the former engine of the Hudson Jet.

The Nash Ambassador and Statesman continued with overhead- valve and L-head sixes respectively. Hudson and Nash cars had different front suspensions. Trunk lids were interchangeable but other body panels, rear window glass, dash panels and braking systems were different. The Hudson Hornet and Wasp, and their Nash counterparts, had improved ride and visibility; also better fuel economy owing to the lighter unitized Nash body.

For the 1958 model year, the Nash and Hudson brands were dropped. Rambler became a marque in its own right and the mainstay of the company. The slow-selling British-built Nash Metropolitan
Nash Metropolitan
The Nash Metropolitan is a car that was sold, initially only in the United States and Canada, from 1954–1962.It conforms to two classes of vehicle: economy car and subcompact car. In today’s terminology the Metropolitan is a “subcompact”, but this category had not yet come into use when the car was...

 subcompact continued as a standalone brand until it was dropped after 1962. The prototype 1958 Nash Ambassador
Nash Ambassador
Ambassador was the model name applied to the senior line of Nash automobiles from 1932 until 1957. From 1958 until the end of the 1974 model year, the Ambassador was the product of American Motors Corporation , which continued to use the Ambassador model name on its top-of-the-line models...

 / Hudson Hornet
Hudson Hornet
The Hudson Hornet is an automobile that was produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan between 1951 and 1954. The Hornet was also built by American Motors Corporation in Kenosha, Wisconsin and marketed under the Hudson brand between 1955 and 1957.The first-generation Hudson...

, built on a stretched Rambler platform, was renamed at the last minute as "Ambassador by Rambler". To round out the model line AMC reintroduced the old 1955, 100 in (2,540 mm) wheelbase Nash Rambler
Nash Rambler
The Nash Rambler was a North American automobile produced by the Nash Motors division of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation from 1950–55.The Nash Rambler established a new segment in the automobile market and is widely acknowledged to be the first successful modern American compact...

 as the new Rambler American
Rambler American
The Rambler American is an automobile manufactured by the American Motors Corporation between 1958 and 1969. The American was the second incarnation of AMC's forerunner Nash Motors second-generation Rambler compact that was sold under the Nash and Hudson Motors marques from 1954 and 1955.The...

 with only a few modifications. This gave Rambler a compact lineup with 100 in (2,540 mm) American, 108 in (2,743 mm) Rambler Six
Rambler Six
The Rambler Six and the Rambler V8 are intermediate sized automobiles that were built and marketed by American Motors Corporation from 1956 to 1960....

 and Rebel V8
Rambler Rebel
The Rambler Rebel is an automobile that was produced by the American Motors Corporation of Kenosha, Wisconsin for the 1957–1960 model years, as well as again for 1966 and 1967.- History :...

, as well as the 117 in (2,972 mm) Ambassador wheelbase vehicles.

The "dinosaur-fighter"

Sales of Ramblers soared in the late 1950s in part because American Motors focus on the compact car and its marketing efforts. These included sponsoring the hugely popular Walt Disney anthology television series and as an exhibitor at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. George Romney himself pitched the Rambler product in the television commercials.

While the "Big Three" introduced ever-larger cars, AMC followed a "dinosaur-fighter" strategy. George W. Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

's leadership focused the company on the compact car, a fuel-efficient vehicle 20 years before there was a real need for them. This gave Romney a high profile in the media. Two core strategic factors
Critical success factor
Critical success factor is the term for an element that is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. It is a critical factor or activity required for ensuring the success of a company or an organization. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business...

 came into play: (1) the use of shared components in AMC products and (2) a refusal to participate in the Big Three's restyling race. This cost-control policy helped Rambler develop a reputation as solid economy cars. Company officials were confident in the changing market and in 1959 announced a $10 million (US$ in dollars) expansion of its Kenosha complex (to increase annual straight-time capacity from 300,000 to 440,000 cars). A letter to shareholders in 1959 claimed that the introduction of new compact cars by AMC's large domestic competitors (for the 1960 model year) "signals the end of big-car domination in the U.S." and that AMC predicts small-car sales in the U.S. may reach 3 million units by 1963.

American Motors was also beginning to experiment in non-gasoline powered automobiles. On April 1, 1959, AMC and Sonotone Corporation announced a joint research effort to consider producing an electric car
Electric car
An electric car is an automobile which is propelled by electric motor, using electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device. Electric cars were popular in the late-19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass...

 that was to be powered by a "self-charging" battery. Sonotone had the technology for making sintered plate nickel–cadmium batteries that can be recharged very rapidly and are lighter than a typical automobile lead–acid battery.

In 1959, AMC hired designer Richard A. Teague
Richard A. Teague
Richard A. Teague , born in Los Angeles, California, was an industrial designer in the North American automotive industry...

 who had previously worked for General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, Packard
Packard
Packard was an American luxury-type automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana...

, and Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

; after Edmund E. Anderson
Edmund E. Anderson
Edmund E. Anderson was an industrial designer in the North American automotive industry, notably as the lead designer for American Motors Corporation from 1950 to 1961. He was born in Boston. Anderson also worked in automotive design at General Motors until 1950, when he was recruited by George W...

 left the company in 1961, Teague was named principal designer and in 1964, Vice President.

Innovation

In an effort to stay competitive, American Motors produced a wide range of products during the 1960s, and added innovations long before the "Big Three" introduced them.

For example, the Rambler Classic
Rambler Classic
The Rambler Classic was an intermediate sized automobile that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation from model year 1961 to 1966...

 was equipped with a standard tandem master cylinder
Master cylinder
The master cylinder is a control device that converts non-hydraulic pressure into hydraulic pressure, in order to move other device which are located at the other end of the hydraulic system, such as one or more slave cylinders...

 in 1962, six years before U.S. safety regulations required that safety feature.

Rambler also was an early pioneer in offering an automatic shift indicator sequence (PRN21L, where if one selected "2", the car started in second gear, while "1" started in first gear) which is similar to today's "PRNODSL", made mandatory in 1968, which requires a neutral position between reverse and drive, while General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 still offered a shift selector that had reverse immediately next to low gear (PNDSLR) well into the 1960s.

In 1964, the Classic was equipped with standard dual reclining front seats nearly a decade before the Big Three offered them as options. Bendix
Bendix Corporation
The Bendix Corporation was an American manufacturing and engineering company which during various times in its 60 year existence made brake systems, aeronautical hydraulics, avionics, aircraft and automobile fuel control systems, radios, televisions and computers, and which licensed its name for...

 disc brake
Disc brake
The disc brake or disk brake is a device for slowing or stopping the rotation of a wheel while it is in motion.A brake disc is usually made of cast iron, but may in some cases be made of composites such as reinforced carbon–carbon or ceramic matrix composites. This is connected to the wheel and/or...

s were made optional on the Classic in 1965, while the Big Three didn't offer them until 1969 on many models.

In the early part of the decade, sales were strong, thanks in no small part to the company's history of building small cars, which came into vogue in 1961. In both 1960 and 1961, Ramblers ranked in third place among domestic automobile sales, up from third on the strength of small-car sales, even in the face of a lot of new competition. Romney's strategic focus
Strategic management
Strategic management is a field that deals with the major intended and emergent initiatives taken by general managers on behalf of owners, involving utilization of resources, to enhance the performance of firms in their external environments...

 was very successful as reflected in the firm's healthy profits year after year. The company became completely debt-free. The financial success allowed the company to reach an agreement on August 26, 1961 with the United Auto Workers
United Auto Workers
The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, better known as the United Auto Workers , is a labor union which represents workers in the United States and Puerto Rico, and formerly in Canada. Founded as part of the Congress of Industrial...

 for a profit sharing
Profit sharing
Profit sharing, when used as a special term, refers to various incentive plans introduced by businesses that provide direct or indirect payments to employees that depend on company's profitability in addition to employees' regular salary and bonuses...

 plan that was new in the automobile industry. Its new three-year labor contract also included generous annual improvement pay increases, as well as automatic cost-of-living raises. However, in 1962, Romney resigned to run for Governor of Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

. His replacement was Roy Abernethy
Roy Abernethy
Roy Abernethy was an executive in the American automobile industry, serving as CEO of American Motors Corporation from February 1962 to January 1967. Prior to his tenure at AMC, Abernethy had been with Packard Motors and Willys-Overland. Abernethy replaced George W...

, AMC's successful sales executive.

Abernethy believed that AMC's reputation of building reliable economical cars could be translated into a new strategy that could follow AMC buyers as they traded up into larger, more expensive vehicles. The first cars bearing his signature were the 1965 models. These were a longer Ambassador
AMC Ambassador
- 1958 :American Motors planned to produce a stretched a wheelbase version of the Rambler platform for Nash dealers to be the new Nash Ambassador, and another for Hudson dealers...

 series and new convertible
Convertible
A convertible is a type of automobile in which the roof can retract and fold away having windows which wind-down inside the doors, converting it from an enclosed to an open-air vehicle...

s for the larger models. During mid-year a fastback
Fastback
A fastback is a car body style whose roofline slopes continuously down at the back. The word can also designate the car itself. The style is seen on two-door coupés as well as four-door sedans.-History:...

, called the Marlin
Rambler Marlin
The AMC Marlin is a two-door, mid-sized fastback car made in the United States by the American Motors Corporation from 1965 to 1967. A halo model for the company, it was marketed as a personal luxury car....

, was added. Rather than competing directly with Ford's new pony-car
Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. It was initially based on the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car. Introduced early on April 17, 1964, as a "1964½" model, the 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A...

, AMC's "family-sized" car emphasized personal-luxury
Personal luxury car
A personal luxury car is a highly styled, luxury vehicle with an emphasis on image over practicality. Accenting the comfort and satisfaction of its owner and driver above all else, the personal luxury car sometimes sacrifices passenger capacity, cargo room, and fuel economy in favor of style and...

. Abernethy also called for the de-emphasis of the Rambler brand. The 1966 Marlin and Ambassador lost their Rambler nameplates, and were badged as "American Motors" products. The new models shared fewer parts among each other and were more expensive to build.

Tough choices

The continuing quest "in the business world's toughest race – the grinding contest against the Big Three automobile makers" also meant annual styling changes requiring large expenditures. American Motors' management total confidence "that the new 1965 models would stem a bothersome decline" actually began falling behind in share of sales. Moreover, a new line of redesigned cars in the full
Full-size car
A full-size car is a marketing term used in North America for an automobile larger than a mid-size car. In the United States, the EPA uses "large car" to denote full-size cars....

 and mid-sized
Mid-size car
A mid-size car is the North American/Australian standard for an automobile with a size equal to or greater than that of a compact...

 markets was launched in the fall of 1966. The cars won acclaim for their fluid styling, but Abernethy's ideas did not work as they only confused the firm's core customers. Sales of the new Rebel and Ambassador models dropped after their introduction. There were quality control problems, as well as persistent rumors of the company's demise because of its precarious cash flow.

American Motors did not have its own electric car program as the Big Three, and after some negotiation, a contract was drawn in 1967 with Gulton Industries to develop a new battery based on lithium
Lithium battery
Lithium batteries are disposable batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode. Depending on the design and chemical compounds used, lithium cells can produce voltages from 1.5 V to about 3.7 V, over twice the voltage of an ordinary zinc–carbon battery or alkaline battery...

 and a speed controller designed by Victor Wouk. A nickel-cadmium battery powered 1969 Rambler station wagon demonstrated the power systems that according to the scientist was a "wonderful car". This was also the start of other "plug-in"-type experimental AMC vehicles developed with Gulton – the Amitron
Amitron
The Amitron was an American electric concept car built in 1967 by American Motors Corporation and Gulton Industries of Metuchen, New Jersey.- Design :...

 and the Electron
Electron (vehicle)
The Electron was an American concept automobile built in 1977 by American Motors Corporation .- Design :The experimental three-passenger commuter "city car" was designed for short-trip urban transportation. The clamshell-style roof swung back on rear-mounted pivots for entry and egress.The Electron...

.

Abernethy was ousted from AMC on January 9, 1967 and damage control fell to the new CEO, Roy D. Chapin Jr. (son of Hudson Motors founder Roy D. Chapin
Roy D. Chapin
Roy Dikeman Chapin was an American industrialist and automaker. He also served as the United States Secretary of Commerce from August 8, 1932, to March 3, 1933, in the last months of the administration of President Herbert Hoover.Chapin was born in 1880 in Lansing, Michigan, and attended the...

). Chapin quickly instituted changes to AMC's offerings and tried to regain market share by focusing on younger demographic markets. Chapin's first decision was to cut the price of the Rambler to within US$200 of the basic Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen Beetle
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003...

. Innovative marketing ideas included making air conditioning
Air conditioning
An air conditioner is a home appliance, system, or mechanism designed to dehumidify and extract heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle...

 standard on all 1968 Ambassador models (available as a delete option). This made AMC the first U.S. automaker to make air conditioning standard equipment on a line of their cars, beating out even luxury makes such as Lincoln
Lincoln (automobile)
Lincoln is an American luxury vehicle brand of the Ford Motor Company. Lincoln vehicles are sold mostly in North America.-History:The company was founded in August 1915 by Henry M. Leland, one of the founders of Cadillac . During World War I, he left Cadillac which was sold to General Motors...

, Imperial
Imperial (automobile)
Imperial was the Chrysler Corporation's luxury automobile brand between 1955 and 1975, with a brief reappearance in 1981 to 1983.The Imperial name had been used since 1926, but was never a separate make, just the top-of-the-line Chrysler. In 1955, the company decided to spin it off as its own make...

, and Cadillac
Cadillac
Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors . Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mostly in North America. Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest...

.

The company also introduced exciting entries for the decade's muscle car
Muscle car
Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as "any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving." Usually, a large V8 engine is fitted in a...

 boom, most notably the AMX
AMC AMX
The AMC AMX is a two-seat GT in style and approach sports car that was produced by American Motors Corporation for the 1968 through 1970 model years. The AMX was also classified as a muscle car, but "unique among other American cars at the time due its short wheelbase"...

; while the Javelin
AMC Javelin
The Javelin was a production version of one of the AMC AMX prototypes shown during the 1966 AMX project nationwide tour. Intended to rival other pony cars such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. American Motor's Javelin debuted on 22 August 1967, for the 1968 model year...

 served as the company's entrant into the sporty "pony car" market created by the Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. It was initially based on the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car. Introduced early on April 17, 1964, as a "1964½" model, the 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A...

. Additional operating cash was derived in 1968 through the sale of Kelvinator
Kelvinator
Kelvinator is an appliance brand. It takes its name from William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, who developed the concept of absolute zero and for whom the Kelvin temperature scale is named...

 Appliance, once one of the firm's core operating units.

The Rambler brand was completely dropped after the 1969 model year in North America, although it continued to be used in several overseas markets as either a model or brand name, with the last use in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 in 1983. From 1970, "AMC" was the brand used for all American Motors passenger cars; and all vehicles from that date bore the AMC name and the new corporate logo. However, the names "American Motors" and "AMC" were used interchangeably in corporate literature well into the 1980s. The branding issue was further complicated when the company's Eagle
AMC Eagle
The AMC Eagle is a compact-sized four-wheel drive passenger vehicle that was produced by American Motors Corporation . The AMC Eagle line of vehicles inaugurated a new product category of "sport-utility" or crossover SUV....

 all-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, or 4×4 is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously...

 passenger cars were marketed as the "American Eagle" in the 1980s.

Chapin also expanded American Motors product line in 1970, through the purchase of the Kaiser-Jeep Corporation (formerly Willys-Overland
Willys
Willys was the brand name used by Willys-Overland Motors, an American automobile company best known for its design and production of military Jeeps and civilian versions during the 20th century.-Early History:In 1908, John Willys bought the Overland Automotive Division of Standard Wheel Company...

) from Kaiser Industries
Henry J. Kaiser
Henry John Kaiser was an American industrialist who became known as the father of modern American shipbuilding. He established the Kaiser Shipyard which built Liberty ships during World War II, after which he formed Kaiser Aluminum and Kaiser Steel. Kaiser organized Kaiser Permanente health care...

. This added the iconic Jeep
Jeep
Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler . The first Willys Jeeps were produced in 1941 with the first civilian models in 1945, making it the oldest off-road vehicle and sport utility vehicle brand. It inspired a number of other light utility vehicles, such as the Land Rover which is the second...

 brand of light trucks and SUVs, as well as Kaiser-Jeep's lucrative government contracts – notably the M151 MUTT line of military Jeeps and the DJ-Series postal
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 Jeeps. AMC also expanded its international network. The military and special products business was reconstituted as American Motors General Products Division, later reorganized as AM General
AM General
AM General is an American heavy vehicle manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. It is best known for the civilian Hummer and the military Humvee, that is assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana...

.

1970s product developments

In 1970, AMC consolidated all passenger cars under one distinct brand identity and debuted the AMC Hornet
AMC Hornet
The AMC Hornet was a compact automobile made by the American Motors Corporation in one generation beginning with the 1970 model year and continuing through the 1977 model year. The Hornet replaced the compact Rambler American marking the end of the Rambler marque in the American and Canadian markets...

 range of compact cars.

With the Hornet and later Gremlin
AMC Gremlin
The AMC Gremlin is a two-door subcompact car produced in the United States and Canada by the American Motors Corporation between 1970 and 1978. AMC reduced its development and manufacturing costs by adapting a shortened Hornet platform with a Kammback-type tail...

 AMC shared platforms
Automobile platform
An automobile platform is a shared set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major components over a number of outwardly distinct models and even types of automobiles, often from different, but related marques...

. The Gremlin, the first North American-built subcompact, sold more than 670,000 units from 1970–1978. The Hornet became AMC's best-selling passenger car since the Rambler Classic, with more than 860,000 units sold by the time production ended in 1977.

The new mid-sized AMC Matador
AMC Matador
The AMC Matador is a mid-size car that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation from 1971 to 1978. The Matador came in two generations: 1971 to 1973 and a major redesign from 1974 to 1978...

 replaced the Rebel in 1971, using an advertising campaign that asked, "What's a Matador?" In 1972, AMC won the tender for Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles Police Department
The Los Angeles Police Department is the police department of the city of Los Angeles, California. With just under 10,000 officers and more than 3,000 civilian staff, covering an area of with a population of more than 4.1 million people, it is the third largest local law enforcement agency in...

 cruisers, and Matadors were used by the department from 1972 to 1975, replacing the Plymouth Satellite
Plymouth Satellite
The Plymouth Satellite is an automobile introduced in 1965 as the top model in Plymouth's mid-size Belvedere line. The Satellite remained the top of the line model until the 1967 model year, where it became the mid-price model with the GTX taking its place as the top model. The Fury name was moved...

. American Motors supplied Mark VII Productions owner Jack Webb
Jack Webb
John Randolph "Jack" Webb , also known by the pseudonym John Randolph, was an American actor, television producer, director and screenwriter, who is most famous for his role as Sergeant Joe Friday in the radio and television series Dragnet...

 with two Matadors for use in his popular television series Adam-12
Adam-12
Adam-12 was a television police drama which followed two police officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, Pete Malloy and Jim Reed, as they patrolled the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol unit, 1-Adam-12. Created by Jack Webb who is known for creating Dragnet, the series captured a...

, increasing the cars' public profile.

In 1973, AMC signed a licensing agreement with Curtiss-Wright
Curtiss-Wright
The Curtiss-Wright Corporation was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States at the end of World War II, but has evolved to largely become a component manufacturer, specializing in actuators, aircraft controls, valves, and metalworking....

 to build Wankel engine
Wankel engine
The Wankel engine is a type of internal combustion engine using an eccentric rotary design to convert pressure into a rotating motion instead of using reciprocating pistons. Its four-stroke cycle takes place in a space between the inside of an oval-like epitrochoid-shaped housing and a rotor that...

s for cars and Jeeps.

Starting in 1974, the Matador sedan and station wagon were mildly refreshed, with new boxier front ends. The Matador two-door hardtop, known as the "flying brick" due to its poor aerodynamics in NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 competition, was replaced at great cost with a sleek, smoothly shaped, and radically styled two-door coupe. The model received praise for its design, including "Best Styled Car of 1974" by Car and Driver
Car and Driver
Car and Driver is an American automotive enthusiast magazine. Its total circulation is 1.31 million. It is owned by Hearst Magazines, who purchased prior owner Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. in 2011...

magazine, customer satisfaction, and sold almost 100,000 coupes over a five-year period. The Matador Coupe shared few components with the Matador sedan and station wagon, other than suspension, drive train, some trim, and interior parts.

The Ambassador was redesigned and stretched 7 inches (178 mm) to became the biggest ever—just as the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

 sparked gasoline rationing across the nation. The additional length was due to a new front end design and stronger energy absorbing bumpers required of all automobiles sold in the U.S. Sales of all large-sized cars fell due to economic problems and rising gasoline prices. The full-sized Ambassador was discontinued as AMC's flagship line after the 1974 model year. Nash and AMC had made Ambassadors during 1927–1974, the longest use of the same model name for any AMC product, and, at the time the longest continuously used nameplate in the industry.

In 1974, AMC's AM General subsidiary began building urban transit buses in cooperation with Flyer Industries
New Flyer Industries
New Flyer Industries Inc. is a bus manufacturer in North America, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It also has factories in Crookston and St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA.-History:...

 of Winnipeg, Canada. The Metropolitan coach had sold 5,212 units when production ceased in 1978.

The AMC Pacer
AMC Pacer
The AMC Pacer is a two-door compact automobile produced in the United States by the American Motors Corporation between 1975 and 1980.Its initial design idea was started in 1971. The car's unusual rounded shape with massive glass area greatly contrasted with the three-box architecture with "square,...

, an innovative all-new model introduced in March 1975 and billed as "the first wide small car", was a subcompact designed to provide the comfort of a full-sized car. Its pre-production development coincided with two changes in U.S. Federal passenger auto laws: first, the reduction in permissible emissions
Automobile emissions control
Vehicle emissions control is the study and practice of reducing the motor vehicle emissions -- emissions produced by motor vehicles, especially internal combustion engines....

 for passenger auto engines, which the Pacer would have met with the Wankel
Wankel engine
The Wankel engine is a type of internal combustion engine using an eccentric rotary design to convert pressure into a rotating motion instead of using reciprocating pistons. Its four-stroke cycle takes place in a space between the inside of an oval-like epitrochoid-shaped housing and a rotor that...

-type engine it was designed for, as the Wankel's compact dimensions allowed space for extensive emission control equipment in the engine bay; second, a tightening of U.S. passenger auto safety
Car safety
Automobile safety is the study and practice of vehicle design, construction, and equipment to minimize the occurrence and consequences of automobile accidents. Automobile safety is the study and practice of vehicle design, construction, and equipment to minimize the occurrence and consequences of...

 laws, which accounted for the Pacer's designed-in safety features, e.g. internal door beams. These, together with the wide body and large glass area, added considerable weight.

With the advent of the Arab Oil Embargo energy crisis of 1973, General Motors aborted the Wankel rotary engine around which the Pacer had been designed, as its fuel consumption exceeded that of conventional engines with similar power. Therefore AMC's existing 258 CID and 232 CID AMC Straight-6 engine
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

s were used in the Pacer instead. Fuel economy was better than a rotary, but still relatively poor in light of the new focus on energy efficiency. Also, as the Pacer shared few components other than drivetrain with other AMC cars, it was expensive to make and the cost increased when sales fell steeply after the first two years.

Development and production costs for the Pacer and Matador Coupe drained capital which might otherwise have been invested in updating the more popular Hornet and Gremlin lines, so that towards the end of the 1970s the company faced the growing energy crisis with aged products that were uncompetitive in hotly contested markets. However, "AMC used cars, as far back as 1967, had the advantage of good warranty coverage ... so most owners were conscious of low-cost car maintenance ... AMC units [became] some of the very best buys on the used car market" by 1975.

The 1977 Gremlin had redesigned headlights, grille, rear hatch and fascia. For economy in the fuel crisis, AMC offered the car with a more fuel-efficient Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

-designed Audi
Audi
Audi AG is a German automobile manufacturer, from supermini to crossover SUVs in various body styles and price ranges that are marketed under the Audi brand , positioned as the premium brand within the Volkswagen Group....

 4-cylinder engine 2 l (122 cu in). The engine was expensive for AMC to build and the Gremlin retained the less costly but also less economical 232 CID as standard equipment.

The AMX
AMC AMX
The AMC AMX is a two-seat GT in style and approach sports car that was produced by American Motors Corporation for the 1968 through 1970 model years. The AMX was also classified as a muscle car, but "unique among other American cars at the time due its short wheelbase"...

 nameplate was revived in 1977. It was a sporty appearance package on the Hornet
AMC Hornet
The AMC Hornet was a compact automobile made by the American Motors Corporation in one generation beginning with the 1970 model year and continuing through the 1977 model year. The Hornet replaced the compact Rambler American marking the end of the Rambler marque in the American and Canadian markets...

 hatchback
Hatchback
A Hatchback is a car body style incorporating a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged liftgate—and features such as fold-down rear seats to enable flexibility within the shared passenger/cargo volume. As a two-box...

 featuring upgrades, as well as the 258 CID inline-6 as standard with a choice of 3-speed automatic or 4-speed manual transmissions. The 304 CID V8 engine was optional with the automatic transmission.

As all Matadors now received standard equipment that was formerly optional (e.g. power steering, automatic transmission), the "Brougham" package was dropped. Optional on the Matador coupe was a "landau" vinyl roof with "opera" windows, and top-line Barcelonas offered new two-tone paint.

For 1978, the Hornet platform
Automobile platform
An automobile platform is a shared set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major components over a number of outwardly distinct models and even types of automobiles, often from different, but related marques...

 was redesigned with an adaptation of the new Gremlin front-end design and renamed AMC Concord
AMC Concord
The AMC Concord is a compact car produced by the American Motors Corporation for the 1978 through 1983 model years. The Concord replaced the AMC Hornet and to some extent the mid-size AMC Matador, discontinued after 1978 in a market moving to downsized automobiles...

. AMC targeted it at the emerging "premium compact" market segment, paying particular attention to ride and handling, standard equipment, trim, and interior luxury.

Gremlins borrowed the Concord instrument panel, as well as a Hornet AMX-inspired GT sports appearance package and a new striping treatment for X models.

The AMC Pacer hood was modified to clear a V8 engine, and a Sports package replaced the former X package. With falling sales of Matador Coupes, sedans and wagons, their 304 CID V8 engine was dropped, leaving only the 258 CID Inline-6 (standard on coupes and sedans) and the 360 CID V8 (optional on coupes and sedans, standard on wagons). The two-tone Barcelona luxury package was offered on Matador sedans, and two-tone red paint introduced as an additional Barcelona option. Matador production ceased at the end of the model year with total sales of 10,576 units. The Matador was no longer attractive as automakers struggled to overcome economic woes including continuing fuel price increases and double digit domestic inflation.

In 1979, the Spirit
AMC Spirit
The AMC Spirit was a subcompact marketed by American Motors Corporation from 1979 to 1983 as a restyled replacement for the Gremlin. The Spirit shared the Gremlin's platform and was offered in two hatchback variations, each with two doors — marketed as sedan and liftback...

 sedan replaced the Gremlin. A new fastback version of the car, the Spirit Liftback, proved successful.

In December, Pacer production ceased after a small run of 1980 models was built to use up parts stock.

Concords received a new front end treatment, and in their final season, hatchbacks became available in DL trim. On May 1, 1979, AMC marked the 25th anniversary of the Nash-Hudson merger with "Silver Anniversary" editions of the AMC Concord and Jeep CJ in two-tone silver (Jeeps then accounted for around 50% of the company's sales and most of its profits); and introduced "LeCar", a U.S. version of the small, fuel-efficient Renault 5
Renault 5
The Renault 5 was first unveiled on 10 December 1971, being launched at the beginning of 1972.The Renault 5 was styled by Michel Boué, who died before the car's release, the R5 featured a steeply sloping rear hatchback and front dashboard...

, in dealer showrooms.

Concord and Spirit models were dropped after 1983.

Late 1970s to early 1980s


In February 1977, Time magazine reported that although AMC had lost $73.8 million in the previous two fiscal years, U.S. banks had agreed to a year's extension for a $72.5 million credit that had expired in January; that Stockholders had received no dividends since 1974; and that Pacer sales did not match expectations. However, Time noted record Jeep sales and a backlog of orders for AM General's buses.

Also in 1977, Gerald C. Meyers
Gerald C. Meyers
Gerald C. Meyers, former chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation is an industrialist, author, lecturer, and management consultant.-Career:...

 was appointed chairman and chief executive.

On March 31, 1978, AMC and Renault announced a sweeping agreement for the joint manufacture and distribution of cars and trucks that would achieve benefits for both. A month later, AMC announced that it would halt the production of standard urban transit bus
Transit bus
A transit bus , also known as a commuter bus, city bus, or public bus, is a bus used for short-distance public transport purposes...

es after about 4,300 were sold by its AM General subsidiary during three years. In May 1978, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the recall of all AMC's 1976 cars (except those conforming to California emissions regulations) – some 270,000 vehicles— plus 40,000 1975 and 1976 Jeeps and mini trucks, for correction of a fault in the pollution control system. Total cost was estimated at up to $3 million—more than AMC had earned the previous quarter.

American Motors lost an estimated $65 million on its conventional (non-Jeep) cars for the fiscal year ended September 30, 1978, but strong Jeep sales helped the company to an overall $36.7 million profit on sales of $2.6 billion. However, AMC faced costly engineering work to bring their Jeeps into compliance with a federal directive for all 4-wheel-drive vehicles to average 15 miles per US gallon by 1981.

A year later, with its share of the American market at 1.83%, the company struck a deal with Renault, the nationally owned French automaker. AMC would receive a $150 million cash injection, $50 million in credits, and also the rights to start building the Renault 5
Renault 5
The Renault 5 was first unveiled on 10 December 1971, being launched at the beginning of 1972.The Renault 5 was styled by Michel Boué, who died before the car's release, the R5 featured a steeply sloping rear hatchback and front dashboard...

 in 1982. (A deal for Renault products to be sold through the AMC-Jeep dealer network had already been made in 1979.) In return, Renault acquired a 22.5% interest in AMC. This was not the first time the two companies had worked together. Lacking its own prestige model line in the early 1960s, Renault assembled CKD kits and marketed Rambler cars in France.

In 1979, AMC announced a record $83.9 million profit on sales of $3.1 billion (US$ in dollars) for the fiscal year ending in September—this despite an economic downturn, soaring energy prices, rising American unemployment, automobile plants shutting down, and an American market trend towards imported cars. In October, the company's car sales surged 37%, while they sank 21% for the industry as a whole.

However, a drop in Jeep sales caused by the declining economy and soaring energy prices began to constrict AMC's cash flow. At the same time, pressure increased on the company's non-Jeep product lines. The face-lifts and rebranding of AMC's once-innovative and successful cars were not enough in a competitive landscape that had changed dramatically. No longer was the threat limited to the Big Three automakers (General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

, and Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

). The Japanese used streamlined production methods such as outsourcing and Just In Time (JIT) supply-chain management. They had new, highly efficient assembly plants in the United States. And now they targeted the heart of AMC's passenger product line: small cars.

While Americans turned to the new imports in increasing numbers, AMC continued its struggle at the inefficient and aging Kenosha, Wisconsin
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Kenosha is a city and the county seat of Kenosha County in the State of Wisconsin in United States. With a population of 99,218 as of May 2011, Kenosha is the fourth-largest city in Wisconsin. Kenosha is also the fourth-largest city on the western shore of Lake Michigan, following Chicago,...

 facilities—the oldest continuously operating automobile plant in the world, where components and unfinished bodies still had to be transported across the city.

In early 1980, the banks refused AMC further credit. Lacking both capital and resources for the new, truly modern products it needed to offer, the company turned to Renault for a $90 million loan (US$ in dollars). By September that year, AMC's U.S. market share had fallen to 1.7%, and in November sales dropped 19.1%. AMC warned stockholders that the company could be bankrupted if they did not approve a plan for Renault to acquire as much as 59% of the company. On December 16, 1980, AMC shareholders "overwhelmingly approved making the French Government-owned Renault" their company's principal owner.

In January 1982 the company's former president W. Paul Tippett Jr. replaced Gerald C. Meyers as CEO, and Jose Dedeurwaerder, a Renault executive, became president. Dedeurwaerder brought a broad perspective at this critical time: as an engineer and international business executive with 23 years at Renault, he is credited with streamlining many of AMC's arcane management techniques. He also instituted important improvements in plant layouts, as well as in cost and quality control.

Renault, having increased their stake in the company several times to keep it solvent, eventually owned 49% in 1983. This development effectively ended AMC's run as a truly American car company.

New ownership and new management heralded a new product venture for AMC: a line of modern front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 cars, designed by Renault, to be produced at Kenosha.

AMC Eagle

In August 1979, for the 1980 model year, AMC introduced four-wheel drive versions of the Spirit
AMC Spirit
The AMC Spirit was a subcompact marketed by American Motors Corporation from 1979 to 1983 as a restyled replacement for the Gremlin. The Spirit shared the Gremlin's platform and was offered in two hatchback variations, each with two doors — marketed as sedan and liftback...

 and Concord
AMC Concord
The AMC Concord is a compact car produced by the American Motors Corporation for the 1978 through 1983 model years. The Concord replaced the AMC Hornet and to some extent the mid-size AMC Matador, discontinued after 1978 in a market moving to downsized automobiles...

, calling the collective line the AMC Eagle
AMC Eagle
The AMC Eagle is a compact-sized four-wheel drive passenger vehicle that was produced by American Motors Corporation . The AMC Eagle line of vehicles inaugurated a new product category of "sport-utility" or crossover SUV....

. Eagles rapidly became one of the company's best-known products and is considered one of the first "crossover SUV
Crossover SUV
A crossover SUV is a vehicle built on a car platform and combining, in highly variable degrees, features of a sport utility vehicle with features from a passenger vehicle, especially those of a station wagon or hatchback.Using the unibody construction typical of passenger vehicles, the crossover...

s". Eagles used the 2-wheel drive body shells mounted on an all-new platform developed by American Motors in the late 1970s. Featuring an innovative full-time four-wheel drive system, it sold best in snow-prone areas. Sales started strongly but declined over time. While the two-wheel drive Spirit and Concord were both discontinued after 1983 as the company concentrated on its new Renault Alliance
Renault Alliance
The Renault Alliance is a subcompact automobile manufactured and marketed in North America by American Motors Corporation , with 623,573 examples manufactured for model years 1983-1987, and with a three and five-door hatchback variant, the Renault Encore marketed beginning in 1984.The two models...

, the Eagle survived for five years longer, albeit only in station wagon form, into the 1988 model year. This meant the four-wheel drive Eagle was the lone representative of the AMC brand from 1984–1988. All the company's remaining output was branded Renault or Jeep. The last AMC Eagle was built on December 14, 1987.

Renault Alliance

The Renault Alliance was the first joint product of the AMC-Renault partnership. Introduced in 1983, the Alliance was a front-wheel drive Renault 9 compact restyled for the American market by Richard Teague and produced by AMC at Kenosha. The car was initially badged as a Renault, and some cars carried BOTH Renault and AMC badges, however most 1986 and all 1987 models had only AMC branding; it was available as a sedan with two or four doors, a hatchback
Hatchback
A Hatchback is a car body style incorporating a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged liftgate—and features such as fold-down rear seats to enable flexibility within the shared passenger/cargo volume. As a two-box...

 (introduced in 1984 and badged as Encore
Renault 9/11
The Renault 9 and Renault 11 are two small family cars produced by the French manufacturer Renault for model years 1981-1988 in sedan and hatchback configurations — both styled by prominent French automobile designer, Robert Opron.Variants were manufactured by American Motors, as the...

), a two-door convertible and, for the final 1987 model year, a higher-performance version of the 2-door sedan and convertible sold as the GTA
Renault GTA
The Renault GTA was a performance version of the Renault Alliance vehicle line, a U.S. market subcompact car that was based on France's most popular car and Renault's best selling model ever. It was manufactured by American Motors Corporation in the U.S...

.

The new model, introduced at a time of increased interest in small cars, won several awards including Motor Trend Car of the Year
Motor Trend Car of the Year
The Motor Trend Car of the Year is an award given by Motor Trend magazine, an American monthly that is published since 1949.- Background :...

. Motor Trend declared: "The Alliance may well be the best-assembled first-year car we’ve ever seen. Way to go Renault!" The Alliance was listed as number one on Car and Driver
Car and Driver
Car and Driver is an American automotive enthusiast magazine. Its total circulation is 1.31 million. It is owned by Hearst Magazines, who purchased prior owner Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. in 2011...

's
list of Ten Best cars
Car and Driver Ten Best
Car and Driver magazine annually nominates a list of what it considers the Ten Best cars and Five Best trucks.All production vehicles for sale in that calendar year are considered with these restrictions:# The vehicle must be on sale by January...

 for 1983, The positive reception and sales of 200,000 Alliances by 1984 was hindered by the availability of only two body styles. The Alliance was a European-designed car and not fully suited to U.S. market demands. The distribution network was also not well supported, which led to lower quality delivered by dealerships with "disastrous consequences" for the image of the automobiles, as well as high warranty costs. Alliance production ended in June 1987.

Jeeps

More beneficial to AMC's future was the introduction of an all-new line of compact Jeep Cherokee
Jeep Cherokee (XJ)
The Jeep Cherokee is a unibody compact SUV. It shared the name of the original full-size SJ model, but without a body-on-frame chassis, it set the stage for the modern SUV. Its innovative appearance and sales popularity spawned important imitators as other automakers began to notice that this...

 and Wagoneer
Jeep Wagoneer
The Jeep Wagoneer was an early sport utility vehicle and the first luxury 4x4, produced under varying marques from 1963 to 1991. It was noteworthy for being in production for more than 28 years with only minor mechanical changes...

 models in the autumn of 1983 for the 1984 model year. The popularity of these downsized Jeeps pioneered a new market segment for what later became defined as the sport utility vehicle
Sport utility vehicle
A sport utility vehicle is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. It is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle. Not all four-wheel...

 (SUV). They initially used the AMC 2.5 l (152 cu in) OHV four-cylinder engine
AMC Straight-4 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-4 engine was used by a number of AMC, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles from 1984-2002.*For an outline of all engines used by AMC see -Development:...

 with a carburetor
Carburetor
A carburetor , carburettor, or carburetter is a device that blends air and fuel for an internal combustion engine. It is sometimes shortened to carb in North America and the United Kingdom....

, and a General Motors-built 2.8 l (171 cu in) carbureted V6 was optional. In 1986, throttle-body injection replaced the carburetor on the 2.5 L I4 engines. A Renault 2.1 l (128 cu in) Turbo-Diesel I4 diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 was also offered. Starting with the 1987 models, a 4 l (244 cu in) I6 engine, derived from the older 258 CID I6 with a new head design and an electronic fuel injection
Fuel injection
Fuel injection is a system for admitting fuel into an internal combustion engine. It has become the primary fuel delivery system used in automotive petrol engines, having almost completely replaced carburetors in the late 1980s....

 system, replaced the outsourced
Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else.-Overview:The term outsourcing is used inconsistently but usually involves the contracting out of a business function - commonly one previously performed in-house - to an external provider...

 V6. American Motors' "new" engine was designed with help from Renault and incorporated Renault-Bendix (Renix
Renix
Renix made automobile electronic ignitions, fuel injection systems, electronic automatic transmission controls, and various engine sensors.The term Renix also has a number of applications...

) parts for fuel and ignition management. The 4.0 developed an outstanding reputation for reliability and toughness. Retained by Chrysler after the buyout, the design continued to be improved and refined until its discontinuation at the end of the 2006 model year. The 4.0 engine saw extensive application in XJ Cherokees and Wagoneers, Grand Cherokees, and Wranglers, and many of those engines saw (or are seeing) extremely long lives, quite a few exceeding 300000 mi (482,802 km). The XJ Cherokee itself was built by Chrysler until the end of the 2001 model year in the U.S. and until 2005 in China.

Three other designs continued to be used after the Chrysler buyout: the Grand Wagoneer full-size luxury SUV, the full-sized J-series pickups, built on the same chassis as the earlier SJ model Wagoneers and Cherokees that dated from 1963 with the AMC 360 CID V8, and the Jeep Comanche
Jeep Comanche
The Jeep Comanche is a pickup truck version of the Cherokee compact SUV that was produced from 1985 to 1992. Rear wheel and four-wheel drive models were available, as well as two cargo box lengths of six-feet or seven-feet .-Introduction:During the mid-1980s, according to AMC Chairman W...

 (MJ) compact pickup, which debuted in 1986. Unlike most sport-utility vehicles which are based on adapted pickup truck designs, the Cherokee XJ SUV came first and the Comanche was designed as a later pickup truck version.

Production of the full-sized pickups ceased after 1987. The Grand Wagoneer and 360 V8 engine were dropped after 1991 (the last American-made vehicle whose engine used a carburetor
Carburetor
A carburetor , carburettor, or carburetter is a device that blends air and fuel for an internal combustion engine. It is sometimes shortened to carb in North America and the United Kingdom....

 for fuel delivery), and the Comanche bowed after 1992.

Marketplace and management changes

There were significant changes in 1985 as the market moved away from AMC's small models. With fuel relatively cheap again, buyers turned to larger more powerful automobiles and AMC was unprepared for this development. Even the venerable Jeep CJ-5 was dropped after a 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
60 Minutes is an American television news magazine, which has run on CBS since 1968. The program was created by producer Don Hewitt who set it apart by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation....

TV news magazine exposé of rollover tendencies under extreme conditions. AMC also confronted an angry work force. Labor was taking revenge, and reports circulated about sabotage of vehicles on the assembly lines because of the failure to receive promised wage increases. There were rumors that the aging Kenosha plant was to be shut down. At the same time, Chrysler was having trouble meeting demand for its M-body rear-drive models (Dodge Diplomat
Dodge Diplomat
The Dodge Diplomat is an American mid-size car made from 1977 to 1989. It is substantially identical to the Chrysler- and Plymouth-branded versions of Chrysler's M-body cars, including the Chrysler LeBaron and New Yorker Fifth Avenue and the Plymouth Gran Fury in the U.S. market and the Plymouth...

, Plymouth Gran Fury
Plymouth Gran Fury
The Plymouth Gran Fury is an automobile manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation to signify Plymouth's largest full-size automobile from 1975 to 1977. The nameplate would be used on successive downsizings, first in 1980, and again in 1982, through what would originally have been intermediate and...

 and Chrysler Fifth Avenue
Chrysler Fifth Avenue
With the R-body out of production and the LeBaron name transferred to the Chrysler K platform for 1982, the New Yorker was downsized once again, becoming a mid-sized car ....

). Because they were assembled using the old "gate and buck system" and the tooling could be easily moved, Chrysler could supply the components and control the quality, while AMC assembled the car. Therefore, Lee Iacocca and Joe Cappy reached an agreement to use some of AMC's idle plant capacity in Kenosha.

These problems came in the midst of a transfer of power at AMC from Paul Tippet to a French executive, Pierre Semerena. The new management responded with tactical moves by selling the lawn care Wheel Horse
Wheel Horse
Wheel Horse was a manufacturer of outdoor and garden power equipment, including lawn and garden tractors. The company's headquarters were in South Bend, Indiana.- History :...

 Products Division and signing an agreement to build Jeeps in the People's Republic of China. The Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 had problems with AM General
AM General
AM General is an American heavy vehicle manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. It is best known for the civilian Hummer and the military Humvee, that is assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana...

, a significant defense contractor
Defense contractor
A defense contractor is a business organization or individual that provides products or services to a military department of a government. Products typically include military aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems...

, being managed by a partially French-government-owned firm. The U.S. government would not allow a foreign government to own a significant portion of an important defense supplier. As a result, the profitable AM General Division was sold. Another milestone was the departure of Dick Teague
Richard A. Teague
Richard A. Teague , born in Los Angeles, California, was an industrial designer in the North American automotive industry...

: AMC's design vice president for 26 years, he was responsible for many Jeep and AMC designs including the Rambler American, Javelin, Hornet, Gremlin, Pacer, and Matador coupe.

Problems at Renault and the assassination

American Motors' major stockholder, Renault, itself was experiencing financial troubles of its own in France. The investment in AMC (including construction of a new Canadian assembly plant in Brampton
Brampton
Brampton is the third-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada.Brampton may also refer to:- Canada :* Brampton, a city in Ontario** Brampton GO Station, a station in the GO Transit network located in the city- United Kingdom :...

, Ontario) forced cuts at home, resulting in the closure of several French plants and mass layoff
Layoff
Layoff , also called redundancy in the UK, is the temporary suspension or permanent termination of employment of an employee or a group of employees for business reasons, such as when certain positions are no longer necessary or when a business slow-down occurs...

s. Renault was down to just three alternatives regarding its American holdings: (1) They could declare AMC officially bankrupt thereby lose its investment; (2) They could come up with more money, but Renault management perceived AMC as a bottomless pit; or (3) AMC could be put up for sale and the French could get back part of their investment. Against these detractions, Renault's chairman, Georges Besse
Georges Besse
Georges Besse was a French businessman who led several large state-controlled French companies during his lifetime. He was assassinated outside his home on November 17, 1986...

, continued to champion the French firm's future in the North American market; pointing to the company's completion of the newest and most-advanced automotive assembly plant in North America at the time at Bramalea
Bramalea, Ontario
Bramalea is a neighbourhood in the city of Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Created as an innovative "new town", Bramalea was developed as a separate community from the city...

 – as well as the recent introduction of the thoroughly modern, fuel-injected 4.0 L and 2.5 L engines. In addition, Jeep vehicles were riding an unprecedented surge in demand. It seemed to Besse and others that AMC was on course for profitability.

However, on November 17, 1986, Georges Besse
Georges Besse
Georges Besse was a French businessman who led several large state-controlled French companies during his lifetime. He was assassinated outside his home on November 17, 1986...

, who had a high profile among French capitalists, was assassinated by Action Directe, a clandestine militant extremist group variously described as communist, anarchist and Maoist, which professed strong sympathies for the proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

 and the aspirations of the Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

. The murder was carried out by members of Action Directe's Pierre Overney Commando (named after a Maoist militant killed by a Renault factory guard). The group stated that the murder was in retaliation for Besse having sacked tens of thousands of workers – 34,000 from the French aluminum
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 producer PUK-Péchiney and 25,000 from Renault.

Sale to Chrysler

Under pressure from Renault executives following Besse's death, Renault's new president, Raymond Levy set out to repair employee relations and divest
Divestment
In finance and economics, divestment or divestiture is the reduction of some kind of asset for either financial or ethical objectives or sale of an existing business by a firm...

 the company of its investment in American Motors.

The earlier arrangement between Chrysler and AMC in 1985, under which AMC would produce M-body chassis
Chrysler M platform
The M-Bodies were Chrysler Corporation's successor to the F-body Aspen/Volare. The platform, almost identical to the F, was introduced in 1977 and was the basis for some mid-sized Chrysler models until its demise in 1989. The M-body was also the successor to the short-lived R-body, as the Chrysler...

 rear-drive large cars for two years from 1986–88, fed the rumor that Chrysler was about to buy AMC. According to the head of manufacturing for Chrysler at the time, Stephan Sharf, the existing relationship with AMC producing a car for a competitor facilitated the negotiations.

On March 9, 1987, Chrysler agreed to buy Renault's share in AMC, plus all the remaining shares, for about US$1.5 billion (US$ in dollars). AMC became the Jeep-Eagle
Jeep-Eagle
Jeep-Eagle was the name of the automobile sales division created by the Chrysler after the US$2 billion takeover of American Motors in 1987...

 division of Chrysler. It was the Jeep brand that Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca
Lee Iacocca
Lido Anthony "Lee" Iacocca is an American businessman known for engineering the Mustang, the unsuccessful Ford Pinto, being fired from Ford Motor Company, and his revival of the Chrysler Corporation in the 1980s...

 really wanted – in particular the ZJ Grand Cherokee
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a Mid-size SUV produced by the Jeep division of Chrysler. While some other SUVs were manufactured with body on frame construction, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has always used a unibody chassis.- Development :...

, then under development by Jeep engineers, which ultimately proved highly profitable for Chrysler (the nameplate remains in production today). However, the buyout included other attractive deal sweeteners for Chrysler. Among them was the world-class, brand-new manufacturing plant in Bramalea, Ontario
Bramalea, Ontario
Bramalea is a neighbourhood in the city of Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Created as an innovative "new town", Bramalea was developed as a separate community from the city...

, which offered Iacocca an unprecedented opportunity to increase his company's production capacity
Capacity utilization
Capacity utilization is a concept in economics and managerial accounting which refers to the extent to which an enterprise or a nation actually uses its installed productive capacity...

 at a fire-sale price. AMC had designed and built the plant in anticipation of building the clean-slate designed Eagle Premier. Additional profitable acquisitions were the AMC dealer network (the addition of which strengthened Chrysler's retail distribution – many AMC dealers switched to selling Chrysler products); and AMC's underrated organization and management talent – which Chrysler quickly assimilated (numerous leading Chrysler engineers and executives were ex-AMC).

Ironically the sale came at a time when the automotive press was enthusiastic about the proposed 1988 lineup of Renault and Jeep vehicles, and reports that the financial outlook for the tiny automaker were improving.

The sale marked Renault
Renault
Renault S.A. is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans and also buses/coaches. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the world's third largest automaker...

's withdrawal from the North American market (excluding Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

) in the 1988 model year. However, the French company has since returned to that market with its subsequent purchase of a US$5.4 billion controlling stake in Nissan in March 1999. In contrast to the AMC/Renault partnership, Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn, KBE , born 9 March 1954, is a Brazilian-Lebanese-French businessman who is currently the Chairman and CEO of Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan and holds the same positions at Paris-based Renault, which together produce more than one in 10 cars worldwide...

, CEO and President of Renault of France and Nissan of Japan, is guiding the Renault-Nissan alliance away from national identities.

Business legacy

American Motors was forced to constantly innovate for 33 years until Chrysler absorbed it in 1987. The lessons learned from this experience were integrated into the company that bought AMC. The organization, strategies, as well as several key executives allowed Chrysler to gain an edge on the competition. Even today, the lessons gained from the AMC experience continue to provide benefits to other firms in the industry. There are a number of legacies from AMC's business strategies
Strategic management
Strategic management is a field that deals with the major intended and emergent initiatives taken by general managers on behalf of owners, involving utilization of resources, to enhance the performance of firms in their external environments...

.

AMC had an ability to formulate strategies that were often evaluated by industry critics as "strokes of brilliance". According to Roy D. Chapin Jr.
Roy D. Chapin Jr.
Roy Dikeman Chapin, Jr. was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Motors Corporation . Chapin's father, Roy D...

, AMC realized they were up against the giants of the industry, so to compete successfully they had to be able to move quickly and with ingenuity. An essential strategy practiced by AMC was to rely on outside vendors
Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else.-Overview:The term outsourcing is used inconsistently but usually involves the contracting out of a business function - commonly one previously performed in-house - to an external provider...

 to supply components in which they had differential advantages
Sustainable competitive advantage
Competitive advantage is defined as the strategic advantage one business entity has over its rival entities within its competitive industry. Achieving competitive advantage strengthens and positions a business better within the business environment....

. This has finally been accepted in the US auto industry, but only after each of the Big Three experienced the failure of attempting to be self-sufficient. Another example of AMC's agility was the ability of management to squeeze money out of reluctant bankers, even in the face of bankruptcy. These core abilities
Core competency
A core competency is a concept in management theory originally advocated by CK Prahalad, and Gary Hamel, two business book writers. In their view a core competency is a specific factor that a business sees as being central to the way it, or its employees, works...

 helped save the company from collapse and after each obstacle, give it the wherewithal to keep it operating. Ironically, AMC was never stronger than just before its demise.

AMC's managers anticipated important trends in the automotive industry. It preached fuel efficiency in the 1950s, long before most auto buyers demanded it. Led by AMC's Rambler and several European cars, the small car innovation reduced the Big Three's market share from 93% in 1957 to 82% in 1959. The company inherited foreign manufacturing and sales partnerships from Nash and continued developing business relations, decades before most of the international consolidations among automobile makers took place. AMC was the first U.S. automaker to establish ownership agreement with a foreign automaker, Renault. Although small in size, AMC was able to introduce numerous industry innovations. Starting in 1957, AMC was the only U.S. manufacturer to totally immerse all automobile bodies in primer paint
Primer (paint)
A primer is a preparatory coating put on materials before painting. Priming ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases paint durability, and provides additional protection for the material being painted.-When primers are used:...

 for protection against rust, until competitors adopted the practice in 1964. Even one of AMC's most expensive new product investments (the Pacer) established many features that were later adopted by the auto industry worldwide. These included aerodynamic body design, space-efficient interiors, aircraft style doors, and a large greenhouse for visibility. AMC was also effective in other areas such as marketing by introducing low rate financing. AMC's four-wheel drive vehicles established the foundation for the modern SUV market segments, and "classic" Jeep models continue to be the benchmark in this field. Roy D. Chapin drew on his experiences as a hunter and fisherman and marketed the Jeep brand successfully to people with like interests. The brand developed a cult appeal that continues.

The purchase of AMC was instrumental in reviving Chrysler. According to Robert Lutz, former President of Chrysler, the AMC acquisition was a big and risky undertaking. The purchase was part of Chrysler's strategic "retreat-cum-diversification" plan that he states did not have the right focus. Initially the goal was to obtain the world-renowned Jeep brand. However, Lutz discovered that the decision to buy AMC turned out to be a gold mine for Chrysler. At that time, Chrysler's management was attempting to find a model to improve structure and operations, "something that would help get our minds unstuck and thinking beyond the old paradigms that we were so familiar with". In this transformation, "Chrysler's acquisition of AMC was one of the all-time great moments in corporate serendipity" according to Lutz "that most definitely played a key role in demonstrating how to accomplish change".

According to Lutz (1993), while AMC had its share of problems, it was far from being a bunch of "brain-dead losers". He describes the "troops" at AMC as more like the Wake Island Marines
Battle of Wake Island
The Battle of Wake Island began simultaneously with the Attack on Pearl Harbor and ended on 23 December 1941, with the surrender of the American forces to the Empire of Japan...

 in battle, "with almost no resources, and fighting a vastly superior enemy, they were able to roll out an impressive succession of new products". After first reacting with anger to the purchase, Chrysler managers soon anticipated the benefits. To further solidify the organizational competencies held by AMC, Lee Iacocca agreed to retain former AMC units, such as engineering, completely intact. In addition, AMC's lead engineer, François Castaing
François Castaing
François J. Castaing is a 27-year veteran automotive executive with Renault, American Motors, and Chrysler. He is an engineering graduate from École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers in Paris, and worked in Europe for Gordini and Renault before being named Vice President for Product...

, was made head of all engineering at Chrysler. In an unthinkable strategic move, Castaing completely dismantled the entrenched Chrysler groups. In their place AMC's "platform team
Automobile platform
An automobile platform is a shared set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major components over a number of outwardly distinct models and even types of automobiles, often from different, but related marques...

" was implemented. These were close-knit cross-functional groups responsible for the whole vehicle, as contrasted with Chrysler's highly functional structure. In this capacity, Castaing's strategy was to eliminate the corporate administrative overhead bureaucracy. This move shifted corporate culture and agitated veteran executives who believed that Chrysler's reputation as "the engineering company" was being destroyed. Yet, according to the popular press, by the 1980s Chrysler's reputation was totally shot, and by Lutz's view only dramatic action was going to change that. In summary, Chrysler's purchase of AMC laid the critical foundation to help re-establish a strategy for its revival in the 1990s.

Top managers at Chrysler after the AMC buyout appeared to have made errors similar to those by AMC. For example, Chrysler invested heavily in new untested models while not keeping up its profitable high-volume lines.

After the DaimlerChrysler merger, the combined company also encountered the problem of having too many platforms
Automobile platform
An automobile platform is a shared set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major components over a number of outwardly distinct models and even types of automobiles, often from different, but related marques...

. It also failed to achieve synergies by sharing components and from Chrysler's paperless design and supplier capabilities. Mercedes-Benz managers were protective of their designs and components and "advanced R&D was clearly put under German direction." This policy increased production costs. They could have observed the experience of the Nash and Hudson merger designed to achieve manufacturing efficiencies and savings from component sharing. The first product combining Chrysler and Mercedes technology and engineering with a Mercedes name was in 2006, eight years after DaimlerChrysler AG was created.

The AMC influence also continued at General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

. GM recruited a new executive team to turn itself from near bankruptcy in the early 2000s. Among the new strategists at GM was Lutz who brought an understanding of the importance of passion in the product design. Lutz implemented a new thinking at GM that incorporated the systems and structures that originated from AMC's lean and focused operations.

Renault implemented the lessons it learned from its investment in AMC. The French firm took a parallel approach as it did with its initial ownership of AMC and applied it to resurrect the money-losing Nissan automaker in Japan.

Passenger automobiles

Chrysler revived the "Spirit" name dropped by AMC after 1983 for use on one of its A platform
Chrysler A platform
Chrysler's A platform was the basis for smaller rear wheel drive cars in the 1960s. These cars are sometimes referred to as A-body cars.Cars using the A platform in various markets around the world include:* 1960-1976 Plymouth Valiant...

 cars, (the Dodge Spirit
Dodge Spirit
The Dodge Spirit is a mid-size 5- or 6-passenger sedan that was introduced in January 1989 as a replacement for the similarly sized Dodge 600. The Spirit was Dodge's version of the Chrysler AA platform, a stretched variation of the Chrysler K platform...

) from 1989–1995. The planned Renault Medallion was sold as the Eagle Medallion
Eagle Medallion
The Eagle Medallion was a rebadged and re-engineered North American version of the French Renault 21. While the cars were built on the same platform, the French market 21 and the American market Medallion differed in features, powertrain availability, frontal styling, and trims...

 in 1988 and 1989. A Renault/AMC concept, the Summit, was produced by Mitsubishi Motors
Mitsubishi Motors
is a multinational automaker headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. In 2009 it was the fifth-largest Japan-based automaker and the 17th-largest in the world measured by production...

 beginning in 1989. The planned all-new 1988 Renault Premier, a joint development effort between American Motors and Renault, and for which the Brampton Assembly
Brampton Assembly
Brampton Assembly is a Chrysler automobile factory is located at 2000 Williams Parkway East, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Originally built by American Motors Corporation for US$260 million, the manufacturing plant was specially designed for building the Eagle Premier.-History:In June 1984,...

 plant (Brampton
Brampton
Brampton is the third-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada.Brampton may also refer to:- Canada :* Brampton, a city in Ontario** Brampton GO Station, a station in the GO Transit network located in the city- United Kingdom :...

, Ontario) was built, was sold by Chrysler as the 1988–1992 Eagle Premier
Eagle Premier
The Eagle Premier was a full-size automobile developed by the American Motors Corporation and Renault partnership, inherited by Chrysler Corporation when it acquired AMC in 1987, and marketed from 1987 through 1992...

, with a rebadged Dodge Monaco
Dodge Monaco
The Dodge Monaco was a full-size automobile built and sold by the Dodge division of the Chrysler Corporation between 1965 to 1978, and 1990 to 1992.-A Grand Prix competitor:...

 variant available from 1990–1992. The full-sized
Full-size car
A full-size car is a marketing term used in North America for an automobile larger than a mid-size car. In the United States, the EPA uses "large car" to denote full-size cars....

 Premier's platform was far more advanced than anything Chrysler was building at the time. After some re-engineering and a re-designation to Chrysler code LH
Chrysler LH platform
The LH platform served as the basis for the Chrysler Concorde, Chrysler LHS, Chrysler 300M, Dodge Intrepid, Eagle Vision, and the final Chrysler New Yorker. A Plymouth to be called the "Accolade" was planned, but never saw production...

, the Eagle Premier went on to form the backbone of Chrysler's passenger car lineup during the 1990s as the Chrysler Concorde
Chrysler Concorde
The Chrysler Concorde was a large four-door, full-size, front wheel drive sedan produced by Chrysler from 1993 to 2004. It replaced the Chrysler Fifth Avenue on the lineup. One of Chrysler's 3 original Chrysler LH platform models derived from the American Motors/Renault-designed Eagle Premier, it...

 (a revived model name that was briefly used by Plymouth
Plymouth Concord
The Plymouth Concord, was a full-size car, produced by the Plymouth division of Chrysler, between 1951 and 1952. It was Plymouth's least expensive model in its lineup. It replaced the Deluxe, and was replaced by the Savoy, but only from 1954 onwards....

 in 1951 and 1952), Chrysler New Yorker
Chrysler New Yorker
The Chrysler New Yorker was a premium automobile built by the Chrysler Corporation from 1939–1996, serving for several years as the brand's flagship model. A model named the "New York Special" first appeared in the 1930s...

, Chrysler LHS
Chrysler LHS
The Chrysler LHS is a full-size, front wheel drive car based on the Chrysler LH platform.Having been praised throughout its production run as offering a blend of high-end features, along with solid performance, the LHS was marketed as a rival to other cars costing thousands more...

, Dodge Intrepid
Dodge Intrepid
The Dodge Intrepid is a large four-door, full-size, front-wheel drive sedan car model that was produced for model years 1993 to 2004. It was mechanically related to the Chrysler Concorde, Chrysler LHS, Chrysler New Yorker, Eagle Vision, and also the 300M sedans...

, and Eagle Vision
Eagle Vision
The Eagle Vision was a full-size, front-wheel drive sedan, marketed as a sports version of the Chrysler LH platform, produced from 1993-1997. It was sold by the Eagle division of the Chrysler Corporation, replacing the AMC/Renault-designed Eagle Premier...

. Plymouth almost received their own rendition of the LH platform, which was to be called the Accolade, but Chrysler decided to nix this idea not long before LH production started. The Chrysler 300M
Chrysler 300M
The Chrysler 300M is a sports sedan produced by Chrysler from 1999 to 2004. Chrysler Corporation revived the 300 name on the 300M. This time it was a front-wheel drive, V6 engined car using the Chrysler LH platform. While not technically part of the famous "letter series" of the 1950s and 1960s,...

 was likewise a Premier/LH-derived car and was initially to have been the next-generation Eagle Vision, until the Eagle
Eagle (automobile)
Eagle was a marque of the Chrysler Corporation following the purchase of American Motors Corporation and aimed at the enthusiast driver.Though short-lived, the Eagle Vision sedan sold in respectable numbers, while the sporty Eagle Talon sold more than 115,000 units.-Overview:Following the...

 brand was dropped after 1998. Hence the much lauded "cab forward
Cab forward
The term cab forward refers to various rail and road vehicle designs which place the driver's compartment substantially farther towards the front than is common practice.- Rail locomotives :...

" designed that Chrysler took so much credit for in the 1990s was actually a modified and restyled version of the AMC/Renault collaboration that resulted in the Premier.

Jeep vehicles

Chrysler marketed the SJ Jeep Grand Wagoneer until 1991, leaving it almost entirely unaltered from the final AMC rendition before the buyout. The Jeep Comanche
Jeep Comanche
The Jeep Comanche is a pickup truck version of the Cherokee compact SUV that was produced from 1985 to 1992. Rear wheel and four-wheel drive models were available, as well as two cargo box lengths of six-feet or seven-feet .-Introduction:During the mid-1980s, according to AMC Chairman W...

 pickup truck remained until 1992, while the Cherokee remained until 2001 in the U.S. (the XJ Cherokee was produced in China through 2006 as the Cherokee 2500). Although it was not introduced until 1993, the Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a Mid-size SUV produced by the Jeep division of Chrysler. While some other SUVs were manufactured with body on frame construction, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has always used a unibody chassis.- Development :...

 was initially an AMC-developed vehicle.

Traces of AMC remained within. AMC's Toledo, Ohio plants continued to manufacture Jeep Wranglers and Libertys
Jeep Liberty
Inspired by styling from the Dakar and Jeepster concept cars, the Liberty was intended as a replacement for the discontinued Jeep Cherokee . Three trim levels were initially offered; the top end Limited, a more rugged looking Renegade and the base Sport. All were made available with either 2WD or 4WD...

, as well as parts and components for Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles (although Toledo Machining and Forge was closed in 2005). AMC's main plant in Wisconsin is still active, albeit heavily downsized, as the Kenosha Engine Plant, producing engines for several Chrysler Group products, including the Wrangler. The 242 cubic inches (4 l) engine was used until the 2006 model year by DaimlerChrysler
DaimlerChrysler
Daimler AG is a German car corporation. By unit sales, it is the thirteenth-largest car manufacturer and second-largest truck manufacturer in the world. In addition to automobiles, Daimler manufactures buses and provides financial services through its Daimler Financial Services arm...

 in the Jeep Wrangler
Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is a subcompact four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle and an off-road vehicle manufactured by American automaker Chrysler, under its Jeep marque – and now in its fourth generation. It is a successor to the famous World War II 'Jeep' vehicle by way of the Willys civilian...

. AMC's technologically advanced Bramalea Assembly and Stamping Plants in Brampton
Brampton
Brampton is the third-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada.Brampton may also refer to:- Canada :* Brampton, a city in Ontario** Brampton GO Station, a station in the GO Transit network located in the city- United Kingdom :...

, Ontario later produced the LX-cars
Chrysler LX platform
The LX platform is Chrysler's full-size rear wheel drive automobile platform for the mid part of the first decade of the 21st century. The LX was developed in America from the previous Chrysler LH platform, which had been designed to allow it to be easily upgraded to rear and all-wheel drive...

 – the Dodge Charger
Dodge Charger (LX)
The Dodge Charger LX is a rear-wheel drive four-door automobile introduced in February 2005. Built by Chrysler for its North American Dodge brand, the car was created to continue the Dodge Charger line, and replaced the Dodge Intrepid as Dodge's full-size sedan...

 and the Chrysler 300
Chrysler 300
The Chrysler 300 is a full-size upscale car first shown at the 2003 New York Auto Show as a concept car. Sales in the U.S. began in the spring of 2004 as an early 2005 model year car. Designed by Ralph Gilles, the new 300 was built as a high-end sedan while the SRT-8 model was designed to be the...

, and the now discontinued Dodge Magnum
Dodge Magnum
The Dodge Magnum name has been used on a number of different automobiles. The most recent is a large rear-wheel drive station wagon introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year and produced through to 2008. This new Magnum is Dodge's first car to use the new Chrysler LX platform, shared with the...

.

In terms of AMC-related parts, some were used as late as 2006, when the Jeep Wrangler
Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is a subcompact four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle and an off-road vehicle manufactured by American automaker Chrysler, under its Jeep marque – and now in its fourth generation. It is a successor to the famous World War II 'Jeep' vehicle by way of the Willys civilian...

 (the last new product introduced by AMC before the Chrysler deal) was still using the AMC Straight-6 engine
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

 in some models, as well as the door handles that were used as far back as the late 1960s by AMC. Both were retired when the Wrangler was completely redesigned for the 2007 model year.

AM General
AM General
AM General is an American heavy vehicle manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. It is best known for the civilian Hummer and the military Humvee, that is assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana...

, sold by American Motors in 1982, is still in business building the American Motors-designed Humvee for American and allied militaries. AM General also built the now-discontinued civilian variant – the H1 – and manufactured a Chevrolet Tahoe
Chevrolet Tahoe
The Chevrolet Tahoe are full-size SUVs from General Motors. Chevrolet and GMC sold two different-sized SUVs under their Blazer/Jimmy model names through the early 1990s. This situation changed when GMC rebadged the full-size Jimmy as the Yukon in 1992...

-derived companion, the H2, under contract to GM, who acquired the rights to the civilian Hummer brand in 1999. GM was forced to phase out the Hummer brand in early 2010 as a part of its bankruptcy restructuring after offering it for sale, but failing to find a suitable buyer.

Although Chrysler introduced new logos for its brands in the 1990s and again in 2010 after the Fiat Group
Fiat
FIAT, an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino , is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial, and industrial group based in Turin in the Italian region of Piedmont. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli...

 took control of the company, Jeep still uses the AMC-era logo introduced shortly after AMC's purchase of the brand in 1970. Until the Chrysler purchase, Jeep's logo also featured the AMC emblem.

Former divisions

During its history, American Motors bought or created, then later sold and divested itself of several specialized divisions, some which continue to exist today:

Kelvinator
Kelvinator
Kelvinator is an appliance brand. It takes its name from William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, who developed the concept of absolute zero and for whom the Kelvin temperature scale is named...

, the subdivision of Nash-Kelvinator, was sold by American Motors in 1968 to White Consolidated Industries. and subsequently became part of Electrolux
Electrolux
The Electrolux Group is a Swedish appliance maker.As of 2010 the 2nd largest home appliance manufacturer in the world after Whirlpool, its products sell under a variety of brand names including its own and are primarily major appliances and vacuum cleaners...

. The Kelvinator Company is still in business.

Jeep
Jeep
Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler . The first Willys Jeeps were produced in 1941 with the first civilian models in 1945, making it the oldest off-road vehicle and sport utility vehicle brand. It inspired a number of other light utility vehicles, such as the Land Rover which is the second...

is now a brand of the Chrysler Group. Many Jeep models retained the mechanical specifications and styling cues that were developed by AMC well into the 1990s.

AM General
AM General
AM General is an American heavy vehicle manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. It is best known for the civilian Hummer and the military Humvee, that is assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana...

is now owned by MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings and the Renco Group
Renco Group
Renco Group is a New York City-based holding company controlled by Ira Rennert that invests in other companies across a range of industries.-History:...

. It was organized as an LLC in August 2004.

Wheel Horse
Wheel Horse
Wheel Horse was a manufacturer of outdoor and garden power equipment, including lawn and garden tractors. The company's headquarters were in South Bend, Indiana.- History :...

 Products Division
is now owned by the Toro Company
Toro (company)
The Toro Company is an American manufacturer of turf maintenance equipment , snow removal equipment and water-saving irrigation systems for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential lawns, and agricultural fields...

.

Beijing Jeep
Beijing-Benz DaimlerChrysler Automotive
Beijing Benz - Daimler Chrysler Automotive Co Ltd is a Chinese car manufacturer. It is also known as BBDC, but as its legal name may have recently been changed to Beijing Benz Automotive Co Ltd, BBAC may now be the preferred acronym....

was established by AMC in 1983 to produce Jeeps for the burgeoning Chinese market; the joint venture was inherited by Chrysler and continues under the ownership of the new Chrysler. AMC's trials with the venture were the subject of a fairly well known book on the venture, "Beijing Jeep", by James Mann.

Facilities

AMC World Headquarters (1954–1987) was located at 14250 Plymouth Road in Detroit and was widely known as the Plymouth Road Office Center (PROC).

The initial building had been built in 1926–27 by the Electric Refrigeration Corporation (subsequently Nash-Kelvinator) with design by Amedeo Leoni, industrial layout by Wallace McKenzie, and tower enclosure and industrial units by William E. Kapp, of SHG. The original 600000 sq ft (55,741.8 m²) three-story factory and four-story administration building had been headquarters to Nash-Kelvinator from 1937–1954 as well as a factory for refrigerators, electric ranges, and commercial refrigeration—as well as airplane propellers for the U.S. military effort during World War II.

During World War II, the U.S. War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 contracted with Nash-Kelvinator to produce 900 Sikorsky R-6
Sikorsky R-6
-External links:http://www.aerofiles.com/_sik.html Data and image of R-6...

 model helicopters. As part of that contract, a 4.5 acre (1.8 ha) site north of the factory was used as the smallest airport in the world as a flight testing base. Nash-Kelvinator produced about fifty R-6s a month during the war. When the contract was terminated at the end of the war, a total of 262 helicopters had been constructed.

During Chrysler's occupancy of the complex, it was known Jeep and (Dodge) Truck Engineering (JTE), including facilities for Body on Frame (BoF) work as well as testing facilities and labs. The buildings included 1500000 square feet (139,354.6 m²), approximately one third devoted to engineering and computer functions.

As of 2007, Chrysler still employed over 1,600 people at the complex, moving those operations in mid-2009 to the Chrysler Technology Center. PROC was made available for sale by Chrysler in early 2010.
  • American Center
    American Center
    The American Center is a high-rise tower in the Metro Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan. It was built in 1975 and stands at 26 stories, with one basement level, for a total of 27 floors....

    – AMC's corporate headquarters in Southfield, Michigan
    Southfield, Michigan
    According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which 0.04% is water. The main branch of the River Rouge runs through Southfield. The city is bounded to the south by Eight Mile Road, its western border is Inkster Road, and to the east it is bounded by Greenfield Road...

     is still standing, still open, and still called "American Center". The original "American Center" signage at the top of the building remained until 2005, although the AMC logo has been removed. The signage has since been changed to Charter One. The 25-story building is rented to several different organizations and companies as office space. After the Chrysler acquisition, Chrysler Financial occupied as much as 175000 square feet (16,258 m²) of the building.

  • Toledo South Assembly Plants – Torn down in 2007 by Chrysler. Until it was demolished, still visible on most of the signage on the outside of the factories were areas where Chrysler painted over the AMC logo.

  • Toledo Forge – Torn down by Chrysler in 2007.

  • Brampton (formerly Bramalea) Assembly and Satellite Stamping Plants
    Brampton Assembly
    Brampton Assembly is a Chrysler automobile factory is located at 2000 Williams Parkway East, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Originally built by American Motors Corporation for US$260 million, the manufacturing plant was specially designed for building the Eagle Premier.-History:In June 1984,...

    . – still in use by Chrysler. AMC designed this US$260 million (US$ in dollars), 2500000 square feet (232,257.6 m²) plant, which was operational by 1986. This plant was designed and built by AMC for the specific purpose of building the Eagle Premier
    Eagle Premier
    The Eagle Premier was a full-size automobile developed by the American Motors Corporation and Renault partnership, inherited by Chrysler Corporation when it acquired AMC in 1987, and marketed from 1987 through 1992...

    . Like the older Brampton plant (see "Former Factory Facilities", below), this factory was also part of American Motors Canada, Inc., and with the Chrysler buy-out in 1987, became part of Chrysler Canada Limited. The plant currently builds the LX series of vehicles including the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Charger. Also Producing a slightly modified version of the lX series; renamed the LC series; supporting the Dodge Challenger nameplate.

  • Kenosha "Main" Plant – Portions of the Kenosha Main Plant, now Chrysler's Kenosha Engine
    Kenosha Engine
    Kenosha Engine was a Chrysler automobile factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The factory opened in 1917 and was acquired by Chrysler with their purchase of American Motors in August 1987....

     plant, with some new additions, at 52nd Street and 30th Avenue, continued to be run by Chrysler as an engine-production factory. This plant is scheduled to close in September 2010 as part of Chrysler LLC's Chapter 11 bankruptcy
    Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code
    Chapter 11 is a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to every business, whether organized as a corporation or sole proprietorship, and to individuals, although it is most...

     procedure which resulted from the ongoing automotive industry crisis
    Automotive industry crisis of 2008–2009
    The automotive industry crisis of 2008–2010 was a part of a global financial downturn. The crisis affected European and Asian automobile manufacturers, but it was primarily felt in the American automobile manufacturing industry...

    .

  • Canadian Fabricated Products Ltd. – An AMC division (part of AMC Canada, Ltd.) in Stratford, Ontario; established 1971 and sold post-buyout by DaimlerChrysler in 1994; produced automotive interior trim.

  • Guelph Products – An AMC division (also part of AMC Canada, Ltd.) in Guelph
    Guelph
    Guelph is a city in Ontario, Canada.Guelph may also refer to:* Guelph , consisting of the City of Guelph, Ontario* Guelph , as the above* University of Guelph, in the same city...

    , Ontario; opened in 1987, and subsequently sold by Chrysler in early 1993; the operation supplied moulded plastic components to the Brampton Assembly Plant.

  • Coleman Products Corporation – An AMC subsidiary in Coleman, Wisconsin
    Coleman, Wisconsin
    Coleman is a village in Marinette County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 716 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Marinette, WI–MI Micropolitan Statistical Area. A Mr...

    . Manufactured automotive wiring harnesses for AMC and other automakers. (Not the same as Coleman Company
    Coleman Company
    Coleman Company, Inc., is an American company that specializes in outdoor recreation products. Historically, Coleman is known for camping gear....

    )

  • Evart Products Co. – An AMC subsidiary in Evart, Michigan
    Evart, Michigan
    Evart is a city in Osceola County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,738 at the 2000 census. The city lies on the northern edge of Evart Township and is partially within neighboring Osceola Township.-History:...

    . The plant was established in 1953 with 25 workers and eventually expanded to over 1,200, becoming Osceola County's
    Osceola County, Michigan
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 23,197 people, 8,861 households, and 6,415 families residing in the county. The population density was 41 people per square mile . There were 12,853 housing units at an average density of 23 per square mile...

     largest employer. This factory manufactured injection molded
    Injection molding
    Injection molding is a manufacturing process for producing parts from both thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic materials. Material is fed into a heated barrel, mixed, and forced into a mold cavity where it cools and hardens to the configuration of the cavity...

     plastic parts (notably, grilles) for AMC (supplying 90% of in-house needs), as well as for other automakers. In 1966, Products Wire Harness was built. After Chrysler's purchase of AMC, Collins & Aikman
    Collins & Aikman
    Collins & Aikman Corporation was a manufacturer of cockpit modules and automotive floor and acoustic systems and a supplier of instrument panels, automotive fabric, plastic based trim and convertible top systems...

     took over the factory.

  • Mercury Plastics Co. – Mercury Plastics operated a plant at 34501 Harper Ave., Mt. Clemens, Michigan. The company was acquired in 1973 for 611,111 shares of AMC stock. The company produced plastic parts for AMC, as well as for uses in other industries.

  • Windsor Plastics Co. – Windsor Plastics, 601 North Congress Avenue, Evansville, Indiana
    Evansville, Indiana
    Evansville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Indiana and the largest city in Southern Indiana. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 117,429. It is the county seat of Vanderburgh County and the regional hub for both Southwestern Indiana and the...

     was acquired in 1970. The division produced plastic parts for AMC and other industries. The company was sold to Guardian Industries in 1982, and underwent a name change to Guardian Automotive Trim, Inc. It is still in operation today. The original factory in Evansville continues to manufacture plastic parts for the OEM and aftermarket automotive industries. Items manufactured include grilles, bezels, and other parts.

  • The AMC Proving Grounds – The former 300 acre (1.2 km²; 0.468750414456536 sq mi) AMC Proving Grounds in Burlington, Wisconsin
    Burlington, Wisconsin
    Burlington is a city in Racine and Walworth counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, with the majority of the city located in Racine County. The population was 10,421 at the 2009 census.-History:...

     had initially been Nash's test track and subsequently became Jeep's test facilities (after AMC's acquisition of Willys in the 1970s). The grounds fell into disuse after Chrysler's takeover of AMC in 1987 and subsequently became the engineering and test facility for MGA Research. The company rents out this proving grounds to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, part of the Department of Transportation...

     (NHTSA), for "ride-and-drive" events by automakers, as well as for movies and commercials.

  • Axle tooling equipment – sold in 1985 to Dana Corp.
    Dana Corp.
    The Dana Holding Corporation is a supplier of axles, driveshafts, off-highway transmissions, sealing and thermal-management products, and service parts....

    , and they named the AMC-15 axles as Dana 35. Dana manufactured the AMC-20 axles for AM General
    AM General
    AM General is an American heavy vehicle manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. It is best known for the civilian Hummer and the military Humvee, that is assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana...

    's Hummer H1
    Hummer H1
    The Hummer H1 is a civilian off-road vehicle based on the M998 Humvee, which was created by AM General. The vehicle was produced from 1992 through 2006, and was the first of what became the Hummer line...

    . The company also continues to produce the AMC-15 axle as well; however they have been upgraded from AMC's original design with multiple variations (including front axle designs).

  • Holmes Foundry, Ltd. – AMC's block-casting foundry was a major AMC factory which is now completely obliterated. Holmes had its main office and foundry
    Foundry
    A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

     at 200 Exmouth Street, Sarnia, Ontario
    Sarnia, Ontario
    Sarnia is a city in Southern Ontario, Canada . It is the largest city on Lake Huron and is located where the upper Great Lakes empty into the St. Clair River....

    , Canada. Holmes was established in 1918, by Mr. J. S. Blunt, and was called Holmes Blunt Limited. In the early years, Ford Motor Company
    Ford Motor Company
    Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

     contracted the plant for a steady supply of engine casting blocks. This factory had a reputation locally as a dirty, dangerous place to work. The company had three divisions, all operating on one site at the edge of Sarnia. Beginning in 1962, AMC contracted with Holmes Foundry to supply AMC with cylinder block
    Cylinder block
    A cylinder block is an integrated structure comprising the cylinder of a reciprocating engine and often some or all of their associated surrounding structures...

     castings. American Motors acquired 25% interest in the foundry in January 1966. In July 1970, AMC acquired 100% of Holmes Foundry through an exchange of shares, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. However, it was not until October 1981 that Holmes Foundry finally became a Division of American Motors, Canada. As part of its acquisition of AMC in 1987, Chrysler Corporation took ownership of the Holmes facility and its manufacturing business, but closed the operation on September 16, 1988. The industrial facilities were cleaned of their environmental contaminants in 2005, in preparation for a new highway interchange
    Interchange (road)
    In the field of road transport, an interchange is a road junction that typically uses grade separation, and one or more ramps, to permit traffic on at least one highway to pass through the junction without directly crossing any other traffic stream. It differs from a standard intersection, at which...

     to be built on the site.

  • Kenosha "Lakefront" (Kenosha, Wisconsin) Plant – The AMC plant in downtown Kenosha along Lake Michigan was razed, and after reclamation the land was used for new development. At the company's inception in 1954, the plant covered 3195000 sq ft (296,825.2 m²) and together with the Milwaukee plant had an annual production capacity of 350,000 cars. The Engine plant, located in the center of town, is still in use by Chrysler. Its days appeared numbered after being listed as one of the plants that would be shut down due to Chrysler's bankruptcy proceedings.

  • Milwaukee Body (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Plant – AMC inherited a 1600000 sq ft (148,644.9 m²) body plant in Milwaukee from Nash. The plant was the main body plant for Seaman Body Company, which did a lot of business with Nash and other makers assembling bodies of various designs. For AMC, the plant was sometimes an internal headache. For instance, in late 1961, George Romney himself stormed through the plant and threatened to close it and eliminate its 9,000 jobs due to labor problems. The plant survived until the Chrysler buyout. Chrysler later decided to dispose of the factory. Upon closure, the site was named as a Superfund site. The factory was demolished and the site rehabilitated and redeveloped.

  • Danforth Ave (Toronto, Ontario) Plant – Inherited from Nash. This plant was purchased by Nash from Ford of Canada in 1946. The first Canadian-built Nash rolled off the line in April, 1950. Upon the formation of American Motors in 1954, the plant assembled 1955 Nash and Hudson Ramblers (2- and 4-door sedans); as well as Nash Canadian Statesman and Hudson Wasp (4door sedans). In 1956, the plant continued to assemble Nash and Hudson Rambler (4-door sedans and wagons) and the Nash Canadian Statesman (4-door sedan); but The Hudson Wasp was imported. That same year, American Motors Sales (Canada) Limited was formed – taking over Nash Motors of Canada Limited and Hudson Motors of Canada Limited. In 1957, AMC assembled the Rambler Six
    Rambler Six
    The Rambler Six and the Rambler V8 are intermediate sized automobiles that were built and marketed by American Motors Corporation from 1956 to 1960....

     and Rambler Rebel V8
    Rambler Rebel
    The Rambler Rebel is an automobile that was produced by the American Motors Corporation of Kenosha, Wisconsin for the 1957–1960 model years, as well as again for 1966 and 1967.- History :...

     at the Danforth plant; but in July, 1957, AMC closed the plant and imported Ramblers into Canada until 1961.

  • Tilbury, Ontario
    Tilbury, Ontario
    Tilbury is a community in the municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada. It is located between Chatham and Windsor on Highway 401.-History:...

     Assembly Plant
    – Another plant AMC inherited from the 1954 merger; this one via Hudson. Specifically, it was a contract with CHATCO Steel Products which actually owned the plant. American Motors ceased Hudson production at the Tilbury plant in 1955.

  • Brampton Assembly Plant – AMC opened a plant in 1960 in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. It was part of American Motors Canada, Inc. Rambler Drive, a small street just west of this plant, still exists and leads into a residential subdivision that was built in the 1960s. In 1987, with the Chrysler buy-out, the division and the plant were absorbed as well, becoming part of Chrysler Canada Limited. The plant was closed in 1994 and sold to Wal-Mart for use as their Canadian warehouse. This plant/warehouse was demolished in 2004 and redeveloped in 2007 with multiple smaller commercial buildings now onsite; a new Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse now takes up the largest section of this commercial development. Note that this is a separate facility from the current Brampton (formerly Bramalea) Assembly
    Brampton Assembly
    Brampton Assembly is a Chrysler automobile factory is located at 2000 Williams Parkway East, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Originally built by American Motors Corporation for US$260 million, the manufacturing plant was specially designed for building the Eagle Premier.-History:In June 1984,...

     and Satellite Stamping Plants nearby.

  • South Charleston Stamping Plant – A South Charleston, West Virginia
    South Charleston, West Virginia
    South Charleston is a city in Kanawha County, West Virginia, U.S. The population was 13,450 at the 2010 census. South Charleston was established in 1906, but not incorporated until 1919 by special charter enacted by the West Virginia Legislature...

     facility. While AMC leased it, the plant stamped steel automotive parts. In 1978 Volkswagen of America
    Volkswagen of America
    Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. , is the North American operational headquarters, and subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group of automobile companies of Germany. VWoA is responsible for five marques: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen cars. It also controls VW Credit, Inc...

     purchased the plant to supply stampings for its Westmoreland Assembly Plant
    Volkswagen Westmoreland Assembly Plant
    The Volkswagen Westmoreland Assembly Plant is a manufacturing plant formerly operated by Volkswagen of America , south of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania near New Stanton. The complex manufactured 1.15 million vehicles from 1978 to 1988...

    , subsequently selling the plant when it closed Westmoreland in 1988 to Park Corporation of Cleveland, OH
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

    .


In October 2006 its recent tenant, Union Stamping and Assembly, declared bankruptcy.

Later reuse of the name

A new company was formed in Palmdale, California
Palmdale, California
Palmdale is a city located in the center of northern Los Angeles County, California, United States.Palmdale was the first community within the Antelope Valley to incorporate as a city on August 24, 1962; 47 years later, voters approved creating a charter city in November, 2009. Palmdale is...

, in 2001 by Ron Simon. Simon registered a new trademark for two American Motors logos. The company's website specifically claimed no affiliation to the previous American Motors, but used the previous company's logos on its website. The website is now dead; one of Simon's trademarks expired in 2005; the other is live.

The monochrome logo was again trademarked in 2008 by Michael Knepp; the trademark was abandoned the following year. Chrysler LLC holds a live trademark for the name "American Motors", which was applied for in 2005.

AMC passenger cars

Subcompact:
  • 1955–1962: Metropolitan
    Nash Metropolitan
    The Nash Metropolitan is a car that was sold, initially only in the United States and Canada, from 1954–1962.It conforms to two classes of vehicle: economy car and subcompact car. In today’s terminology the Metropolitan is a “subcompact”, but this category had not yet come into use when the car was...

    *
  • 1970–1978: AMC Gremlin
    AMC Gremlin
    The AMC Gremlin is a two-door subcompact car produced in the United States and Canada by the American Motors Corporation between 1970 and 1978. AMC reduced its development and manufacturing costs by adapting a shortened Hornet platform with a Kammback-type tail...

    **
  • 1979–1983: AMC Spirit
    AMC Spirit
    The AMC Spirit was a subcompact marketed by American Motors Corporation from 1979 to 1983 as a restyled replacement for the Gremlin. The Spirit shared the Gremlin's platform and was offered in two hatchback variations, each with two doors — marketed as sedan and liftback...

  • 1981–1983: AMC Eagle
    AMC Eagle
    The AMC Eagle is a compact-sized four-wheel drive passenger vehicle that was produced by American Motors Corporation . The AMC Eagle line of vehicles inaugurated a new product category of "sport-utility" or crossover SUV....

     (SX/4 and Kammback)
  • 1983–1987: Renault Alliance
    Renault 9/11
    The Renault 9 and Renault 11 are two small family cars produced by the French manufacturer Renault for model years 1981-1988 in sedan and hatchback configurations — both styled by prominent French automobile designer, Robert Opron.Variants were manufactured by American Motors, as the...

     based on the Renault 9
    Renault 9/11
    The Renault 9 and Renault 11 are two small family cars produced by the French manufacturer Renault for model years 1981-1988 in sedan and hatchback configurations — both styled by prominent French automobile designer, Robert Opron.Variants were manufactured by American Motors, as the...

    .
  • 1984–1987: Renault Encore
    Renault 9/11
    The Renault 9 and Renault 11 are two small family cars produced by the French manufacturer Renault for model years 1981-1988 in sedan and hatchback configurations — both styled by prominent French automobile designer, Robert Opron.Variants were manufactured by American Motors, as the...

     – based on the Renault 11
    Renault 9/11
    The Renault 9 and Renault 11 are two small family cars produced by the French manufacturer Renault for model years 1981-1988 in sedan and hatchback configurations — both styled by prominent French automobile designer, Robert Opron.Variants were manufactured by American Motors, as the...

    .


* – The Metropolitan was introduced by Nash in 1954.

** – The Gremlin was the company's first modern subcompact.

Compact:
  • 1955–1956: Nash Rambler/Hudson Rambler
    Nash Rambler
    The Nash Rambler was a North American automobile produced by the Nash Motors division of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation from 1950–55.The Nash Rambler established a new segment in the automobile market and is widely acknowledged to be the first successful modern American compact...

  • 1957: Rambler Six
    Rambler Six
    The Rambler Six and the Rambler V8 are intermediate sized automobiles that were built and marketed by American Motors Corporation from 1956 to 1960....

    /Rambler Rebel
    Rambler Rebel
    The Rambler Rebel is an automobile that was produced by the American Motors Corporation of Kenosha, Wisconsin for the 1957–1960 model years, as well as again for 1966 and 1967.- History :...

  • 1958–1969: Rambler American/AMC Rambler
    Rambler American
    The Rambler American is an automobile manufactured by the American Motors Corporation between 1958 and 1969. The American was the second incarnation of AMC's forerunner Nash Motors second-generation Rambler compact that was sold under the Nash and Hudson Motors marques from 1954 and 1955.The...

  • 1968–1970: AMC AMX
    AMC AMX
    The AMC AMX is a two-seat GT in style and approach sports car that was produced by American Motors Corporation for the 1968 through 1970 model years. The AMX was also classified as a muscle car, but "unique among other American cars at the time due its short wheelbase"...

  • 1968–1974: AMC Javelin
    AMC Javelin
    The Javelin was a production version of one of the AMC AMX prototypes shown during the 1966 AMX project nationwide tour. Intended to rival other pony cars such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. American Motor's Javelin debuted on 22 August 1967, for the 1968 model year...

  • 1970–1977: AMC Hornet
    AMC Hornet
    The AMC Hornet was a compact automobile made by the American Motors Corporation in one generation beginning with the 1970 model year and continuing through the 1977 model year. The Hornet replaced the compact Rambler American marking the end of the Rambler marque in the American and Canadian markets...

  • 1975–1980: AMC Pacer
    AMC Pacer
    The AMC Pacer is a two-door compact automobile produced in the United States by the American Motors Corporation between 1975 and 1980.Its initial design idea was started in 1971. The car's unusual rounded shape with massive glass area greatly contrasted with the three-box architecture with "square,...

  • 1978–1983: AMC Concord
    AMC Concord
    The AMC Concord is a compact car produced by the American Motors Corporation for the 1978 through 1983 model years. The Concord replaced the AMC Hornet and to some extent the mid-size AMC Matador, discontinued after 1978 in a market moving to downsized automobiles...



Crossover:
  • 1980–1988: AMC Eagle
    AMC Eagle
    The AMC Eagle is a compact-sized four-wheel drive passenger vehicle that was produced by American Motors Corporation . The AMC Eagle line of vehicles inaugurated a new product category of "sport-utility" or crossover SUV....



Mid-size:
  • 1958–1960: Rambler Six
    Rambler Six
    The Rambler Six and the Rambler V8 are intermediate sized automobiles that were built and marketed by American Motors Corporation from 1956 to 1960....

    /Rambler Rebel
    Rambler Rebel
    The Rambler Rebel is an automobile that was produced by the American Motors Corporation of Kenosha, Wisconsin for the 1957–1960 model years, as well as again for 1966 and 1967.- History :...

  • 1961–1966: Rambler Classic
    Rambler Classic
    The Rambler Classic was an intermediate sized automobile that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation from model year 1961 to 1966...

  • 1958–1964: Rambler Ambassador (1958–1962 also known as "Ambassador by Rambler")
  • 1965–1966: Rambler/AMC Marlin
    Rambler Marlin
    The AMC Marlin is a two-door, mid-sized fastback car made in the United States by the American Motors Corporation from 1965 to 1967. A halo model for the company, it was marketed as a personal luxury car....

  • 1967–1970: Rambler/AMC Rebel
    AMC Rebel
    The AMC Rebel is a mid-size car produced by American Motors Corporation from 1967 to 1970. It replaced the Rambler Classic. The Rebel was replaced by the similar AMC Matador for the 1971 model year...

  • 1971–1978: AMC Matador
    AMC Matador
    The AMC Matador is a mid-size car that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation from 1971 to 1978. The Matador came in two generations: 1971 to 1973 and a major redesign from 1974 to 1978...



Full-size:
  • 1955–1956: Hudson Wasp
    Hudson Wasp
    The Hudson Wasp is an automobile that was produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan between 1952 and 1954. The Wasp was also built by American Motors Corporation in Kenosha, Wisconsin and marketed under its Hudson brand for model years 1955 and 1956.- 1952–1954 :The Wasp was...

  • 1955–1956: Nash Statesman
    Nash Statesman
    The Nash Statesman was the lower-priced version of the two main Nash Motors' automobile series, and was priced below the top-line Nash Ambassador....

  • 1955–1957: Hudson Hornet
    Hudson Hornet
    The Hudson Hornet is an automobile that was produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan between 1951 and 1954. The Hornet was also built by American Motors Corporation in Kenosha, Wisconsin and marketed under the Hudson brand between 1955 and 1957.The first-generation Hudson...

  • 1955–1957: Nash Ambassador
    Nash Ambassador
    Ambassador was the model name applied to the senior line of Nash automobiles from 1932 until 1957. From 1958 until the end of the 1974 model year, the Ambassador was the product of American Motors Corporation , which continued to use the Ambassador model name on its top-of-the-line models...

  • 1965–1974: Rambler/AMC Ambassador
    AMC Ambassador
    - 1958 :American Motors planned to produce a stretched a wheelbase version of the Rambler platform for Nash dealers to be the new Nash Ambassador, and another for Hudson dealers...

  • 1967: AMC Marlin
  • 1988–1992: Eagle Premier
    Eagle Premier
    The Eagle Premier was a full-size automobile developed by the American Motors Corporation and Renault partnership, inherited by Chrysler Corporation when it acquired AMC in 1987, and marketed from 1987 through 1992...


AMC engines

  • 1953–1956:

} Nash
Nash Motors
Also see: Kelvinator and American Motors CorporationNash Motors was an automobile manufacturer based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the United States from 1916 to 1938. From 1938 to 1954, Nash was the automotive division of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation...

I6 (Rambler)
} Nash
Nash Motors
Also see: Kelvinator and American Motors CorporationNash Motors was an automobile manufacturer based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the United States from 1916 to 1938. From 1938 to 1954, Nash was the automotive division of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation...

L head I6 (Rambler)
} Nash
Nash Motors
Also see: Kelvinator and American Motors CorporationNash Motors was an automobile manufacturer based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the United States from 1916 to 1938. From 1938 to 1954, Nash was the automotive division of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation...

I6
} Packard
Packard
Packard was an American luxury-type automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana...

built V8
} Packard
Packard
Packard was an American luxury-type automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana...

built V8 (used only 1956)
  • 1956–1966:

} Rambler
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

I6 (L head and OHV version-ended 1965)
} Typhoon Six
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

I6 (Starting in 1966)
} Typhoon Six
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

I6 (Beginning in 1964)
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(Ending in 1961)
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(Beginning in 1963)
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(also used by Kaiser Jeep 1965–1967)
  • 1967–1970:

} Typhoon Six
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

I6
} Typhoon Six
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

I6
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(Ending in 1969)
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(Beginning in 1970)
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(Ending in 1969)
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(Beginning in 1970)
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

  • 1971–1980:

} AMC
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

I4 1
} AMC I6
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...


} AMC I6
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...


} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....


} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(Ending in 1978 for automobiles and through 1991 in Jeeps)
} AMC V8
AMC V8 engine
American Motors Corporation produced a series of widely-used V8 engines from the mid-1950s before being absorbed into Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler kept the AMC V8 in production until 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer....

(Ending in 1974 as a regular production order in automobiles; was available in fleet/police use until at least 1975, in 1975 89 units were installed in Matadors; 4 coupes and 85 sedans-wagons. Available in full-size Jeeps through 1979, also used by International Harvester in 1974 in 1200 series pickups & Travelall during a strike at International Harvester, though IH called the engine a 400 CID)
  • 1980–1983:

} Pontiac
Pontiac
Pontiac was an automobile brand that was established in 1926 as a companion make for General Motors' Oakland. Quickly overtaking its parent in popularity, it supplanted the Oakland brand entirely by 1933 and, for most of its life, became a companion make for Chevrolet. Pontiac was sold in the...

 Iron Duke
GM Iron Duke engine
Iron Dukes were fitted with fuel injection in 1982. This version was christened the Tech IV, though Car and Driver later ridiculed it as the low-Tech IV. Power output remained at ....

I4
} AMC I6
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

  • 1984–1986:

} AMC I4
AMC Straight-4 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-4 engine was used by a number of AMC, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles from 1984-2002.*For an outline of all engines used by AMC see -Development:...


} AMC I6
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

  • 1987:

} AMC I4
AMC Straight-4 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-4 engine was used by a number of AMC, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles from 1984-2002.*For an outline of all engines used by AMC see -Development:...


} AMC I6
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...


} AMC I6
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...

  • 1988–1989:

} AMC I4
AMC Straight-4 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-4 engine was used by a number of AMC, Jeep, and Dodge vehicles from 1984-2002.*For an outline of all engines used by AMC see -Development:...


} AMC I6
AMC Straight-6 engine
The American Motors Corporation straight-6 family of engines was used by a number of AMC and Jeep vehicles from 1964 through 2006.-195.6:American Motors' first straight-six engine was the...


} PRV V6
PRV engine
The PRV engine is an automobile petrol V6 engine that was developed jointly by Peugeot, Renault and Volvo Cars – and sold from 1974 to 1998. It was gradually replaced after 1994 by another joint PSA-Renault design, known as the ES engine at PSA and the L engine at Renault.-Corporate history:The...



Also: Kaiser Jeeps used the AMC 327, Buick 225 ("Dauntless V6"), Buick 350 ("Dauntless V8"), Willys 134 I4 ("Hurricane"). The Downsized Jeep XJ Cherokee/Wagoneer used the Chevrolet 2.8 Litre V6 in 1983–1984.

1 AMC contracted with Volkswagen to buy tooling for the Audi 2.0 L OHC I4. Major parts (block, crankshaft, head assembly) were initially purchased from Audi and shipped to the U.S. where final assembly was accomplished by AMC at a plant purchased specifically for production of this engine. Sales never reached numbers to justify taking over total production. AMC made several changes to the engine. They were prevented from using the Volkswagen or Audi names in association with the AMC assembled version by contractual agreement.

Collectibility

AMC models historically regarded by hobbyists as particularly "collectible" include the Javelin, AMX, and performance specials such as the 1957 Rambler Rebel, 1965–67 Marlin, 1969 Hurst SC/Rambler, 1970 Rebel Machine, and 1971 Hornet SC/360. These models enjoyed limited popularity when new, resulting in low production figures. In January 2007, the AMC AMX was "really taking off in the muscle car market" according to the editors of Hemmings Classic Car, and it had "left its mark among AMC collectors' minds as a great alternative" to higher-priced Hemi
Hemi engine
A Hemi engine is an internal combustion engine in which the roof of each cylinder's combustion chambers is of hemispherical form.- History :...

-powered muscle cars.

The early Javelin (1968–70) stands out from the Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler pony cars. Car expert Jack Nerad noted in a 2007 article "several fully restored AMX models" listed for sale at "little more than half the price of a comparable Buick Gran Sport
Buick Gran Sport
The Buick Gran Sport or GS was a high-performance option package available on a number of Buick models, including the Riviera, Skylark, Century and Wildcat. A special version of one model was given the package's name as its model name....

, Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Chevelle
The Chevrolet Chevelle is a mid-sized automobile produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors in three generations for the 1964 through 1977 model years. Part of the GM A-Body platform, the Chevelle was one of Chevrolet's most successful nameplates. Body styles include coupes, sedans,...

, Olds 4-4-2 or Pontiac GTO
Pontiac GTO
The Pontiac GTO is an automobile built by Pontiac Division of General Motors in the United States from 1964 to 1974, and by GM subsidiary Holden in Australia from 2004 to 2006. It is considered an innovative, and now classic muscle car of the 1960s and 1970s...

" in support of the author's opinion that the 1971–74 Javelin was "clearly an outstanding alternative muscle car for the enthusiast on a budget."

According to James C. Mays, automotive historian and author of The Savvy Guide to Buying Collector Cars at Auction, the "Wow! Factor" is an important and measurable pleasure to an owner whether their car is driven or sits in a climate-controlled garage. His "Wow! Factor" includes examples of a bright red 1969 AMX that according to its owner "is just a fast Rambler", but draws more people at events than the more prestigiousFerrari
Ferrari
Ferrari S.p.A. is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Italy. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929, as Scuderia Ferrari, the company sponsored drivers and manufactured race cars before moving into production of street-legal vehicles as Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947...

s and Lamborghini
Lamborghini
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., commonly referred to as Lamborghini , is an Italian car manufacturer. The company was founded by manufacturing magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini in 1963, with the objective of producing a refined grand touring car to compete with established offerings from marques like...

s, as well as a "million-dollar moment" when a Rambler owner was serenaded with the "Beep Beep" song by The Playmates
The Playmates
The Playmates were a late 1950s vocal group, led by the pianist Chic Hetti , drummer; Donny Conn ; and Morey Carr , all from Waterbury, Connecticut.-Career:The Playmates, Donald Claps drummer and lyricist, Carl Cicchetti...

 while fueling at a travel plaza. Moreover, the author's collector car, a 1969 Ambassador station wagon, made friends as strangers came to greet and host him as if "long lost kin". Mays points out the ready availability of parts for AMC engines and his experiences in having service done on Ramblers without being charged for the work in exchange for the experience of driving a "sassy Rambler" (a 1966 American convertible) and having pictures taken with it.

Other AMC models, once somewhat ignored by the hobby, are now considered "future collectibles". Examples include the 1959 Ambassador 4-door hardtop station wagon, of which only 578 were produced, and the Jeep Scrambler CJ8, a combined pickup truck-Jeep, of which only a few thousand were produced.

Hemmings Classic Car magazine included the 1969–70 Rebel SST and the 1974–78 Matador coupe in their 2008 list of "dollar-for-pound [weight]" cars that could be bought in show-quality condition for a comparatively modest outlay, The writer also noted that "most of AMC's '70s lineup" qualified for inclusion on the list.

The AMC Gremlin is described to have "a cult-like following in today's collectible car market. The Gremlin shares components with some other AMC models its repair and restoration can be relatively inexpensive compared with other "historic cars".

The AMC Pacer increased in value according to a Pacer owner who is the CEO of a major insurance provider for collector car owners.

There are active Rambler and AMC car clubs in the U.S. and elsewhere (examples in External Links).

Hot Rod Magazine revival April Fool's joke

In April 2008, Hot Rod Magazine
Hot Rod Magazine
Hot Rod is an American monthly magazine devoted to hot rodding, —modifying automobiles for performance and appearance.-History:Hot Rod is the oldest magazine devoted to hot rodding having been published since 1948. Robert E. Petersen founded the magazine and his Petersen Publishing Company...

 released an article claiming that American Motors was in the process of being revived. The vehicles in the works were to be the AMX
AMC AMX
The AMC AMX is a two-seat GT in style and approach sports car that was produced by American Motors Corporation for the 1968 through 1970 model years. The AMX was also classified as a muscle car, but "unique among other American cars at the time due its short wheelbase"...

, Matador
AMC Matador
The AMC Matador is a mid-size car that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation from 1971 to 1978. The Matador came in two generations: 1971 to 1973 and a major redesign from 1974 to 1978...

, Ambassador
AMC Ambassador
- 1958 :American Motors planned to produce a stretched a wheelbase version of the Rambler platform for Nash dealers to be the new Nash Ambassador, and another for Hudson dealers...

, Pacer
AMC Pacer
The AMC Pacer is a two-door compact automobile produced in the United States by the American Motors Corporation between 1975 and 1980.Its initial design idea was started in 1971. The car's unusual rounded shape with massive glass area greatly contrasted with the three-box architecture with "square,...

, and Gremlin
AMC Gremlin
The AMC Gremlin is a two-door subcompact car produced in the United States and Canada by the American Motors Corporation between 1970 and 1978. AMC reduced its development and manufacturing costs by adapting a shortened Hornet platform with a Kammback-type tail...

. Illustrated with drawings of the concept car
Concept car
A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced....

s entering production and accompanied by plentiful information, it was a popular article, although it was later revealed to be an April Fools'
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day is celebrated in different countries around the world on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when many people play all kinds of jokes and foolishness...

 joke.

See also

  • Amitron
    Amitron
    The Amitron was an American electric concept car built in 1967 by American Motors Corporation and Gulton Industries of Metuchen, New Jersey.- Design :...

     and Electron
    Electron (vehicle)
    The Electron was an American concept automobile built in 1977 by American Motors Corporation .- Design :The experimental three-passenger commuter "city car" was designed for short-trip urban transportation. The clamshell-style roof swung back on rear-mounted pivots for entry and egress.The Electron...

     – Experimental battery powered city car
    City car
    A city car is a small car intended for use primarily in an urban area.City cars are sold worldwide and most automotive industry manufacturers have one or two in their line-up. In North-America city cars are often referred to simply as "subcompacts" alongside the superminis. These kind of cars...

    s designed by American Motors.
  • AMC/Jeep Transmissions

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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