Cover image for Riding the roller coaster : a history of the Chrysler Corporation
Riding the roller coaster : a history of the Chrysler Corporation
Hyde, Charles K., 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Detroit : Wayne State University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 385 pages, 3 unnumbered pages : illustrations ; 27 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD9710.U54 C467 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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From the Chrysler Six of 1924 to the front-wheel-drive vehicles of the 70s and 80s to the minivan, Chrysler boasts an impressive list of technological "firsts." But even though the company has catered well to a variety of consumers, it has come to the brink of financial ruin more than once in its seventy-five-year history.

How Chrysler has achieved monumental success and then managed colossal failure and sharp recovery is explained in Riding the Roller Coaster, a lively, unprecedented look at a major force in the American automobile industry since 1925. Charles Hyde tells the intriguing story behind Chrysler-its products, people, and performance over time-with particular focus on the company's management. He offers a lens through which the reader can view the U.S. auto industry from the perspective of the smallest of the automakers who, along with Ford and General Motors, make up the "Big Three."

The book covers Walter P. Chrysler's life and automotive career before 1925, when he founded the Chrysler Corporation, to 1998, when it merged with Daimler-Benz. Chrysler made a late entrance into the industry in 1925 when it emerged from Chalmers and Maxwell, and further grew when it absorbed Dodge Brothers and American Motors Corporation. The author traces this journey, explaining the company's leadership in automotive engineering, its styling successes and failures, its changing management, and its activities from auto racing to defense production to real estate. Throughout, the colorful personalities of its leaders-including Chrysler himself and Lee Iacocca-emerge as strong forces in the company's development, imparting a risk-taking mentality that gave the company its verve.

Author Notes

Charles K. Hyde is a professor of History at Wayne State University Press and is author of many books, including The Northern Lights: Lighthouses of the Upper Great Lakes (Wayne State University Press, 1995) and Historic Highway Bridges of Michigan (Wayne State University Press, 1993).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In the 20th century, the history of the American automobile industry is directly linked to the nation's history, and the history of the Chrysler Corporation is vital to understanding the struggles and progress within the automobile industry. Founded in the mid-1920s, Chrysler was the third of the "Big Three" American manufacturers to enter the automobile industry and, as Hyde (history, Wayne State Univ.) illustrates in this detailed corporate history, its history is a story of notable achievements and disappointments in conjunction with conflict and convergence. From Walter P. Chrysler to Lee Iacocca, it was a corporation substantially influenced by both personalities and general economic events. This study also outlines why this particular firm is so appealing to analyze: Chrysler's strategies, structure, and activities can be evaluated from the perspective of technology, labor, industrial organization, government regulations, and loan guarantees, as well as the social consequences that the automobile has had on American society and culture. Hyde provides the necessary context that helps explain the activities and implications of the personalities and economic events that defined Chrysler's successes and failures. This learned, comprehensive, and interesting business history offers an appreciation for the consequences of corporate policies whether those policies were proactive or reactive. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Public and academic library collections. T. E. Sullivan Towson University