History of eagle cars

History of eagle cars

Eagle was a marque of the Chrysler Corporation following the purchase of American Motors Corporation (AMC). The "new" Eagle was aimed at the enthusiast driver. Even though the brand was relatively short-lived, the Eagle Vision sedan sold in respectable numbers, while the sporty Talon coupe sold more than 115,000 units.

The Eagle name was taken from the AMC Eagle, the last of AMC's wholly US-designed vehicles. The Jeep/Eagle division of Chrysler Corporation was formed after Chrysler's 1987 buyout of American Motors. The vehicles were marketed primarily by AMC dealers along with Jeep products.

Unlike Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and Jeep automobiles, Eagles eschewed the Chrysler Corporation "pentastar" logo. Instead, all models prominently featured the Eagle logo, seen at the top right.

The name Eagle was also used by Dan Gurney for his racing cars. Among them the most noticeable is probably the 1967 Eagle-Weslake Formula One, considered by many as one of the most beautiful F1 cars ever built.

Two of Eagle's first models, the Eagle Premier and Eagle Medallion, were designed by AMC in cooperation with its former corporate partner (and 46.4 percent owner), Renault. The remainder of the brand's cars were simply rebadged versions of cars sold by other Chrysler Corporation divisions, as well as some captive imports produced by Mitsubishi Motors.

Throughout its history, the Eagle brand suffered from a lack of product recognition. Most of its product range was marketed under different guises by Chrysler and Mitsubishi. Corporate marketing budgets were also primarily allocated to these other models. On the other hand, the Jeep/Eagle Division's efforts were concentrated on the highly successful Jeep models.

Moreover, many of the long-established Jeep/Eagle dealers considered the Eagle line of passenger cars to be less profitable than their Jeep business. Their sales and service expertise was primarily in the 4WD Jeeps and AMC's Eagle AWD models. Furthermore, following Chrysler's acquisition of AMC, there was a realignment of the dealer network. One objective was to consolidate stand alone Jeep/Eagle dealers with Chrysler franchises. The Chrysler outlets did not have an SUV to sell.

Adding the Jeep line would not only make them more competitive in this rapidly growing market segment, but also place them on more equal footing with Dodge dealers. This merging may have helped the individual dealerships, but it eroded the desirability to carry a separate (and similar) line of passenger models under one roof. Most dealers wanted to simplify their inventory and focus their marketing on just a few models.

After a decade of slow sales, Chrysler Corporation discontinued the Eagle brand in 1998, with the Eagle Vision's successor becoming the Chrysler 300M in 1999. Chrysler later said that the 300M was being developed to be the Vision's successor, with there even being prototypes that wore the Eagle logo, but the demise of the Eagle brand prevented this, and hence it became a Chrysler.

The Eagle brand was phased out in stages. In 1996, Chrysler discontinued the Mitsubishi (formerly Colt) family, including the Eagle Summit, Dodge Colt, and Plymouth Colt. In 1997, the Eagle Vision was discontinued, though the similar Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde continued until 2004. All that was left was the Eagle Talon, which was discontinued in 1998 along with the whole Eagle brand.

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