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Lee Iacocca

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Lee Iacocca
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Born: 15 October 1924 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
Full Name: Lido Anthony Iacocca

A former executive in the Ford Motor Company and later CEO of Chrysler Corporation. He is credited with the development of the Ford Mustang, Ford Pinto, and the revival of Chrysler in the 1980's.

Biography

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Lee Iacocca page on 23 July 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Lido Anthony "Lee" Iacocca is an American automobile executive best known for spearheading the development of Ford Mustang and Pinto cars, while at the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s, and then later for reviving the Chrysler Corporation as its CEO during the 1980s. He served as President and CEO of Chrysler from 1978 and additionally as chairman from 1979, until his retirement at the end of 1992.

Iacocca was a passionate advocate of U.S. business exports during the 1980s. He is the author (or co-author) of several books, including Iacocca: An Autobiography (with William Novak), and Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Portfolio named Iacocca the 18th-greatest American CEO of all time.

Career at Ford

Iacocca was instrumental in the introduction of the Ford Mustang.

Iacocca joined Ford Motor Company in August 1946. After a brief stint in engineering, he asked to be moved to sales and marketing, where his career flourished. While working in the Philadelphia district as assistant sales manager, Iacocca gained national recognition with his "56 for '56" campaign, offering loans on 1956 model year cars with a 20% down payment and $56 in monthly payments for three years. His campaign went national, and Iacocca was called to Dearborn, where he quickly moved up through the ranks. On November 10, 1960 Iacocca was named vice-president and general manager of the Ford Division; in January 1965 Ford's vice-president, car and truck group; in 1967, executive vice-president; and president on December 10, 1970.

Iacocca participated in the design of several successful Ford automobiles, most notably the Ford Mustang, the Lincoln Continental Mark III, the Ford Escort and the revival of the Mercury brand in the late 1960s, including the introduction of the Mercury Cougar and Mercury Marquis. He promoted other ideas which did not reach the marketplace as Ford products. These included cars ultimately introduced by Chrysler – the K car and the minivan. Eventually, he became the president of the Ford Motor Company, but he clashed with Henry Ford II. He was fired on July 13, 1978 despite the fact that the company posted a $2 billion profit for the year.

Career at Chrysler

Iacocca was strongly courted by the Chrysler Corporation, at a time when the company appeared to be on the verge of going out of business. At that time, the company was losing millions. This was largely due to recalls of its Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare, both of which Iacocca later said should never have been built. Iacocca joined Chrysler and began rebuilding the entire company from the ground up, laying off many workers, selling the loss-making Chrysler Europe division to Peugeot, and bringing in many former associates from his former company.

Also from Ford, Iacocca brought to Chrysler the "Mini-Max" project, which, in 1983, bore fruit in the highly successful Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Henry Ford II had wanted nothing to do with the Mini-Max, a restyled version of the minivan, which Toyota was selling in huge numbers in Asia and Latin America, and his opinion doomed the project at Ford. Hal Sperlich, the driving force behind the Mini-Max at Ford, had been fired a few months before Iacocca. He had been hired by Chrysler, where the two would make automotive history.

Iacocca arrived shortly after Chrysler's introduction of the subcompact Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon. Bearing a strong resemblance to the Volkswagen Rabbit, the front-wheel drive Omni and Horizon became instant hits, selling over 300,000 units each in their debut year, showing what was to come for Chrysler. The Omni had been designed alongside the Chrysler Horizon with much input from the Chrysler Europe division of the company (evidenced by many examples having VW/Audi engines), which Iacocca axed in 1978.


Reference Desk

The Crittenden Automotive Library's "Reference Desk" is a collection of materials that cannot be shared due to copyright restrictions. Information from these resources, however, can be shared. Go to the Reference Desk page for more information.

TypeTitle
1986 BookIacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca with William Novak; Bantam Books


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
1 November 2007Lee Iacocca Endorses Bill Richardson for PresidentGovernor Bill Richardson




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