American Motors

American Motors

American Motors Corporation (AMC) was an American automobile company formed by the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company. At the time, it was the largest corporate merger in U.S. history.

George W. Mason 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, Ford, and Chrysler). Within a year George W. Romney took over, reorganizing the company and focusing AMC's future 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 Rambler sales took off. A Rambler won the 1959 Mobil Economy Run and the cars achieved America's third highest sales figures in 1960 and 1961. In the mid-1960s, under Roy Abernethy's leadership, AMC focused on larger and more profitable car lines to move away from the perceived negative of the Rambler's compact car image. In the face of deteriorating financial and market positions, Roy D. Chapin, Jr., took charge to revitalize the company, and designer Richard A. Teague economized by developing several vehicles from common stampings. While prices and costs were cut, new and more sporty automobiles were introduced, and from 1968 AMC became known for the Javelin and AMX muscle cars.

AMC purchased Kaiser's Jeep utility vehicle operations in 1970 to complement their existing passenger car business. Beginning in the early 1970s, they moved towards all-new compact car designs based on the Hornet, including the Hornet itself and the Gremlin. Other new models in the 1970s included the Matador and Pacer. As costs mounted, AMC reduced their overall line and began to focus almost exclusively on their Hornet-based cars and the Jeep line. While the new lines of the late 1970s, such as the Spirit and Concord, were variations on the Hornet's platform, the company continued with innovations on existing designs: the 4-wheel-drive AMC Eagle, introduced in 1979, was one of the first true crossovers.

From 1980, AMC partnered with France's Renault to help finance their manufacturing operations, obtain much-needed capital, and source subcompact vehicles. By 1983 Renault had a controlling interest in AMC. Production was discontinued for all AMC cars except the all-wheel-drive Eagles, to focus on promoting the Alliance subcompact. In 1987, after further new vehicle development that included the Medallion and an early, Teague-designed version of the new full-size front-drive sedan and a two-door coupe that later became the Eagle Premier, Renault sold AMC to Chrysler. The AMC and Renault brands were then discontinued in America. The Jeep/Eagle division of Chrysler Corporation was formed from the remains of AMC after Chrysler's 1987 buyout. The Jeep and Eagle vehicles were marketed primarily by former AMC dealers.

Read more about American Motors:  Formation, 1970s Product Developments, Business Legacy, AMC Passenger Cars, AMC Engines, Collectibility

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