Plymouth & The Great Depression
The history of the automobile industry is intertwined with the history of our country from the period just preceding the turn of the 20th century onward.
Motor vehicles started to become more of a reality and less of a dream during the end of the 1800s, and automobile ownership was brought within reach of ordinary Americans with the introduction of the Ford Model T in 1908.
During the earlier days of automotive manufacturing there were a couple of events that had a big impact on the evolution of the industry.
Not too long after the automobile started to take hold the United States fell into the Great Depression, which began with the stock market crash of 1929. This obviously put a damper on the spirits and capabilities of the auto buying public.
In a stroke of luck that is rather hard to fathom, Chrysler decided to introduce a lower end offering just before the depression hit in the form of the Plymouth. The first Plymouth was made available for sale in July of 1928. At the time Ford and Chevrolet had a stranglehold on what we would now call economy cars, and Chrysler wanted a piece of this market share.
Little did they know that their higher-end Chrysler offerings would be in little demand during the economic crunch that the country would be suffering through. At a time when some automotive manufacturers were going out of business the success of the Plymouth division kept Chrysler afloat during the Depression years.
In fact, by 1931 Plymouth was the third highest selling automotive brand in the United States. By 1936 Plymouth sales eclipsed the half-million mark at 520,025 units.
These days we can look back on Plymouth as a defunct division of an existing company that stopped producing cars in the United States in 2001. But the fact is that if it wasn’t for its Plymouth division Chrysler may have never made it through the Great Depression years.