49 Facts About American Motors


Interim plans were made for American Motors to buy Packard Ultramatic automatic transmissions and Packard V8 engines for certain American Motors products.

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American Motors spent US$40 million developing its Double Safe Single Unit monocoque, which debuted in the 1956 model year.

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American Motors combined the Nash and Hudson product lines under a common manufacturing strategy in 1955, with the production of Nashes and Hudsons consolidated at the Nash plant in Kenosha.

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Sales of Ramblers soared in the late 1950s in part because of American Motors' focus on the compact car and its marketing efforts.

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American Motors was beginning to experiment in non-gasoline powered automobiles.

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Rambler was an early pioneer in offering an automatic shift indicator sequence on its "Flash-O-Matic" transmission which is similar to today's "PRNDSL" shift pattern, made mandatory for the 1968 model year cars, which required a neutral position between reverse and drive, while General American Motors still offered a shift selector that had reverse immediately next to low gear well into the 1960s.

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Unique in the domestic automotive industry, American Motors offered adjustable front seat backrests from their Nash-origin, and in 1964, the Classic and Ambassador were equipped with standard dual reclining front seats nearly a decade before the Big Three offered them as options.

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American Motors's replacement was Roy Abernethy, American Motors's successful sales executive.

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American Motors did not have their own electric car program as did the Big Three, and after some negotiation, a contract was drawn in 1967 with Gulton Industries to develop a new battery based on lithium and a speed controller designed by Victor Wouk.

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The Kelvinator divestiture left American Motors a downsized company solely manufacturing automobiles.

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American Motors gained the iconic Jeep brand of light trucks and SUVs, as well as Kaiser-Jeep's government contracts – notably the M151 line of military Jeeps and the DJ-Series postal Jeeps.

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In 1970, American Motors consolidated all passenger cars under one distinct brand identity and debuted the Hornet range of compact cars.

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American Motors supplied Mark VII Limited owner Jack Webb with two Matadors, a sedan and a wagon, for use in his popular television series Adam-12, increasing the cars' public profile.

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In 1973, American Motors signed a licensing agreement with Curtiss-Wright to build Wankel engines for cars and Jeeps.

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Nash and American Motors made Ambassadors from 1927 to 1974, the longest use of the same model name for any American Motors product and, at the time, the longest continuously used nameplate in the industry.

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In 1974, American Motors's AM General subsidiary began building urban transit buses in cooperation with Flyer Industries of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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For economy in the fuel crisis, American Motors offered the car with a more fuel-efficient Volkswagen-designed Audi 4-cylinder engine 2.

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American Motors targeted it at the emerging "premium compact" market segment, paying particular attention to ride and handling, standard equipment, trim, and interior luxury.

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In 1980, all American Motors cars received a new rust-proofing process called Ziebart Factory Rust Protection.

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American Motors backed up the rust protection program with a 5-year "No Rust Thru" component to its comprehensive "Buyer Protection Plan".

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American Motors instituted important improvements in plant layouts, as well as in cost and quality control.

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American Motors had been losing money since 1981 and had fallen to sixth place, behind Ford, Fiat, Volkswagen, Peugeot, and General Motors.

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The investment in American Motors forced cuts at home, resulting in the closure of several French plants and mass layoffs.

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American Motors had designed and built the plant in anticipation of building the Renault 25-based Eagle Premier.

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American Motors struggled at first, but under Romney, Rambler sales took off.

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However, the huge costs of developing the new cars and engines meant American Motors now had problems in securing working capital to keep the company going.

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American Motors purchased Kaiser's Jeep utility-vehicle operations in 1970 to complement its existing passenger-car business.

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Sagging sales and tight finances resulted in the elimination of the Matador line in the 1979 model year and the Pacer line in 1980, leaving American Motors to focus almost exclusively on its Hornet platform-based cars and the Jeep line.

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From 1980, American Motors partnered with France's Renault to help finance their manufacturing operations, obtain much-needed capital, and source subcompact vehicles.

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American Motors was with the automaker 20 years, and was noted for orchestrating the linkup between American Motors and Renault starting in 1979.

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American Motors facilities were used to produce the Renault-branded Alliance and Encore compact and subcompact cars.

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In 1985, Chrysler entered an agreement with American Motors to produce Dodge Diplomats and Plymouth Furys, as well as Dodge Omnis and Plymouth Horizons in American Motors' Kenosha, Wisconsin, plant.

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American Motors' badge was last used on the Eagle Sports Wagon through the 1988 model year, then eliminated entirely.

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American Motors was forced to constantly innovate for 33 years until Chrysler absorbed it in 1987.

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American Motors had an ability to formulate strategies that were often evaluated by industry critics as "strokes of brilliance".

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An essential strategy practiced by American Motors was to rely on outside vendors to supply components in which they had differential advantages.

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American Motors' managers anticipated important trends in the automotive industry.

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American Motors inherited foreign manufacturing and sales partnerships from Nash and continued developing business relations, decades before most of the international consolidations among automobile makers took place.

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American Motors was the first U S automaker to establish an ownership agreement with a foreign automaker, Renault.

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American Motors was effective in other areas such as marketing by introducing low rate financing.

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American Motors describes the "troops" at American Motors as more like the Wake Island Marines in battle, "with almost no resources, and fighting a vastly superior enemy, they were able to roll out an impressive succession of new products".

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In summary, Chrysler's purchase of American Motors laid the critical foundation to help re-establish a strategy for its revival in the 1990s.

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The French firm took a parallel approach as it did with its initial ownership of American Motors and applied it to resurrect the money-losing Nissan automaker in Japan.

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American Motors' Toledo, Ohio, plants continued to manufacture the Jeep Wrangler and Liberty, as well as parts and components for Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles .

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In terms of American Motors-related parts, some were used as late as 2006, when the Jeep Wrangler was still using the AMC Straight-6 engine in some models, as well as the recessed "paddle" door handles that were used since the 1968 model year by American Motors.

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American Motors strengthened international export operations with exports to the United Kingdom, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway in Europe; and to countries in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America.

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In 1975, American Motors moved its headquarters from the facility on Plymouth Road to a newly constructed building on Northwestern Highway in Southfield, Michigan, known as the American Center.

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Registration for the American Motors trademarks was filed in 2001 by this California-based firm.

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American Motors contracted with Volkswagen to buy tooling for the Audi 2.

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