History of Eagle

History of Eagle, the history of eagle started from 1988. The Eagle brand was created in 1988, discontinued in 1998, and fully defunct on July 4, 1999. The AMC brand totally disappeared after the Chrysler acquisition. All of the Eagle cars were from other places and all re-badged. So essentially the Eagle lineup was made up of cars from Chrysler, AMC, Renault, and Mitsubishi. So Eagle can also seen as a “line of cars Chrysler inherited from AMC”.

Eagle origins

Lee Iacocca wanted something to compete with GM’s Saturn brand. Chrysler didn’t know what to do with the odd mix of AMC cars. The other Big Three manufacturers had multiple brands under the big corporate name, but Chrysler didn’t. Chrysler decided to make Eagle a whole new brand to sell all the AMC cars, and named it after the last car that AMC had fully designed themselves, the AMC Eagle 4×4. There were also contractual obligations with Renault as part of the deal, where Chrysler had to take on some of the passenger car models from Renault/AMC and sell those instead of scrapping them and focusing on Jeep. Eagle made the most sense for Chrysler to sell those cars, instead of trying to make them all into Chrysler and selling them in the existing Chrysler dealerships and possibly ruining their brand and tarnishing the reputation.

Once ego came to fruition Chrysler discontinued some of the Renault vehicles like the Alliance and Encore. The first vehicle to be produced was the 1988 Eagle wagon was just a re-badged AMC Eagle crossover. 

Eagle Marketing

All Eagle cars had their own logo (an Eagle head) instead of the Pentastar logo found on the Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler vehicles. The cheaper economy cars that AMC was selling did not mix well with more expensive vehicles like the Jeeps.

Eagle marketing – For Affluent Americans

Statistics showed that those who purchased the Jeep Grand Wagoneer had the highest overage income of any American vehicle. These owners often had other Mercedes, Audis, and other premium import vehicles in their garages as opposed to other American vehicles. Chrysler wanted to create a vehicle that those wealthier Jeep owners wanted to buy alongside their Jeep. Eagle was supposed to try to capture import buyers.

Eagle through the 1990

Eagle had slow sales through the 90s. In September 1997, Chrysler announced that they would discontinue the Eagle brand. In 1997 the Eagle Vision was discontinued, leaving the Talon to be the only car left in the Eagle lineup in 1998. The Eagle Vision was planned to get a refresh for 1999, but that car became the Chrysler 300M instead.

Eagle models were also offered in Chrysler- Plymouth, Dodge, and Mitsubishi Dealerships – Created confusion

Eagle had an odd mix of vehicles (leftover AMC, Renault rebadged cars, American versions of Mitsubishi models, rebadged versions of Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler). The same vehicle was basically being sold in different dealerships under different badges. If you were a customer buying a new car, you’d choose the Dodge or Plymouth that were simply better known and around for longer, even if it was a very similar vehicle.

Funds and Importance not put towards the Eagle – Lack of Brand Identity

Chrysler had some financial difficulty in the 1980, so Eagle wasn’t their major concern. Jeep was very profitable so it made sense that Chrysler wanted to put most of their marketing resources towards Jeep. The Eagle brand also had absolutely no reputation in the automotive industry, and no one knew what they were all about, but Chrysler made little effort to get the Eagle name more well-known. Eagle also never got their own flagship vehicle that was unique to that brand only.

Cannibalism

Eagle sales got cannibalized by Chrysler and Dodge vehicles. Some AMC/Jeep dealers were consolidated with existing Chrysler/Plymouth dealers upon the AMC purchase. Eagle cars had to compete with very similar vehicles from Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth. Chrysler had tried to get Eagle to compete with the import brands, but in reality all it did was compete against Chrysler and Dodge, which had a better reputation.

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