Tuesday, September 3, 2019
RIP American Motors: 1954-87 :: Free Essays Online
RIP American Motors: 1954-87 In the early 1900's, automobile manufacturing was a growing business. Independent automakers such as Auburn, Hudson, Nash, and Studebaker served a focused market, catering to small car drivers, not covered by the "Big Three" makers: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. Many of these independent automakers saw their last days during the Great Depression. After World War II, there was just a handful left. American Motors was formed by the merger of two of these independents: Nash and Hudson. Nash President George Mason and Vice President George Romney saw the inevitable, to survive, the independents had to merge. Mason first talked to Packard who could not agree to a merger. After Mason tired of Packard's reluctance to join, he approached his second choice, Hudson. Hudson President, A.E. Barrit saw that Hudson was quickly losing money and decided that a merger would be the best course of action. On May 1, 1954, Nash and Hudson joined, forming American Motors. (Foster 11) Mason was named chairman of the board, president, chief executive officer, and general manager. His assistant George Romney was named vice president, and Barrit became a director of the company. For the first year of production, all of the old Hudsons were dropped, either for being dated or just not doing well in the market. The all-new Hudsons were based on existing Nash bodies with design features to keep them different. All Hudson production was also moved out of Detroit into Nash's main plant at Kenosha, Wisconsin. In October, six months after the merger, Mason fell ill and unexpectedly died. The next day, Romney assumed all of his titles and responsibilities. At the end of 1955, American Motors closed its West Coast plant at El Segundo, California, and moved all production to Kenosha. This move increased production, but still ended the year with a loss of $6.9 million. (Foster 18) The 1956 model year brought out a new car, The Rambler. This was not a new name, but the car came out with no mention of Nash or Hudson. The press raved the new Rambler with its improved power, larger interior, and smoother steering. The rest of the American Motors line however, still carried the dated styles of 1952.