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80 Years of MOtor PARts
Mopar® was founded 80 years ago in Detroit, Michigan. As you would imagine, the name is simply a contraction of two words, “Motor” and “Parts.” At its inception, the company offered just one product with the new Mopar logo, antifreeze. But today, the company is a leading name in the parts and service sector, producing over 500,000 parts and distributing to 150 markets across the globe. You might say Mopar wrote the book on parts and service. Here’s a closer look at our story.
A STAR IS BORN
The Mopar name was first presented to the general public at a parade that opened the Shriner’s convention held in 1937 in Detroit. Chrysler was asked to provide a float for the parade. The company responded by building a 10-foot-tall camel made entirely from automotive parts and featured signs on both sides that read: “Mr. Mopar.” To tout its new antifreeze, an iconic camel was featured on its packaging. It is assumed that the camel represented an attribute of antifreeze: that a car equipped with the liquid, could go further in the desert without water — much like a camel. The camel was led by a mechanical man called Accy (for accessory).
MOPAR® GOES TO WAR
Just a few years after the founding of Mopar, America was at war. Like all manufacturers, with the onset of WWII, production at Chrysler and Mopar shifted to help with the war efforts. The company found itself supplying a variety of goods including the M4 tank, wing sections for Martin B-26 bombers and a ton of anti-aircraft artillery.
When the war was over, troops returned home to garages full of cars and trucks left idle while they were away. This opened up an excellent opportunity for Chrysler and Mopar to provide parts to all these returning do-it-yourselfers. The post-war era was one of steady growth for Mopar. The company then moved into a building on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. In 1947, the Master Tech training program was introduced to give Chrysler technicians the skills they needed to service cars and trucks properly.
THE ROCKIN’ ’50S
The number of Mopar plants grew nationwide in the early ’50s. So did the variety of parts offered. The massive and busy Center Line, Michigan, Mopar Parts Depot opened in the early ’50s, as well. This facility is still operational today. It currently employs more than 1,300 people and ships more than 16.5 million parts every year.
The 1960s proved to be a progressive era for both the country and for Mopar. The Mopar parts line further expanded to include electrical items and glass products. When Chrysler introduced the 1962-64 Max Wedge performance engines and package cars, America’s love for horsepower and muscle truly accelerated. A new era had begun.
In the ’70s, Mopar was the first to offer a dedicated parts delivery system. This truly revolutionary system was updated in the late ‘90s.
CHANGE IS GOOD
With tightening emissions controls, gas shortages and the end of the muscle car era, the ‘70s and ‘80s, saw huge changes in the automotive landscape. In the late ‘80s, Chrysler purchased American Motors and so the Jeep® Brand came into the fold.
This allowed Mopar® to expand its product line to include Jeep Brand parts and accessories.
In the ‘90s, a special emphasis was placed on technician training through the Mopar College Automotive Program (CAP). Working with community colleges nationwide, through a two-year training-internship, the program continues to produce the most highly skilled technicians in the country.
WE’RE ON TRACK
A group of Chrysler engineers, known as the Ramchargers, worked overtime and on weekends to improve the speed of their project cars. Their need for high-performance parts led to the Mopar Direct Connection brand of racing parts. Initially, these parts were only made available to professional racers, but later they were made available to anyone focused on leading the pack on the track, giving all enthusiasts an opportunity to use high-performance parts. In 1987, the Direct Connection name evolved into Mopar Performance Parts.
Mopar has always been firmly committed to racing and race enthusiasm alike. Drag racing’s Don “Big Daddy” Garlits, an innovator, icon and racing champion, was an early advocate of the Mopar Brand. And, in turn, Mopar has had Don’s back for years. It’s not surprising that Mopar holds the longest-running sponsorship in the history of the NHRA.
The original HEMI® engine, known as Generation I, was developed in the ’50s based on research pioneered by Chrysler during WWII for an airplane engine. It was 331 cubic inches and put out 300 hp. Prior to Generation I, there were about eight different HEMI engines available from 1951 to 1958. Generation II engines that followed were the most coveted by racers and collectors.
The 426-cubic-inch models took the racing world by storm in 1964 and indeed are still highly sought after. More
recently, to meet modern requirements for emissions, fuel economy and power, Generation III was introduced in 2003 and is currently in its 15th model year of production — a longer run and manufactured in significantly larger volumes than the previous iterations of HEMI engines.
A NEW CENTURY.
A NEW COMMITMENT TO CUSTOMER CARE.
To raise the level of customer satisfaction, the Mopar® Express Lane operation was introduced in 2008. Focused on quick oil changes and light service, the operation would change the way customers viewed a trip to the dealership, in a very positive way. Quick turnaround, no appointments necessary and competitive pricing proved to be a winning combination. This successful formula led to the opening of the 1,000th Mopar Express Lane operation in the U.S. in 2016. There are now 1,750 Mopar Express Lane locations in more than 20 countries around the world.
To further improve the customer experience, Mopar introducedtechnological advancements, including the smartphone vehicle information apps for owners wiAdvisor, 24/7 customer care and wiTECH®, a dealer software diagnosis program used by Mopar technicians to simplify the repair process.
PERFORMANCE FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM
As a nod to its rich performance heritage, Mopar introduced its first factorybuild “package car” in 40 years. Called the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, the highly anticipated vehicle was introduced in 2008. The limited-edition package cars sold out quickly, as have similar cars in subsequent years.
In 2010, Mopar produced the first of an ongoing series of limited-edition factory vehicles, the Mopar ’10 Challenger. Production was limited to 500 vehicles, modified at the factory with Mopar parts and accessories. Other limited-edition vehicles followed, including the Mopar ’11 Charger, Mopar ’12 300, Mopar ’13 Dart, Mopar ’14 Challenger, Mopar ’15 Charger R/T and Mopar ’16 Ram Rebel.
In recent years, Mopar has accelerated its transformation into a brand responsible for the customer journey of all FCA US LLC owners globally. Customers now have the option of adding Mopar accessories while ordering their vehicles. The accessories are installed via a network of 11 Mopar Custom Shops worldwide, including recently opened locations in Mexico and Brazil.
As you can see, the Mopar story is a colorful one, from its humble beginnings with a single product offering, antifreeze, to the vast and far-reaching global network of today. We’ve only touched on a small part of the remarkable Mopar story.
To learn more, visit mopar.com.
CELEBRATING 80 YEARS OF MOPAR MAGIC
The yearlong celebration kicked off with great fanfare at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Befitting the brand’s global reach, media and industry leaders from around the world experienced the start of the brand’s yearlong birthday bash.
Throughout the year, Mopar will continue the celebration, including limited edition anniversary vehicles, 80th anniversary-themed service, parts and customer-care offers for customers, special merchandise, events, celebrations and much more. To find out more about events in your area, contact your nearest dealer or visit us on the web at: mopar.com.