Lee Iacocca, engineer of Chrysler's turnaround, dies at 94

Ann Santiago
July 4, 2019

Auto industry titan Lee Iacocca has died.

Iacocca's life is the stuff of legend and can hardly be summed up in a few paragraphs.

Iacocca began his career in 1946 at the Ford Motor Company, first as an engineer and then in sales. While America knew him on multiple fronts in the auto industry, Iacocca eventually became the face of Chrysler through the automaker's TV advertising campaigns over the decades.

Iacocca fierce anti-Japanese views -he viewed their commercial practices as detrimental to United States - at the time earned him support from Democrats and labor unions.

Iacocca moved to the then-floundering Chrysler Corporation and helped steer the company out of financial trouble, helping to convince the USA government to bail the company out of a potential bankruptcy in 1979. Unveiled in 1964, the Mustang used the engine, transmission and axle from the Ford Falcon with a new chassis and body.

During Iacocca's tenure as CEO, Chrysler would produce more fuel efficient cars and more competitive products, staving off stiff competition from Asian and European imports and securing a sizeable portion of the U.S. market share for a time.


"He played a historic role in steering Chrysler through crisis and making it a true competitive force", FCA said in a statement.

The Company is saddened by the news of Lee Iacocca's passing. Lee Iacocca was also instrumental in Chrysler's acquisition of American Motors and Jeep, which is today one of the most valuable parts of the Chrysler Group. Gary Hart. He continually said no to the "draft Iacocca" talk. McNamara was then the vice president of auto and truck sales for Ford and would later go on to become the US Secretary of Defence in the Kennedy and Johnson presidential regimes. He cut costs aggressively and secured a massive $1.5 billion government loan after the company suffered from back to back recessions.

Iacocca was sacked from Ford after an eight-year tenure as president. In recognition of his leadership, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to head the effort to restore Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, which Iacocca, always proud of Italian immigrant heritage, zealously undertook. He is also considered the father of the Mustang, which he helped develop during his stint at Ford.

He had twisted Congress's arm for the loan, and he successfully brought Chrysler back from the brink - then paid off the loan ahead of schedule.

Mr. Iacocca was married three times.

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