Chrysler PT Cruiser milestones
• Chrysler Corp.'s design chief Tom Gale appoints designer Bryan Nesbitt, 27, the principal designer of the PT Cruiser project. Nesbitt designs the Pronto Cruizer and PT Cruiser.
• The Pronto Cruizer concept coupe is introduced at the 1998 Geneva Auto Show.
• DaimlerChrysler AG unveils the 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. During development, the car had many champions, including Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, a noted cultural anthropologist. It will be assembled in Mexico.
• A fan website - www.ptcruizer.com - is created and launched before the car goes on sale.
• The retro PT Cruiser hits dealer showrooms as a 2001 model. The four-door, front-wheel-drive vehicle with a rear hatch has a price tag starting at $16,000 and a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine.
• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives a one-star rating to the PT Cruiser in its first crash test.
• Global sales set a record of 192,214 units.
• The Chrysler PT Cruiser is named 2001 North American Car of the Year.
• To increase global output, PT Cruiser output begins in Graz, Austria, adding another 50,000 units.
• GM hires PT Cruiser designer Bryan Nesbitt away from Chrysler.
• DaimlerChrysler recalls 43,000 Chrysler PT Cruisers and Jeep Grand Cherokees due to computer software issues.
• Chrysler announces plans to spend $300 million to boost PT production at a plant in Toluca, Mexico.
• In a first, Chrysler offers $1,000 rebate on the PT Cruiser.
• Chrysler markets the first special edition PT with special leather trim and Inca-gold body. It is called the Woodward Dream Cruiser Series 1.
• A GT model is unveiled and powered by a turbo-boosted 2.4-liter inline-four engine and a five-speed manual transmission.
• Chrysler introduces PT Dream Cruiser Series II, which includes a turbocharged, 215-horsepower engine and satellite radio.
• A cheaper turbocharged PT model is introduced.
• Production begins on the PT Cruiser convertible in Toluca, Mexico.
• The convertible version of the PT Cruiser – a two-door - goes on sale.
• The PT Cruiser GT is discontinued and the band Sha Na Na pens a song, "The Cat in the PT Cruiser."
• The PT Cruiser is the only 2009 model to receive poor marks in a IIHS small car crash test, falling behind the Chevrolet HHR, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Saturn Astra, Suzuki SX4, and Toyota Matrix .
• In early 2009, Chrysler, under majority ownership of Cerberus Capital Management, announces it will end production of the PT Cruiser.
• Chrysler, now under Italian automaker Fiat SpA, says it will continue producing the PT Cruiser.
• In 2009, Chrysler produces 14,067 PT Cruisers and sells 17,941 in the U.S. market.
• After a run of 1.35 million sales worldwide, PT Cruiser output ends in Mexico on July 9.