Elgar "Gar" Laux, an executive who helped Lee Iacocca return the Chrysler Corp. to profitability, died Dec. 16. He was 84.
Laux joined Chrysler at Iacocca's urging in 1979, running the company's marketing efforts. The men had worked together in the 1960s at Ford Motor Co.
In an autobiography, Laux wrote that it was he who contacted Bob Strauss, then chairman of the National Democratic Party, to gain support for federally backed loan guarantees for Chrysler in the 1980s.
Laux stayed at Chrysler until 1981, retiring as vice chairman.
Laux had come to Chrysler from Charlotte, N.C., after five years as a car dealer. In 1974, he asked Arnold Palmer to go into business with him selling Cadillacs. Laux said that when they began, the dealership had sold 35 vehicles a month. By 1978, the monthly number had risen to 88.
The dealership experience was useful at Chrysler. Author Peter Wyden wrote in his book Unknown Iacocca, that Laux was an "all-time great among the giants who ride herd on the car industry's unruly potentates, the dealers."
Laux's auto background included 18 years with Ford Motor Co. He began working for the automaker in 1946, leaving two years later to work for a car dealer. In 1953, he rejoined Ford, where he served as vice president of marketing, general manager of Lincoln-Mercury Division and group vice president of marketing.
Laux retired from Ford in 1969. He said he left because he and president Bunkie Knudsen did not get along.
Laux wrote: "It got to be so bad that in January of 1969, I went to see Mr. Knudsen and told him, 'You may be the president of the company, but since you seem to want to run my area as well, you now have my resignation.' "