Chrysler agrees to acquire American Motors Corp. for some $800 million March 9, 1987, blending two of Detroit's smallest automakers and putting the famed Jeep brand under full control of a U.S. manufacturer, as France's Renault owned 46 percent of American Motors at the time.
Standard & Poor's Corp., citing unfunded pension obligations and legal contingencies, largely as a result of Jeep rollover accidents, said Chrysler would pay a total of $2 billion for American Motors, formed in 1954 when Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson Motors merged.
The deal was a major milestone in Chrysler's remarkable comeback after a brush with bankruptcy in the late 1970s, with the assistance of government-backed loans.
Chrysler and American Motors had a long history of cooperation and forged stronger ties in the years leading up to the pact. Jeep and other AMC four-wheel-drive vehicles were equipped with gearboxes assembled by Chrysler division. In 1986, the two companies agreed to assemble some of Chrysler's older rear-wheel-drive cars at an AMC factory in Kenosha, Wis.
Chrysler launched a new brand, Eagle, after it acquired AMC. It eventually killed Eagle, along with the AMC brand, but used Jeep to usher in the 1990s SUV era.