In the beginning, there was Chrysler Corp.
(Not literally the beginning, mind you, but at the beginning of Plastics News 25 years ago.)
And then in 1998 Chrysler begat DaimlerChrysler. Legally, that was DaimlerChrysler LLC in North America and DaimlerChrysler AG in Europe.
And when that “merger of equals” proved not to be one, in 2007 DaimlerChrysler became Chrysler LLC, with private equity group Cerberus Capital Management holding a majority stake in the carmaker.
Less than two years — and one bankruptcy filing — later, it became Chrysler Group LLC.
Then in early 2014, a new sign went up outside the offices on what is still called Chrysler Drive in Auburn Hills, Mich., noting yet a new name: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
And that entire stretch of time, from Chrysler Corp. to Fiat Chrysler, you could still buy a Chrysler Town & Country Minivan, made at the same plant, mostly by the same workers, designed to do the same job of transporting families from soccer games to school and home again.
Of course Chrysler is hardly the only company that has gone through some name changes and face lifts during the past 25 years. General Motors — from GM Corp. to today's GM Co. — is the easiest example to cherry pick from the auto sector.
But there are also auto supply giants like Delphi Automotive Corp., which went from Corp. to LLC to plc, and seemed to shed divisions as quickly as it changed names, and Magna International Inc., which created subsidiary companies Intier and Decoma for its interiors business and exteriors business, then brought them back in house simply as part of Magna Exteriors and Interiors.
So is this just a matter that the more things change the more they stay the same?
Many of the name changes reflect the changing auto industry during the last 25 years. There were bankruptcies, of course, but also restructuring as the North American auto market expanded to record production of more than 17 million vehicles, then massively imploded at the start of the Great Recession.