The Chrysler Corporation, which has actually been the DaimlerChrysler Motors Company, LLC, since 1998, and is known as the Chrysler Group here in the USA, has been producing automobiles since 1925. It's been the third largest of the "Big 3" auto companies for most of its history since then, but in January 2007, it outsold the traditionally second-place Ford.
Founded by Walter P. Chrysler, the company was built from the remaining assets of the Maxwell Motor Company in the early 1920's after he had originally been hired to overhaul the Maxwell-Chalmers company, which was having serious operations issues. The last Chalmers automobile was produced in 1923, and the first Chrysler was launched in 1924: a 6-cylinder car designed to be advanced, well-engineered, and reasonably priced.
As the years went by Chrysler expanded its operations, creating the Plymouth brand in order to offer lower priced cars (essentially re-branding 4-cylinder models), and the DeSoto brand in the mid-price range. The Dodge brothers' car company was later acquired, and, in 1955, Imperial became a brand of its own, setting Chrysler up as a direct competitor to GM, which also had five brands under its umbrella.
Chrysler's attempts at innovation weren't always successful. In 1934 the company used scientific aerodynamic principles to create the Chrysler Airflow line of cars, as well as the industry's first wind tunnel, which was used to design them, but the public didn't like them. Instead it was the conservative, conventional models from Plymouth and Dodge that carried the car maker through the Depression. Plymouth, in fact, actually increased sales during that time. On the other hand, thirty years later, Chrysler would be the first major car manufacturer to offer unibody construction, which became the industry standard as it produced less rattling when cars were driven. Additionally, Chrysler was the first to move from electrical generators to alternators, which would also become the industry standard.
Today, the Chrysler group is offering some of the most popular cars in America, including the retro-looking PT Cruiser, and the smooth-riding convertible Sebring, as well as the Pacifica SUV and the Town and Country minivan. It remains an important part of the American automotive industry, and the cultural landscape.