Yes, this post is categorized under “Disruption.”

Long ago, Chrysler Corporation was on the edge of collapse. There was much controversy about the company receiving a government bailout voted by Congress in December, 1979, and signed into law by President Carter in January, 1980, that to this day remains unclear if it helped or hurt the company (and ultimately the economy). Here’s one article suggesting it helped, and another suggesting it should have been let to go into bankruptcy.

Perhaps forgotten by now, in the late 1970’s the company developed a new car chassis platform in response to the explosion of Japanese imports in the U.S. marketplace. Introduced in 1981, the K-car formed the nucleus of several sedan models including the Dodge Aires, Plymouth Reliant and Chrysler LeBaron. Fast-forward to 1983, and for the 1984 model year the company introduced their first minivans based on the K-car chassis, along the way “paving” (bad pun, I know, but couldn’t be helped …) the way for a new way of life here in the U.S. This is a fun article from the New York Times that shares both some history, and provides a hands-on review of what it’s like to drive one of those first minivans today.