Marques of pride and prejudice

Ever since the formation of the motor industry, we have seen a wide range of car brands specialising in a wide range of areas. From the family-oriented Ford to the street racing Subaru, it could be said that the world currently has on its streets, one hell of a lot of car brands.

In fact, China has over 60 all to itself.

With such a high number of brands on the market, which ones have climbed to the highest echelons of prestige and which ones have fallen into the abyss?

Courtesy of Mobile Tyre Fitters, here are most interesting tales of the rise and fall of two well-known car brands. 


A brand that has in its history, enjoyed more twists and turns than a rollercoaster; Škoda has felt both the cold jeer of a mob and the warm cheer of the crowd in a remarkably short period of time.

During the 1980s, Škoda was famous for being the butt end of many jokes; mostly about the mechanical reliability and overall quality of its vehicles.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this meant that many owners had to shy away from their vehicles when they broke down and some even resorted to getting their tyres fitted at home so that they could escape the cruel jibes of the mechanic:

“What do you call a Škoda with a sunroof?”

“A skip!”

Much of this was down to the simple fact that throughout the 1980s, Škoda was still building cars on specifications that had been drawn up from no less than twenty years before.

It must be mentioned however, that turning a profit and remaining solvent under communist rule is a difficult task for any company, but by exporting cheap, affordable cars to the West, Škoda was able to stay afloat in a way that simply would not have been possible otherwise.

By 1991 the company’s prospects began to change, Volkswagen formed a joint-venture partnership with the company and from there, the Škoda’s reputation found itself gradually – but inexorably – rising through the opinion polls.

Volkswagen had the engineering know-how to inject quality into their cars and just twenty years later in 2011, Škoda was voted top of the most popular car brands by Which? Ltd; totally reversing its fortunes.


A brand that has perhaps found itself in a total reversal of fate in comparison to Škoda, over the past ten years, the company has had an incredibly hard time as hiccup after hiccup has seemingly chased the once popular brand into the hard shoulder.

After being unable to show a single new vehicle in the Detroit hometown show in 2010, few thought that Chrysler would last.

In fact, the company actually had to publically announce that they would continue to operate – not helped of course by the memory of its government-financed bankruptcy in 2009.

Although Chrysler have since repaid its $7.6 billion loans to the American and Canadian governments, the company has not yet overtaken its problems as in June 2013, it had to announce a risky recall of 2.3 million SUV’s.

Things haven’t always been this hard for Chrysler however, as during the 1950s the brand proved to be hugely popular as Forward Look designs and transistor radios were introduced into new cars.

During the 1960s, the company was also able to expand overseas, forming Chrysler Europe and enjoyed sales in Britain, France and Spain. And in the US, Chrysler also introduced the legendary Dodge Charger – a car that would redefine muscle vehicles throughout the world.

Unfortunately by the 1970s, the industry changed and Chrysler could not adapt to either new government or anti-pollution regulations. Due to implementation costs, Chrysler detuned its engines, and to pay for the changes, it charged higher prices.

Due to this, Chrysler Europe collapsed in 1977 and was offloaded to Peugeot, not helped by the failures of the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volaré.

During the 1980s, Chrysler had to appeal to the United States Congress for a loan of $1.5 billion in an effort to stay in business. To help, the military bought tens of thousands of Dodge pickup trucks; a lifeline that allowed the company to continue and build towards another recovery.

By the early 1990s Chrysler had been able to work its way back into Europe and in 1993 returned into the UK market.

Come the end of the decade however, clouds again began to form as hostile takeovers, boycotts and gagging orders blighted the company’s reputation.

During the first quarter of 2000, Chrysler reported a $512 million third quarter loss though the company did scrape a profit in 2004.

In 2008, Daimler, who had shares in Chrysler, announced that it had a book value of zero dollars after a series of write offs and charges.

Considering that the company paid $36 billion for Chrysler just ten years before, it is therefore no surprise to learn that they were forced a into merger with Ford and General Motors.

Today Chrysler remain in trouble as their reputation swerves wildly throughout the opinion polls, and the unfortunate thing is, the government may just not be willing to help out a third time.