Walter P. Chrysler(1875-1940)
Walter Percy Chrysler is the founder of what is today known as the third largest North American automaker: the Chrysler Corporation. Walter Chrysler was born on April 2, 1875, in Wamego, Kansas. Several years later the Chrysler family moved to the western Ellis, Kansas. His father worked for the railroad industry as an engineer. It was at the shops of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, where he spent much time with his father as a young boy, that he developed an acute interest in the workings of a locomotive. Walter attended the public school system of Ellis where he finished high school. He then became a machinist's apprentice at the Union Pacific Railroad.
At the age of eighteen he designed and built a miniature steam locomotive that ran on an eighth of a mile track that he also built. He made many of his own possessions because it was not enough to just know how to use his tools but how to make them as well. Mechanical engineering became a way of life not just a profession. The young machinist was well on his way to making a name for himself.
Walter P. Chrysler's automotive career started in 1911, as a Works Manager for Buick in Flint, Michigan. Buick was the cornerstone on which William C. Durant built General Motors in 1908.
W. C. Durant had lost the presidency of General Motors in 1910. Mr. Chrysler went to work resolving many engineering and production problems at Buick. His reputation quickly included a tremendous ability in automaking and sound management. In 1916, W.C. Durant regained the presidency of General Motors and fired Charles W. Nash who became the president three years earlier. Walter Chrysler was made President and General Manager of Buick. Durant found out that Mr. Chrysler was considering an offer to take over Packard Motors. Durant offered him a raise from his salary of $50,000 a year to $500,000 a year to stay at Buick. He accepted.
He was also named General Motors' Vice President in charge of production. Now the other divisions within GM had the fortune of Mr. Chrysler's expertise. His next promotion put him in the office of Executive Vice President of General Motors. He now worked closely with W. C. Durant. He became troubled with Durant's style of business: constant over-expansion. Mr. Chrysler felt this was a path to imminent corporate disaster. It was this disagreement in business philosophy that lead Mr. Chrysler to retire from General Motors in 1920. His reputation in the automotive industry now was immense. He had regained Buick's name as a synonym for soundness and quality.
He had increased production from forty cars a day to over five hundred cars a day. This all helped GM reach a profit of almost fifty million dollars annually. Later, William C. Durant was forced to resign by the bankers that held General Motors' eighty million-dollar debt. Walter P. Chrysler retired from the automotive industry in 1920, at the age of forty-five, financially independent and since then his great career began.
克莱斯勒从小就表现出了在机械方面的天赋， 18 岁时，他制造了一辆微型蒸汽车，虽然这辆车更像是一件玩具，但却“五脏俱全”，可以在后院里他专门铺设的轨道上行驶，20 岁那年，他被一家工厂聘为机械师，可以拿到一份令人羡慕的薪金。但是，克莱斯靳具有一种对任何事情都十分好奇的正确性，不愿意始终呆在一个岗位上，总想寻找其他发展自己的机会。
1910 年，克莱斯勒辞掉了年薪12000 美元的工作，受聘担任了通用汽车公司别克分部中一家工厂的技术经理，年薪只有6000 美元。由于他精通机械、技术超群，在通用公司的作用越来越重要，1912 年年薪增加到2.5 万美元，1915 年增加到5 万美元。“通用”一心一意想留下他为公司效力，但克莱斯勒本人却产生了离开“通用”，独自去干一番事业的想法。
正在此时，杜兰特重返“通用”，他为了振兴“通用”，急于招揽一批人才时，对其竭力挽留，不仅委任他担任了别克部的主要负责人和公司第一副总经理，而且还将其年薪一下子提高到50万美元。然而，由于克莱斯勒与杜兰特难以合作，他还是于1920 年3 月25 日离开了“通用”。
经过辗转，克莱斯勒终于促成立了自己的公司。汽车公司成立心以后，发展极其迅速。相继推出的“克莱斯勒4 号”和“系列58”两种新车为其发展做出了贡献。公司在1925 年的国内排名只有27 位，1926 年末升至第5 位，1927 年则又上升至第4 位。1928 年通过股票交易的方式买下了道奇公司和普利茅斯汽车公司。道奇公司当时在美国排名第三，有良好的商誉和可靠的销售网，买下它之后，克来斯勒在1929 年即跃升为美国三大汽车公司之一，后来还曾有过超过福特位居第二位的辉煌。1930-1934 年间，克莱斯勒相继成立了安普莱部和爱尔坦普部，从事轴承和散热器的生产。