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American Motors

American Motors Corporation (AMC) was an American automobile company, formed in 1954 by the merger of Nash Motors and Hudson[?]. At the time, it was the largest corporate merger in U.S. history, valued at $197,793,366. It was bought out by Chrysler in 1987.

The original plan was for Nash and Hudson to merge while Studebaker and Packard merged, and then, after the companies had settled down, for the combined companies to merge. Nash president George Mason believed that the last of the American independent car manufacturers, if they were to survive, would have to merge into one "last of the independents" in order to survive.

Due to the unexpected death of Mason, who had planned the series of deals, the second wave of mergers never happened. AMC cooperated for a year or two with its betrothed, using Packard engines in its products until a parts dispute ended the partnership in mid-1956.

The prediction was sort of correct; AMC lasted until 1987 while the last Studebaker was built in 1966. However, Studebaker never went out of business; it simply merged with other companies and got out of the automobile business.

AMC combined the Nash and the Hudson product lines. In 1956, AMC introduced the Rambler, which was sold under both the Nash and Hudson labels in its first year. In 1957, Nash and Hudson became Rambler. Although it was one of AMC's best-known products, the Rambler nameplate was dropped in 1969.

AMC produced a number of muscle cars in the late 1960s and 1970s, and in 1970, it introduced the Gremlin, the first American subcompact car. Also in 1970, AMC bought Jeep. The Pacer, another well-remembered AMC product, followed in 1975. It was reportedly designed by having four people sit down and designing the car around them.

In 1980, AMC introduced the Eagle, a four-wheel drive passenger car. It would become one of AMC's best-known products.

By 1982, AMC was struggling. Because AMC's AM General division was a major denfense contractor, AMC sold off AM General in order to sell controlling interest to Renault, which was owned by the French government. AM General would re-appear in the marketplace nearly a decade later, in 1991, as Hummer.

AMC's struggles continued after its partnership with Renault. In the early 1980s, its Jeep division popularized the compact sport-utility vehicle with its introduction of the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Wagoneer in 1983. Despite these innovations, the self-styled "last of the independent" American car manufacturers sold out to Chrysler in 1987. While Chrysler carried on with the Jeep brand and sold a pair of Renault-designed cars for five years under the Eagle nameplate (ironically, the AMC car by the same name wasn't kept), AMC as the world knew it ceased.

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