Odds are you’ll never see never see one of these cars, but know this: Chrysler indulged in some very confusing rebadging back in the Eighties, especially in Mexico.
There are plenty of reasons why an American carmaker might employ brands differently in different North American markets. The now-defunct Fargo truck brand, for example, allowed Chrysler-Plymouth dealers to sell pickups up North. Never mind that Fargo and Dodge trucks were absolutely identical.
Today we’re going to look at Chrysler’s K-Car, which was sold in the U.S. between 1981 and 1989. The affordable compact coupes, sedans, and wagons were a hit in the U.S., so selling them south of the border was nothing but logical. Oh, but the marketing…
The K-Cars were sold in the U.S. as the Plymouth Reliant and the Dodge Aries. But in Mexico, the Reliant became the Chrysler Volaré, and the Aries the Dodge Dart. Research into the name changes for the Mexican market turns up several reasons for the moniker swap, though all of them feel like guesses. Most interesting, I think, is that the Plymouth brand was swapped for Chrysler.
The Volaré was offered in Mexico in coupe and sedan form, while the Dart was also offered as a wagon. Interestingly, a sporty version of the Dart coupe was renamed Magnum 400, and from the ad seen below, seems to have be sold as a Chrysler. It’s all very confusing.
Fun fact: At this same time, the Plymouth Reliant was sold in Canada as the Caravelle.
For 1986, the Dart was renamed 600, and moved to the stretched K-Car architecture that underpinned the U.S. Chrysler E-Class, Dodge 600, and Plymouth Caravelle. The Dart coupe and wagon went away.
What happened next is confusing enough to merit another blog post. We’ll get to that eventually. Until then, should you see a Chrysler Volaré, you now know where it came from. If you see one.
What was the Chrysler Volaré?
1984 Chrysler Magnum 400
1984 Chrysler Volaré
1985 Dodge Dart
1986 Dodge Dart
Mexican Car-Ad Gallery
Click below for enlarged images