MOPAR probably doesn’t even sound like it’s a real word if you’ve never heard of it before. It sounds like something from a sci-fi story or a mistake that someone made when trying to say the word moped.
Well it’s neither of those things. In fact, the explanation for the strange word itself is actually quite a simple one. ‘MOPAR’ comes from the words MOtor PARts, and it simply refers to the parts, services and customer care division of the Chrysler Corporation.
Now officially combined with PSA and rebranded as Sellantis, this is one of the top three biggest car manufacturers in North America, and Mopar has been one of the most successful subdivisions ever since its inception almost a century ago.
What started as just a rather innocuous word that was printed on the side of an antifreeze bottle, has become a blanket term for all cars that are built using Chrysler parts, and this encompasses a lot of models from Dodge, Plymouth and Imperial.
So though it may not have been a word that you were familiar with, anyone with a certain amount of knowledge of cars is going to have a little bit of an understanding of what constitutes a Mopar vehicle.
Let’s have a look at the story of Mopar up to the present day, and we’ll start all the way back at the very beginning:
Like I mentioned before, the term was first used to identify a brand of antifreeze that was produced by the Chrysler Corporation in 1937, though the actual subdivision of the company responsible for the product and various other Chrysler products had been around for about a decade before it appeared on those bottles.
The name itself came to fruition after the company’s promotional manager Nelson I. Farley wanted to alter the way they were advertising their products, and the Activities Counsel came up with a name which was short, unique and easy to remember.
Mopar was then trademarked, and a logo was designed by Burke Bartlett. In the early days, when they were still trying to figure out the best possible marketing strategy, Mopar even had its own mascot called Mr. Mopar.
Though it has become such a profitable force in the car industry now, Mopar did struggle a little bit in the early days, and while a lot of that was due to them being relatively new on the scene, it was also due to the second world war.
The auto industry was new and exciting in the 30’s and innovation was encouraged, but by the early 40s, the focus had to shift away from commercial vehicles to tanks, trucks and airplanes and this slowed down the momentum of many car companies, Chrysler included.
Once the war was over, Mopar had to work to find its feet again, and though it took some time, things would eventually start to turn around.
A couple of years after the war ended, Mopar made the wise decision to launch the Master Tech training program, in order to make sure that the technicians involved in manufacturing Chrysler vehicles were top-notch.
This helped them to develop a reputation as one of the most reliable motor parts companies in the world and they were soon able to open the Mopar Parts Depot in Michigan which is still in operation today.
In the 1960s, the racing industry skyrocketed, and with an already established reputation for high quality motor parts, Mopar was one of the leading names in that field. They established a specific racing parts brand known as Direct Connections and found huge success with it.
A big contributor to the success was the drag racer Don Garlits, who is also commonly known by the nickname ‘Big Daddy.’ Garlits was one of the biggest names in the racing industry in the 60s and is to this day, still a major ambassador for Mopar.
Garlits won an awful lot of races in his time, and winning meant that interest and sales rose. So the already lucrative Mopar started to earn even more, which in turn allowed them to innovate even more.
In the late 60s, they developed a series of Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda stock cars, which even today are among the most commonly used vehicles in auto racing. And then in the early 70s, Mopar developed the first ever parts delivery service, which changed the motor parts industry forever.
It’s been relatively smooth sailing for Mopar ever since. Throughout the 70s and 80s when the auto industry as a whole was changing and the gas shortages and an altered attitude towards the usage of gas and fuel, their previous success helped them to survive and continue to innovate.
And in the 1990s, Mopar expanded their focus even further, with the intention of innovating a completely different aspect of the business, that being customer service. And as we discussed at the beginning of the article, that is now an official job of the division.
Technical innovations that have been the focus of Mopar in the 21st Century have all been focused on enhancing the customer experience and Mopar has been behind a number of significant advancements.
Mopar were responsible for the first smartphone app which included vehicle information for car owners, and that has substantially altered the way in which we research, analyze and ultimately decide on what vehicles to purchase.
What was started by Mopar has led to apps and services which provide us with up-to-date details on price trends, how to determine personal specifications for a new vehicle such as size, speed and interior technology, and also what models are upcoming from various brands.
Mopar also innovated a diagnosis program, which has made it much easier to identify the source of a car owner’s issues with their vehicle so that repairs can be initiated quickly and efficiently.
And with technology still advancing at a rapid rate, the sky’s the limit for more customer service innovations in the future.
Mopar has come a long way from the single antifreeze product all the way back in 1937, and they are showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Whether it’s car parts, auto racing to customer service, Mopar has changed the game for all of them.