Automobile industry legend Lee Iaococca, who is credited with creating the iconic Ford Mustang and saving Chrysler from bankruptcy, died Tuesday at the age of 94, US media reported.
Iacocca died at his home in Bel-Air, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, from complications of Parkinson’s disease, his family told local media.
Chrysler said in a statement that the company “is saddened” by news of Iacocca’s death.
“He played a historic role in steering Chrysler through crisis and making it a competitive force,” the statement read.
“Lee gave us a mindset that still drives us today — one that is characterized by hard work, dedication and grit. His legacy is the resilience and unshakeable faith in the future that live on” in the company’s employees.
– Man behind the Ford Mustang –
Iacocca began his career in 1946 at the Ford Motor Company, first as an engineer and then in sales.
It was his talent in marketing that helped realize his full potential.
Iacocca’s first sales campaign in the mid-1950s was so successful that it attracted the attention of company executives and brought him to the Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
Iacocca had reaped in massive sales over his career, particularly with the Ford Mustang that he designed in 1957.
However he was accused of plotting against Chairman Henry Ford II in a quest to reach the top company position.
In a 1992 interview, when Iacocca was asked about the seemingly Machiavellian scheme, he snapped back with characteristic sharpness: “Machiavelli my ass!”
Ford fired him in 1978 — so Iacocca moved to the floundering Chrysler Corporation.
– ‘If you see a better car, buy it!’ –
In 1979, the US government bailed Chrysler out of a potential bankruptcy with $1.5 billion in secured loans. Iacocca took the reins once more and implemented a painful restructuring process.
He had twisted Congress’s arm for the loan, and he successfully brought Chrysler back from the brink – then paid off the loan ahead of schedule.
Under his leadership, Chrysler invented the minivan and later the suburban utility vehicle (SUV).
His famous line in Chrysler ads — “If you find a better car, buy it!” he would say, pointing at the viewer — turned him into a legend.
Iacocca fierce anti-Japanese views –he viewed their commercial practices as detrimental to US — at the time earned him support from Democrats and labor unions.
But by the late 1980s Chrysler took a downturn, and thousands of employees were laid off in order to save the company.
He left Chrysler at the start of the 1990s, and later launched an ultimately unsuccessful hostile takeover bid of the company with billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.
Iacocca said that the Great Depression of the 1930s had a lasting impact on his outlook, especially after his family — Italian immigrants — lost everything.
“The Depression turned me into a materialist. I was after the bucks,” he said.
When Chrysler was in trouble, he accepted a $1 salary. But when the company recovered, he took home as much as $20 million a year.
“No matter what you have,” he once said, “it’s never enough.”
Trump lies to the press about his massive tax increasing while departing to France for the G7 Summit
President Donald Trump was caught repeating inaccurate claims when he spoke to reporters before boarding Marine One for his trip to France for the G7 Summit.
"I think our tariffs are very good for us. We're taking in tens of billions of dollars, China is paying for it," Trump argued.
In reality, China is not paying for the tariffs, which are paid by American importers and passed on to consumers, making the announcement a massive tax increase on Americans.
"Our tariffs are working out very well for us, people don't understand that yet," Trump argued.
Bill Maher presents ’25 things you don’t know about Stephen Miller’ on Real Time
The host of HBO's "Real Time" presented "25 things you don’t know about Stephen Miller" on Friday.
"In high school, I was voted 'Most Likely to Comb My Mummified Mother's Hair,'" was one item.
"I think tacos are stealing jobs from hamburgers," was another.
"I'm a Cancer. I don't know my astrological sign," was a third.
"The worst part about my car smelling like wet dogs, is that I don't own dogs," was a fourth.
Bill Maher dances on David Koch’s grave: ‘I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful’
HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher celebrated the death of right-wing billionaire David Koch, who died of prostate cancer.
"I guess I'm going to have to reevaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer," Maher said.
"Condolences poured in from all the politicians he owned and mourners are being asked, in lieu of flowers, to just leave their car engine running," he said.
"I know these seem like harsh words and harsh jokes, and I'm sure I will be condemned for them on Fox News, which will portray Mr. Koch as a principled libertarian who believed in the free market," Maher said. "He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers -- for decades."