Published: Wed, July 03, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Famous Auto Exec Lee Iacocca Dies At 94

Famous Auto Exec Lee Iacocca Dies At 94

A family member tells TMZ Iacocca passed away, but could not provide any further detail.

Lee Iacocca, an automotive executive and former president and chairman of Chrysler Corporation, has died at the age of 94. During his time at Ford, he was involved in the development of the Ford Mustang and Ford Pinto.

He was then hired by Chrysler 1978 and became the company's CEO in 1979.

Iacocca climbed through the ranks at Ford and became known as the "Father of the Mustang", for helping launch the iconic sports vehicle.

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Born Lido Anthony Iacocca on October 15, 1924 to Italian immigrant parents, he went on to get a master's degree in engineering from Princeton University in 1946. Mr Iacocca famously accepted a salary of just $1 a year while the company was recovering. Launched in April 1964 at the World's Fair, the Mustang became one of the bestselling cars ever, giving the Ford Motor Company a profit of $1.1 Billion over the next two years.

Iacocca caught the attention of Ford executives with sales pitches like the legendary '56 for 56, ' that offered 1956 model year cars at a nominal 20 per cent down payment and a $56 payment for the next three years - executives like Robert McNamara.

Iacocca's legacy and contribution to not only the American automotive landscape but the way the world looks at cars can not be overstated. But more so, he's also credited for single-handedly saving Chrysler from bankruptcy in the 1980s by introducing the company's popular K-Car platform. He was named president of Ford in 1970, but was sacked by Henry Ford 1978. He is survived by two daughters and eight grandchildren.

In what has been described as the biggest corporate save in US business history, the straight-talking Iacocca revitalized Chrysler by closing factories, dismissing tens of thousands of employees, and slashing executive salaries, including cutting his own to a dollar a year.

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