It's hard to believe that not long ago, The Big Three was simple language for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. But with strong competition from brands ranging from Kia to Toyota, The Big Three morphed into The Detroit Three, an arguably incorrect term given Chrysler's ownership by Germany's Daimler-Benz at the time.
Chrysler benefited somewhat from its role in the new DaimlerChrysler venture, namely in the development of its hot-selling Chrysler 300 sedan and capable but overpriced Chrysler Crossfire. However, the union failed to live up to expectations, and Chrysler was sold to Cerberus Capital Management. With the sale went a number of recognized nameplates including the Chrysler Sebring sedan, the Chrysler Sebring convertible, the Chrysler Pacifica, and the Chrysler minivan known as the Town & Country. Cerberus also took ownership of the retro-styled Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Chrysler Aspen, which is essentially a rebadged Dodge Durango with minor tweaks. Despite covering each of its vehicles with a unique lifetime powertrain warranty backed by Chrysler Mopar parts, that lineup continues to relegate Chrysler to third place among the so-called Detroit Three.