Dead Brand Trucks: Fargo and DeSoto – Still Being Made In Turkey Well Into the 21st Century

Chrysler’s pentastar and old brand names ended up in some odd places. Fargo branded trucks were being built in Turkey well into the 21st century, and DeSotos (bottom) for almost as long. But don’t look for a Chrysler big block V8 under their hoods. Or just about anything else you might find familiar.

Fargo was an independent truck maker, starting in 1913, but apparently the name petered out in 1922. Chrysler re-introduced it in 1928, after they bought what remained of the company. That was also the year Chrysler bought Dodge, and the Fargo brand was re-introduced as a badge-engineered Dodge. But in the 1930s, the Fargo brand was phased out in the US.

But in Canada, Fargo was kept very much alive, in order to give Chrysler-Plymouth dealers a comparable truck to sell as Dodge. This was done since many towns in Canada had only either one or the other dealer.

Fargo was also used in export markets, on trucks built at the Dodge Lynch Road plant in Detroit. And if that weren’t enough, the DeSoto brand started to be applied to exported Dodge trucks too, giving Chrysler three truck brands abroad. Export markets worked differently, since in certain locales one of Chrysler’s brands might have a strong local presence, and trucks were needed as part of that.

The Fargo brand, along with Dodge, was also used by Barreiros in Spain, which tied up with Chrysler in 1957.

In 1962, Askam was founded in Turkey, as a joint venture owned 60% by Chrysler. This brochure is from 1973, and it shows that it had a Perkins 6-354 diesel engine. And the cab is obviously the same one used for the following some decades, as the picture at the top of this post shows. In 1978, Chrysler sold its interest in Askam, at a time of crisis when Chrysler was rapidly off-loading foreign assets.

I’m not sure how long the big trucks were built, but the last truck to bear the Fargo brand was the Fargo Fora van, essentially an LDV Maxus, which was a joint venture by LDV Limited and Daewoo. LDV has a very complicated history, having been formerly Leyland DAF vans, it fell into Russian ownership and then ultimately into Chinese ownership (SAIC) in 2010. Talk about dead brands.

The Fargo Fora was built by Askam until 2015, when Askam went out of business. One more dead brand.