September 16, 2004

Today in Automotive History 1908

Today in Automotive History

1908 Birth Of A Giant

William C. Durant founded the General Motors Corporation (GM) on this day, consolidating several motor car companies, including Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac, to form this Goliath of the automotive industry. GM's success was assured in 1912 when Cadillac introduced the electric self-starter, quickly making the hand crank obsolete and propelling sales. Throughout the next few years, the company continued to grow, buying out Chevrolet, Delco, the Fisher Body Company, and Frigidaire. In 1929, GM surpassed Ford to become the leading American passenger-car manufacturer, and by 1941, the company was the largest automotive manufacturer in the world. But the 1970s and 1980s brought darker times, and the company suffered under severe competition from imports. GM responded with attempts at modernization, but its efforts have yielded mixed results thus far; the company was forced to close a large number of plants in the U.S. during the early 1990s after several years of heavy losses.

Posted by Quality Weenie at September 16, 2004 07:57 AM