General Motors was started in 1908 by William C. Durant.
Durant had been involved in the buggy business and by 1890 was producing about 50,000 horse-drawn vehicles a year with Durant-Dort Carriage Company. His first venture into automobiles was manager of Buick, bringing their sales from 34 cars in 1904 to the #1 automobile in sales in 1908.
In 1908, Durant incorporated General Motors of New Jersey (GM) with a capital investment of $2,000. His General Motors issued stock and sold enough to generate $12,000,000 in cash. General Motors then purchased Buick with stock. Six weeks later, GM acquired the Olds Corporation , Oakland Company, Cadillac Motor Car Company and interest in over 20 more companies until he overextended and was taken over by the banks.
In 1909 William Durant (known as Billy Durant) asked Louis Chevrolet a famous race car driver to help design and promote a new car. Incorporated in 1911 and in 1912 with designer Etienne Planche, Chevrolet rolled out the first Classic Six. Selling for over $2000 Durant also developed the Little Six for $695 to compete with the Model T.
By 1915 Durant with the large profits from Chevrolet bought up over 50% of General Motors Corporation.
Someone once asked Billy Durant, "Do you ever worry?" "Never," Billy answered, with his usual smile. "In the daytime I'm too busy, At night I'm too sleepy."
By the year 1919 Durant call GM "my baby". It's sales had doubled over 1918, employed 85,980 workers, started an employee investment plan (the first 401K?), allocated $2.5 million for employee housing, purchased Fisher Body, Frigidaire and established [GMAC] General Motors Acceptance Corporation. In 1920 during a recession GM sales dropped and Durant was out and Alfred Sloan led GM the next ten years. GM expanded around the world especially into Germany through Opel and Great Britain through Vauxhall. By 1929 GM passed Ford as the #1 auto manufacturer in the world. GM survived the depression years and even bought out companies, including Yellow Coach Bus and diesel-electric locomotive maker Electro-Motive.
GM Opel helped the Nazi war effort, GM Vauxhall built the Churchill tank for Great Britain and the US GM divisions built over 60,000 aircraft engines, helmets, uniforms, rear axles, gears, light, medium, and heavy tanks, tank destroyers, armored cars, trucks, amphibious vehicles, propellers, etc. for the Allies.
In 1955, General Motors became the first American corporation to make over one billion dollars in a year. GM also became the largest US corporation in the 1950's and most years until the 1980's.
Beginning in the 1980's profit loses and production cut backs started to come more frequently for GM.
By 2007 GM had sold off several of its companies. In 2007 they recorded record losses of 39 billion on revenue of 181 billion.
Find out more info on Machine-History.Com through our search engine by GM division.
General Motors either fully or partly owned or heavily associated with the following brands.
Acadian AWD Bedford Bedford-Buick Beaumont Bedford Truck Buick Cadillac Cartercar Chevrolet Chevrolet Truck Daewoo Elmore Envoy Epic Ewing FIAT Flxible Geo General Motors Cab General Motors Truck GM [EV-1] G.M.C. Grabowsky Hertz Rent-a-Car Hindustan Holden Hummer Isuzu La Salle Little Lotus Maple Leaf McLaughlin McLaughlin-Buick Marquette [first] Marquette [1929-30] Maruti Monroe Nissan [vans] Northway Oakland Oldsmobile Opel Pontiac Rainier Randolph Rapid Truck Reliance Truck Renault [vans] Saab Samson Samson Tractors Samson Trucks Saturn Scripps-Booth Sheridan Suzuki Vauxhall Viking Volvo Truck [Canada] Welch Whiting Yellow Bus & Coach Yellow Cab Yellow Truck