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GM General Motors- history, overview

Autor /IropyipType Dodano /16.03.2006

William Crapo Durant
As a young man, Durant dealt in medicaments and cigars. Later, he switched to insurance and real property. However, his biggest success was in the motor industry In 1904, he took over Buick, a car maker beset with financial problems, which had been making its own-designed vehicles since 1899. He then succeeded in taking over Cadillac, named after a French geographer who, in the 17th century, was the first person to describe the region of the America Great Lakes.
When Durant took control of Cadillac, the company had already been a reputable manufacturer of luxury vehicles in the US. Cadillac became famous after winning a competition organized by the UK’s Royal Automobile Club in 1908. Three Cadillac cars, randomly chosen out of eight vehicles brought from the US, were taken to pieces. All the parts were mixed together. Then the vehicles were reassembled, complete and roadworthy. For the Europeans, it was a stunning demonstration of the American skill of manufacturing standard goods. Europe was at the time a continent of artisan methods that required individual parts to be fitted into one another every time. In 1906, Buick and Cadillac were joined by Oldsmobile, another US car maker with financial difficulties. Durant created a holding company and called it General Motors Company.

Durant, however, was building his company with money borrowed from banks. When it turned out that the company’s expansion was becoming increasing costly, not all its investments were successful and money was short, bankers demanded payment of the loans and, in 1910, seized control of the company Durant had created. Then something happened, something that would be difficult to imagine today. Durant made an offer to Louis Chevrolet, a then well-known racing driver – Durant wanted him to design a car. Durant himself started a company to make engines for the car and began to manufacture a small, cheap car called Little. In November 1911, a company called Chevrolet Motor Car Company was registered. Its first vehicle was called Classic Six. Its six-cylinder engine worked unusually smoothly, but the car itself carried out a fairly high price tag. However, it was not until 1914 that the company was a real success – with its new vehicle called Chevrolet L, a vehicle that combined the best of Little and Classix Six. Chevrolet was becoming so successful that Durant tempted investors, mostly the DuPont family, a family of chemical giants, to support him. In the early 20th century, their company was the US largest manufacturer of explosives and was doing great business during the First World War. Supported by Pierre DuPont, Durant took over GM. Following the deal, in 1918 General Motors Company changed its name to General Motors Corporation, which it has used till this day, and Chevrolet became its subsidiary.

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