From its first model introduced on November 3rd., 1911 to an appreciative public, Chevrolet has come to represent a trusted automotive brand that successfully fulfills the transportation needs and aspirations of millions of people around the world.
The Chevrolet Motor Car Company was formed in 1909 by an alliance between William Durant, who founded General Motors (GM) a year earlier, and Louis Chevrolet, a leading racecar driver of the time. Louis Chevrolet, William Little and Edwin Cambell formed in november of 1911 Chevrolet Motor Company of Michigan with headquarters in Detroit.
In 1912 Chevrolet launched its “Classic Six” – a large 5-passenger touring sedan that could reach the top speed of 65 miles per hour.
The company was successful from the word go, with Chevrolet becoming the fourth best selling make in the United States by 1916 and surpassing the 100,000 unit sales mark the following year.
Chevrolet was formally integrated into the General Motors Corporation in 1918, with the bowtie logo being adopted for the first time in 1914, reputedly being inspired by a wallpaper pattern that impressed William Durant in a Paris hotel room.
By 1927, Chevrolet was selling over one million units in the United States alone making it by far, the market leader. In 1929, Chevrolet introduces its new six-cylinder engine for use in commercial vehicles. This engine is nicknamed ‘the cast iron wonder’ for its remarkable durability.
Much of this success came about from the value and first class engineering embodied in the products offered. Chevrolets were among the first to adopt innovations as electric lights and self-starting (as opposed to the labourious and potentially dangerous manual crank starting), both of these features were true advances in the low price field.
Among the many other innovations and developments that Chevrolet was first to market or an early adopter for are:
– 1924 Availability of a car radio as an option
– Late 1920’s Colour Duco paint finishes when black was still the sole factory finish offered by rivals
– 1930 Articulated brake shoes for better stopping
– 1934 Independent front suspension for a smoother ride
– 1935 A station wagon/estate car body with the first Suburban
– 1950 The first offering of automatic transmission among low priced cars
– 1953 The first series production car with fiberglass body with America’s first sports car, the 1953 Corvette (the first in a long and legendary line)
– 1954 Power assisted brakes, power windows and electrically adjustable seats
– 1955 Modern, high output ohv V8 engine
– 1957 Fuel injection
– 1959 All round independent suspension
– 1971 Ability of American market models to run on unleaded petrol in 1971
– 1972 First generation driver’s airbag as an option
– 1975 Catalytic converters for reduced exhaust emissions
– 2000 Seven seat compact family wagons with flexible interior configurations with the Zafira
– 2001 Pickup trucks with flexible cargo area configuration as offered in the Avalanche
– 2004 Vehicles that combine the best attributes of several body types
Chevrolet has never strayed from the maxim of offering leading value and innovations that benefits owners, resulting in the bowtie logo being one of the most internationally recognised icons around and commanding an increasingly loyal following.
Today, Chevrolet is sold in practically every corner of the world.
In 2002, Chevrolet accounted for 3.6 million of the 18.5 million units of worldwide sales recorded by GM.