Chevrolet: Challenging the limits in automotive design and engineering

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When cars were first produced, auto manufacturers were going out of business at an alarming rate. Billy Durant (founder of General Motors) reasoned that a consortium of production could increase volume and enable members to manufacture their own parts, ensuring an adequate supply at reasonable pricing.

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William C. Durant Forms General Motors Corporation in 1908

The General Motors Corp. was founded in 1908 by William C Durant for building cars at reasonable prices, and competition for car manufacturer Henry Ford. It began to grow in strength,acquiring Cadillac for the sum of $5.5 million in 1909 . Near the end of November 1911, Louis Chevrolet, co-founded with William C. Durant to form the Chevrolet Motor Company, together with investment partners William Little, – the maker of the Little Automobile, as well as Durant’s son-in-law. The following year they were joined by R.S. MCLaughlin, the CEO of General Motors, Canada. General Motors Acceptance Corporation Durant saw the potential of financing the sale of new vehicles, particularly as his rival Henry Ford was against credit and so General Motors Acceptance Corporation was formed (GMAC) in 1919. This certainly helped propel General Motors car sales during the twenties, as the American public became used to the idea of undertaking monthly payments on cars. Another development that occurred was in 1923 with Charles Kettering’s Duco lacquer, a paint that besides giving longer-lasting colour richness, reduced the drying time from 336 hours to 13 1/2 hours. January 1940, saw GM’s 25 millionth car leaving the assembly line. The car was a silver Chevrolet. During 1950, the first entry-level brand to offer fully automatic shifting was introduced with Chevrolet’s Powerglide transmission. Another first for Chevrolet was the Chevy Corvette. This was the first production sports car and the first car with a plastic body to be produced in quantity. Cruise Control was introduced by General Motors on their Cadillacs in 1959 and on the Chevrolet El Camino pickup truck. Another first, as this was the first time a big car and pickup truck were combined. This was also the year of the unveiling of the air-cooled rear-engine Chevrolet Corvair. Made in Canada General Motors announced in 2006 that the Chevrolet Camaro was to be manufactured at the Canadian Oshawa Assembly Plant, and in 2013 they were recognized in the Top 3 of plant quality awards of the J.D. Power and Associates initial quality study. In 2010 the Chevrolet Volt was launched within Canada and scheduled to arrive at dealerships during the second half of 2011. 2011 also marked the centenary of the iconic Chevrolet part of the GM Company, originating from a rented garage to a leading world car brand that now operates in over 140 countries.