1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 Sepia 2

LisaWootenPhoto

Chapin, United States

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Chevrolet (/ʃɛvrəˈleɪ/ shev-rə-lay), colloquially referred to as Chevy and formally the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM). Louis Chevrolet and ousted General Motors founder William C. Durant started the company on November 3, 1911 2 as the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. Durant used the Chevrolet Motor Car Company to acquire a controlling stake in General Motors with a reverse merger occurring on May 2, 1918 and propelled himself back to the GM presidency. After Durant’s second ousting in 1919, Alfred Sloan, with his maxim “a car for every purse and purpose,” would pick the Chevrolet brand to become the volume leader in the General Motors family, selling mainstream vehicles to compete with Henry Ford’s Model T in 1919 and overtaking Ford as the best-selling car in the United States by 1929.3

Chevrolet-branded vehicles are sold in most automotive markets worldwide, with the notable exception of Oceania, where GM is represented by its Australian subsidiary, Holden. In 2005, Chevrolet was relaunched in Europe, primarily selling vehicles built by GM Daewoo of South Korea with the tagline “Daewoo has grown up enough to become Chevrolet”, a move rooted in General Motors’ attempt to build a global brand around Chevrolet. With the reintroduction of Chevrolet to Europe, GM intended Chevrolet to be a mainstream value brand, while GM’s traditional European standard-bearers, Opel of Germany, and Vauxhall of United Kingdom would be moved upmarket.4 However, GM reversed this move in late 2013, announcing that the brand would be withdrawn from Europe, with the exception of the Camaro and Corvette5 in 2016. Chevrolet vehicles will continue to be marketed in the CIS states, including Russia. After General Motors fully acquired GM Daewoo in 2011 to create GM Korea, the last usage of the Daewoo automotive brand was discontinued in its native South Korea and succeeded by Chevrolet.

In North America, Chevrolet produces and sells a wide range of vehicles, from subcompact automobiles to medium-duty commercial trucks. Due to the prominence and name recognition of Chevrolet as one of General Motors’ global marques, Chevrolet, Chevy or Chev is used at times as a synonym for General Motors or its products, one example being the GM LS1 engine, commonly known by the name or a variant thereof of its progenitor, the Chevrolet small-block engine. On November 3, 1911, Swiss race car driver and automotive engineer Louis Chevrolet co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Company in Detroit with William C. Durant and investment partners William Little (maker of the Little automobile), James H. Whiting,6 Dr. Edwin R. Campbell (son-in-law of Durant) and in 1912 R. S. McLaughlin CEO of General Motors in Canada.

Durant was cast out from the management of General Motors in 1910 for five years. He took over the Flint Wagon Works, incorporating the Mason and Little companies. As head of Buick Motor Company prior to founding GM, Durant had hired Louis Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races.7 Durant planned to use Chevrolet’s reputation as a racer as the foundation for his new automobile company. The first factory location was in Flint, Michigan at the corner of Wilcox and Kearsley Street, now known as “Chevy Commons” at coordinates 43.0086339°N 83.7099114°W, along the Flint River, across the street from Kettering University.

Actual design work for the first Chevy, the costly Series C Classic Six, was drawn up by Etienne Planche, following instructions from Louis. The first C prototype was ready months before Chevrolet was actually incorporated. However the first actual production wasn’t until the 1913 model. So in essence there were no 1911 or 1912 production models, only the 1 pre-production model was made and fine tuned throughout the early part of 1912. Then in the fall of that year the new 1913 model was introduced at the New York auto show.

The “bowtie” emblem, introduced in 1913.

1929 Chevrolet Firebrigade, Porto
Chevrolet first used the “bowtie emblem”8 logo in 1914 on the H series models (Royal Mail and Baby Grand) and The L Series Model (Light Six). It may have been designed from wallpaper Durant once saw in a French hotel room.9 More recent research by historian Ken Kaufmann presents a case that the logo is based on a logo of the “Coalettes” coal company.1011 An example of this logo as it appeared in an advertisement for Coalettes appeared in the Atlanta Constitution on November 12, 1911.12 Others claim that the design was a stylized Swiss cross, in tribute to the homeland of Chevrolet’s parents.13 Over time, Chevrolet would use several different iterations of the bowtie logo at the same time, often using blue for passenger cars, gold for trucks, and an outline (often in red) for cars that had performance packages. Chevrolet eventually unified all vehicle models with the gold bowtie in 2004, for both brand cohesion as well as to differentiate itself from Ford (with its blue oval logo) and Dodge (who has often used red for its imaging), its two primary domestic rivals.14

Louis Chevrolet had differences with Durant over design and in 1914 sold Durant his share in the company. By 1916, Chevrolet was profitable enough with successful sales of the cheaper Series 490 to allow Durant to repurchase a controlling interest in General Motors. After the deal was completed in 1917, Durant became president of General Motors, and Chevrolet was merged into GM as a separate division. In 1919, Chevrolet’s factories were located at Flint, Michigan; branch assembly locations were located in Tarrytown, N.Y., Norwood, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri, Oakland, California, Ft. Worth, Texas, and Oshawa, Ontario General Motors of Canada Limited. McLaughlin’s were given GM Corporation stock for the proprietorship of their Company article Sept. 23, 1933 Financial Post page 9.15 In the 1918 model year, Chevrolet introduced the Series D, a V8-powered model in four-passenger roadster and five-passenger tourer models. Sales were poor and it was dropped in 1919.

Beginning also in 1919, GMC commercial grade trucks were rebranded as Chevrolet, and using the same chassis of Chevrolet passenger cars and building light-duty trucks. GMC commercial grade trucks were also rebranded as Chevrolet commercial grade trucks, sharing an almost identical appearance with GMC products.
1920 Chevrolet tow truck
Chevrolet continued into the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s competing with Ford, and after the Chrysler Corporation formed Plymouth in 1928, Plymouth, Ford, and Chevrolet were known as the “Low-priced three”.16 In 1929 they introduced the famous “Stovebolt” overhead-valve inline six-cylinder engine, giving Chevrolet a marketing edge over Ford, which was still offering a lone flathead four (“A Six at the price of a Four”). In 1933 Chevrolet launched the Standard Six, which was advertised in the United States as the cheapest six-cylinder car on sale.17

Chevrolet had a great influence on the American automobile market during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1953 it produced the Corvette, a two-seater sports car with a fiberglass body. In 1957 Chevy introduced its first fuel injected engine,18 the Rochester Ramjet option on Corvette and passenger cars, priced at $484.19 In 1960 it introduced the Corvair, with a rear-mounted air-cooled engine. In 1963 one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.20

During the 1960s and early 1970s, the standard Chevrolet, particularly the deluxe Impala series, became one of America’s best selling lines of automobiles in history.

The basic Chevrolet small-block V8 design has remained in continuous production since its debut in 1955, longer than any other mass-produced engine in the world, although current versions share few if any parts interchangeable with the original. Descendants of the basic small-block OHV V8 design platform in production today have been much modified with advances such as aluminium block and heads, electronic engine management, and sequential port fuel injection. Depending on the vehicle type, Chevrolet V8s are built in displacements from 4.3 to 9.4 litres with outputs ranging from 111 horsepower (83 kW) to 994 horsepower (741 kW) as installed at the factory. The engine design has also been used over the years in GM products built and sold under the Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Hummer, Opel (Germany), and Holden (Australia) nameplates.

In 2005, General Motors re-launched the Chevrolet marque in Europe, using rebadged versions of the Daewoo cars produced by GM Korea.21

The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is the all-time top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the U.S. Volt sales in the American market passed the 100,000 milestone in July 2016.22
The Chevrolet division has largely recovered from the economic downturn of 2007–2010 through launching new vehicles and improving existing lines. GM began developing more fuel efficient cars and trucks to compete with foreign automakers. In late 2010 General Motors began production of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, sold as the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera in Europe,23 which received multiple awards including the 2012 North American Car of the Year, European Car of the Year, and World Green Car of the Year. The Volt/Ampera family was the world’s best selling plug-in electric car in 2012 with 31,400 units sold.24 The Opel/Vauxhall Ampera was Europe’s top selling plug-in electric car in 2012 with 5,268 units, representing a market share of 21.5% of the region’s plug-in electric passenger car segment.2526 Combined global Volt/Ampera sales passed the 100,000 unit milestone in October 2015.27 As of June 2016, the Volt family of vehicles ranks as the world’s all-time top selling plug-in hybrid, and it is also the third best selling plug-in electric car ever, after the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S.28 Volt sales in the American market passed the 100,000 milestone in July 2016.22

In October 2016, GM began production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the first ever affordable mass market all-electric car with a range over 200 mi (320 km).293031 The Chevrolet Bolt won several awards including the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year award, the 2017 AutoGuide.com Reader’s Choice Green Car of the Year, Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2017, Green Car Journal’s 2017 Green Car of the Year, and was listed in Time Magazine Best 25 Inventions of the Year of 2016.

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