Chevrolet, also known as Chevy, is an automobile brand produced by American automaker General Motors (GM). Louis Chevrolet and General Motors founder William C. Durant founded the company on November 3, 1911 as the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. Durant also acquired a controlling stake in General Motors with a reverse merger occurring on May 2, 1918 became the GM president. He was forced out for a second time in 1919. The Chevrolet brand become the volume leader in the General Motors family and in 1919 overtook the Model T as the best-selling car in the United States by 1929.
Chevrolet-branded vehicles are sold in most worldwide markets. In 2005, Chevrolet was re-launched in Europe, primarily selling vehicles built by GM Daewoo of South Korea and intended for it to be the mainstream brand. However, in late 2013, GM announced they would withdraw that brand from Europe, excluding the Camaro, and Corvette, in 2016. After GM Daewoo was acquired in 2011 to create GM Korea, the Daewoo automotive brand was discontinued in South Korea and was succeeded by Chevrolet.
Durant was removed from management of General Motors in 1910. He assumed control of the Flint Wagon Works and as head of Buick Motor Company, Durant had hired Louis Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races.
Design for the first Chevy, was drawn up by Etienne Planche. The first C prototype was ready months before Chevrolet was actually incorporated. However, the first production model wasn’t until 1913 unveiled at the New York Auto Show.
The classic “bowtie emblem” logo was first used in 1914 on the H series models and The L Series Model. Its heritage has several claims. One theory is Durant designed it from wallpaper he saw at a French hotel. Another states it may be based on the logo of a coal company. Another theory it was based on a Swiss cross as a tribute to Chevrolet’s parents.
In 1915, Chevrolet sold Durant his share in the company and by 1916, Chevrolet was profitable enough to allow Durant to repurchase a controlling interest in General Motors. In 1917, Durant once again became president of General Motors, and Chevrolet was merged into GM as a separate division. In 1919, Chevrolet factories were located at New York City; Tarrytown, N.Y.; Flint, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Oakland, California; Fort Worth, Texas, and Oshawa, Ontario General Motors of Canada Limited.
In 1953 Chevrolet produced the Corvette, a two-seat sports car with a fiberglass body. In 1957 Chevy introduced its first fuel-injected engine used on the Rochester Ramjet option on Corvette and passenger cars. In 1960 the Corvair was produced and by 1963 one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.
Chevrolet has recovered from their economic troubles of 2007–2010 by introducing new vehicles and improvements to existing models. In late 2010 General Motors began production of a plug-in electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt which later was announced as the 2012 North American Car of the Year, European Car of the Year, and World Green Car of the Year.
Image Caption: First Chevrolet Logo. Credit: Unknown/Wikipedia (public domain)