The History of Chevrolet
May 22, 2012
There are usually two names that first come to mind when you think of American made automobiles and that is Chevrolet and Ford. After Henry Ford’s introduction of vehicles for the general public, Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant set out in order to become Ford’s biggest competitor and in the years prior we have seen a fierce competition that could resemble the likes of the Union and Confederate Army. Chevrolet was named after Louis Chevrolet as he was at the time a successful race car driver for Buick. William C. Durant had been ousted for his position of employment with General Motors and wanted to start a car company that would compete with all the rest. With Chevrolet’s success and know how and Durant’s entrepreneurial drive the two founded the Chevrolet Motor Company in 1911. In 1913 the Chevy “Bowtie” emblem was released and though it is unclear to this day it seems that there are several different stories surrounding the bowtie in folklore on how it was discovered. Some say that Durant say the symbol in his French hotel room while others claim that it is a Swiss Cross that pays tribute to Chevrolet’s parents while others are claiming that it was copied from a southern coal company that went by the name Coalettes. Either way the bowtie has become a staple for the company and is proudly displayed on all its vehicles.
In 1915 Louis Chevrolet and Durant ran into a company dispute which led Mr. Chevrolet to sell his portion of the company thus making Durant the lead name in the company. The sales had risen to a level that was making the company quite profitable. In 1918 Chevrolet produced its first truck based vehicle that was built to haul equipment rather than just individuals. By 1923 Chevrolet had built its 1,000,000th vehicle thus proving that it was a staple in the automotive industry. Chevy then went on to build its first international manufacturing plant in Denmark making the company now a player in the world automotive market. Sales had continually doubled leading to more profit as well as more focus on innovation within the company. By 1930 the company had produced 7,000,000 vehicles worldwide showing that it was now producing nearly a million vehicles annually.
Throughout the upcoming years that led up to the Second World War we saw that Chevrolet would be the answer to supplying the middle income individual with a vehicle that could perform admirably. This became the focus for the company as it would try to offer lower to mid-level priced vehicles for the common man and woman. We would see Ford and Chevrolet competing with each other as well as Plymouth. During the early forties Chevrolet and General Motors was contracted to start production on munitions for the war effort. In 1942 the entire production of Chevrolet vehicles was halted as the factories were retooled to produce military hardware.
In the years that followed the Second World War we would see a massive rise in vehicle sales and manufacturing as American families were now purchasing a second vehicle more commonly. What really helped shape Chevrolet’s lineup was the introduction of the Corvette in 1953; this was to be the first production vehicle that utilized a fiberglass body and panels thus giving the vehicle a lighter weight. The Corvette becomes a legend for sports enthusiasts and a staple to the Chevrolet lineup that is still continuing production in strong numbers to this day as it starts its 7th generation or C7 Corvette.
Through the years Chevrolet had many different vehicles that would become staples for the company and lead to more sales. For Chevrolet the truck would make up a large portion of company sales and throughout the years we have seen Chevy Silverado become common place on American roads. Though continuously battling Ford’s F-100 and F-150 line we would see both selling in large numbers. Chevrolet also would introduce vehicles such as the Impala and the Camaro that would become well known over the years.
Today we see Chevrolet selling worldwide and in 140 different countries and continually setting records. The company has sold nearly 5,000,000 vehicles in 2011 and looks to top that number for 2012. For the American market we see that Chevrolet is continually introducing vehicles that fill the niches set by the consumers. From sub-compact to full-size sedan as a full lineup of crossovers and SUV’s and trucks Chevrolet is continuing to offer a selection. The company is currently focusing on efficiency as CAFÉ standards are increasing as well as customer demand for vehicles that can offer better fuel economy. To answer the demands set forth we see the company working to introduce vehicles such as the Chevy Volt as well as Eco versions of their sedans. We will also see the Chevrolet Silverado becoming more efficient. As for the competition with Ford it is hotter than ever. So we shall see some great designs coming from Chevrolet in the future as they look to sell over 5,000,000 vehicles a year.
Categories: Production Cars