GM Starts Here
September 16, 1908: The General Motors Corporation (GM) is founded. The company was founded by William C. Durant as a holding company. Initially, GM held only Buick Motor company, but it quickly added more than twenty more companies including Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Oakland (known today as Pontiac). The company was founded in Flint, Michigan when Durant signed a 15 year contract in Canada with exchange of 500,000 shares of Buick stock for 500,000 shares of McLaughlin stock. Durant’s business had been located in Flint where he opened in 1886, building carriages. By 1900 he was producing 100,000 carriages per year with plants in Michigan and Canada. He was also producing springs, axles, and other components being provided to the early automotive industry. Before 1900, there less than 8,000 cars in America.
The first company brought into the GM family was Oldsmobile which happened before the end of the year. In 1909, seven more brands were added including some truck manufacturers. Rapid Motor Vehicle, the predecessor to GMC Trucks produced the first truck able to conquer Pikes Peak and did so in 1909. More companies were added in 1910 and the company attempted to buy Ford but the deal fell through. Durant lost control of the company to a bankers trust and left the firm to begin again. He joined with Louis Chevrolet and co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Company. With more stock trading, Durant moved back to head GM in 1916 and eventually Chevrolet joined the parent company, too.
In the next few years, GM went global with the acquisition of international brands. They also acquired Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System, the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company and its subsidiaries, as well as the Yellow Coach bus company. In the mid-1920s the headquarters moved from Flint to Detroit, Michigan. By the time the new building was dedicated as the General Motors Building in 1929, Alfred P. Sloan was president of the company. The building eventually became the Cadillac Place. In 1996, the Renaissance Center became headquarters. Buick Division headquarters remained in Flint until 1998 when it, too, moved to the Renaissance Center.
Today, GM produces vehicles in 37 countries under ten brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall, Wuling, Baojum, Jie Fang, and UzDaewoo. In 2009, they changed their name to General Motors Company. Tim Solso is chairman of the board while Mary Barra is CEO. Dan Ammann is president. They have four divisions with 23 subsidiaries in both transportation and financial services. They operate 397 facilities on six continents. They had a production output of 9,714,652 in 2013. Their revenue last year was $155.42 billion with an operating income of $4.919 billion and a net income of $5.346 billion. They have 219,000 people working for them.
The cars we drive say a lot about us. – Alexandra Paul
I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car’s headlights and tell you exactly which way it’s coming. – Mitch Hedberg
If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 MPG. – Bill Gates
A car for every purse and purpose. – Alfred P. Sloan
Also on this day: It’s Not Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings – In 1966, The Metropolitan Opera House opens.
Hero – In 1976, Shavarsh Karapetyan saves twenty from a submerged bus.
Sublime Tenor – In 1930, Enrico Caruso last entered a recording studio.
Nancy – In 1961, a typhoon hit Osaka, Japan.