The history of Chevrolet (or Chevy) began in 1911. William Durant was removed from GM (General Motors) the year before. He hired Louis Chevrolet to design cars for his new company. The first Chevy they made was sold for $875. Over the years, the car and brand would become one of the most recognized in the country.
The Rise of the Chevy
The early Chevrolet models proved very popular and sold well. By 1917, Durant and GM entered into an agreement wherein Chevrolet would become part of GM. Under GM, the sales and popularity of the Chevrolet grew rapidly. By the 1920s it was only behind Ford and Dodge in terms of sales and recognition.
In 1925 the company introduced the Superior. The Superior went on sale for only $650 and for the first time in the history of Chevrolet, it surpassed Ford in terms of sale. The Cast Iron Wonder in 1929 topped the 1 million sales mark in its first year.
The 1930s to 1950s
The 1930s saw the company introduce new features to their cars. Among the most important ones were the hydraulic brakes, column shifts and V grilles. In 1939 they came up with their first station wagon. 1940 saw the company release a convertible at reduced prices.
From the 1950s to 60s, the Chevy would incorporate more elements to their models. 1950 saw the company produce the Powerglide transmission. It offered auto shifting at lower prices, which helped boost sales.
The history of Chevrolet in 1953 is noted for the release of the Chevrolet Corvette. The sports car was the first to use a plastic body and would prove to be a big hit with buyers.
A year later small V8 engines were being incorporated on Chevy trucks. 1957 saw the Chevrolet become the first car to use fuel injected engines. The El Camino appeared in 1958. By this time, approximately 10% of all cars sold in America were Chevrolet models.
The 1960s and 1970s
The 1960s saw the Chevrolet churn out smaller models, notably the Chevy II. The following year in 1963, the Malibu was released. 1966 saw the company issue out the F body Camaro, whose name would become one of the most recognized in the history of Chevrolet. The 1970s saw the company produce smaller versions of their popular cars including Pontiac, Buick, the Chevy and the Cadillac.
The 1980s to the 2000s
1982 was the year when the Chevy division in GM was combined with the Truck and Bus Manufacturing Division. A couple of years later a new version of the Chevrolet Corvette came out. 1988 saw the release of vehicles like the Spectrum, Tracker and Geo Metro.
The 1990s saw an agreement between Toyota and GM whereby GM would make Chevy Cavaliers and Toyota would market them in Japan. The early 2000s saw GM and Chevrolet produce several fuel efficient vehicles.
The future history of Chevrolet depends on how the current restructuring of GM will turn out. But whatever happens to General Motors, the contributions of the Chevy to the car industry and American culture will never be forgotten.