General Motors Company, Inc. , commonly known as GM (General Motors Corporation before 2009), is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, and among the world's largest automakers by vehicle unit sales, employing 202,000 people and doing business in some 157 countries. General Motors is divided into five business segments: GM North America (GMNA), GM Europe (GME), GM International Operations (GMIO), GM South America (GMSA), and GM Financial.
General Motors produces cars and trucks in 37 countries, and sells and services the vehicles through the following brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun, Holden, Isuzu, Jie Fang, Opel, Vauxhall, and Wuling.
Cadillac Automobile Company is organized in Detroit by Henry M. Leland, a precision manufacturer of automotive components.
Buick Motor Company, founded by David Dunbar Buick, is incorporated on May 19,1903. Ground is broken for the first Buick engine plant on September 11, 1903, with funding from Flint Wagon Works, and operations are moved from Detroit to Flint.
William Crapo ("Billy") Durant of Durant-Dort Carriage Company, Flint, Michigan, takes control of Buick Motor Company on November 1, 1904.
Cadillac produces the Osceola, a single cylinder favorite of Henry Leland and the first step-in closed-car design. The body was built under the supervision of Fred J. Fisher (who later founded Fisher Body with his brothers) in the Wilson Body Company plant in Detroit.
Buick builds its first production four-cylinder car, a 1907 Model D.
Henry M. Leland establishes the Cadillac School of Applied Mechanics, the first school to train machinists, technicians and toolmakers.
The Oakland Motor Car Co., predecessor to Pontiac Motor, is founded by Edward M. Murphy on August 28, 1907 in Pontiac, Michigan.
General Motors Company is organized in 1908 (Sept 16), incorporating the Buick Motor Company.
Oldsmobile becomes the second company to join General Motors when Olds Motor Works is sold to GM on Nov. 12, 1908
Fisher Body Company is incorporated on July 22, 1908, by Albert, Fred and Charles Fisher and located in Detroit.
Cadillac wins the Dewar trophy of the Royal Automobile Club in London for demonstrating interchangeability of parts, a basic element in mass production.
General Motors purchases a half interest in Oakland Motor Car Co. on January 20, 1909. When its founder, Edward Murphy, passes away the following summer, his company comes under the full control of General Motors. In 1932, the Oakland name is dropped from the vehicle line and Pontiac becomes the name of the division.
General Motors purchases Cadillac for $5.5 million on July 29, 1909. Henry M. Leland and his son, Wilfred, are invited to continue operating Cadillac. They do so until 1917, when they leave to form Lincoln Motor Co.
AC Spark Plug joins GM. Known as Champion Ignition Company in 1909, the name is changed to AC Spark Plug Company in 1922 and made a division in 1933.
General Motors acquires the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan, the predecessor of GMC Truck, and Reliance Motor Truck Co. of Owosso, Michigan. A Rapid becomes the first truck to conquer Pikes Peak in 1909.
Bankers turn down William DurantТs request for a loan to buy Ford Motor Co. for about $9.5 million.
Cadillac is the first American manufacturer to offer closed bodies as standard equipment, revolutionizing motoring convenience by providing cleanliness and all-weather comfort. In exchange for the loans required to avoid financial collapse, bankers step in and William Durant is removed from management of General Motors.
GM President James J. Storrow creates a centralized testing and research laboratory and technical department to serve all constituent companies on February 7, 1911. At first known as the Engineering Department, in November it becomes the General Motors Research Department.
Charles F. KetteringТs milestone invention, the electric self starter, is first installed in a Cadillac on February 27, 1911. Kettering had organized his company, the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, in 1909 for the purpose of working on developments in the automotive field.
General Motors Truck Company (later known as GMC) is organized on July 22, 1911, to handle sales of GMТs Rapid and Reliance products.
Chevrolet Motor Company of Michigan is incorporated in November of 1911 by Louis Chevrolet, William Little and Edwin Cambell, William DurantТs son-in-law. Headquarters are in Detroit.
General Motors Export Company is established to handle the sale of all General Motors products outside the U.S. and Canada.
Cadillac adopts the electric self-starter as standard equipment. CadillacТs self-starter wins the Dewar Trophy as the most important automotive contribution of the year.
All GM truck operations are consolidated in Pontiac, Michigan.
Cadillac is first manufacturer in the U.S. to produce a V-type, water-cooled, eight-cylinder engine. The 314-cubic-inch engine produces 70 horsepower at 2,400 RPM and is the first major step in development of high-speed, high-compression automotive engines.
Cadillac becomes the first in the auto industry to use thermostatic control of a cooling system.
CadillacТs V-8 engine is installed in all its models and the V-8 emblem is added to Cadillac designs.
On September 13, 1915, Durant incorporates Chevrolet Motor Co. of Delaware. The new corporation includes the original Chevrolet Motor Company and becomes a holding company for auto companies Durant had put together after losing control of GM.
At the November 16, 1915 stockholders meeting of General Motors Company, Pierre S. Du Pont is elected chairman. William Durant, having held on to all his stock and acquiring more in the interim since his departure from GM (and receiving a $50 dividend on each share), is back in a position of power.
Tilt-beam headlights operated by a handle on the dash are introduced on Cadillac for improved nighttime visibility.
In May 1916, Durant creates United Motors Corp., a combination of five parts and accessories manufacturers that include Hyatt Roller Bearing, led by Alfred P. Sloan, and Dayton Engineering Laboratories, led by Charles F. Kettering. Sloan is named president of United Motors.
Durant announces that Chevrolet owns 54.5 percent of GMТs outstanding shares and takes over the GM presidency from Charles W. Nash , who had been GM president from 1912 to 1916.
General Motors Corporation is incorporated under Delaware law (Oct. 13) and acquires all stock of General Motors Company.