Chevrolet History

Chevrolet logo

Chevrolet Logo

 

North America

Chevrolet was founded by Louis Chevrolet, a race-car driver, and William Durant founder of (GM),who had been forced from the management of GM in 1910. Durant took over the Flint Wagon Works, incorporating both the Mason and Little companies. Months before the Chevrolet Motor Car Co. was incorporated (on November 3). He wanted to use Chevrolet's name as a racer to rebuild his own reputation. As head of Buick Motor Company, prior to founding GM, Durant had hired Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races.

Actual design work for the first Chevy, the costly Series C Classic Six was drawn up by Etienne Planche, following the instructions of his old friend Louis. The first C prototype was ready months before Chevrolet was actually incorporated.

Chevrolet first used its "Bowtie emblem" logo in 1913. It is said to have been designed from wallpaper Durant once saw in a French hotel. More recent research by historian Ken Kaufmann presents a compelling case that the logo is based upon a logo for "Coalettes". Others claim that the design was a stylized Swiss cross, in honor of the homeland of Chevrolet's parents.

In control, Durant was in the process of setting up Chevrolet production facilities in Toronto, Canada. Later that year, during a luncheon meeting in New York with "Colonel Sam" McLaughlin, whose McLaughlin Motor Car Company manufactured McLaughlin-Buick cars, it was agreed that Chevrolets with McLaughlin-designed bodies would be added to the Canadian company's product line. Three years later, the two Canadian operations (Chevrolet was by then a part of GM in the United States) were bought by GM to become General Motors of Canada Ltd.

By 1916, Chevrolet was profitable enough to allow Durant to buy a majority of shares in GM. After the deal was completed in 1917, Durant was president of General Motors, and Chevrolet was merged into GM, becoming a separate division. In the 1918 model year, Chevrolet introduced the Model D, a V8-powered model in four-passenger roadster and five-passenger tourer models. It also started production of a overhead valve in-line six. Most cars of the era had only low compression flat head engines. These cars had 288in3 55 hp (41 kW) engines with Zenith carburetors and three-speed transmissions.

 

Chevrolet had a great influence on the American automobile market during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1957, Chevy made the first fuel injected engine. In 1963, one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.

The basic Chevrolet small-block V-8 design has remained in continuous production since its debut in 1955, longer than any other mass-produced engine in the world, although current versions share few if any parts interchangeable with the original. Descendants of the basic small-block OHV V-8 design platform in production today have been much modified with advances such as aluminium block and heads, electronic engine management and sequential port fuel injection, to name but a few. Descendants of the small-block V-8 in the form of the LT V-8s, and had influence in the design of the LS V-8s, both of which are still installed in Chevrolet vehicles. The original small-block design is simplistic compared to the overhead-cam V-8 that Ford Motor Company used and continues to use in its line of larger cars and light trucks. Depending on the vehicle type, Chevrolet V-8s are built in displacements from 4.3 to 8.1 litres with outputs ranging from 110 horsepower (82 kW) to 638 horsepower (476 kW) as installed at the factory. The engine design has also been used over the years in GM products built and sold under the Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Opel (Germany),Hummer and Holden (Australia) nameplates.

In 2010, General Motor replaced the ad agency Campbell-Ewald, which served Chevrolet for 91 years, with Publicis Worldwide. Campbell-Ewald of Interpublic Group of Companies had served Chevrolet since 1919.

Chevrolet Trucks

Chevrolet Trucks

Photo: George A. Grant

Outside The United States and Canada

Chevrolet Mexico

Mexico has a mix of Chevrolet models from different GM brands and platforms but branded as Chevrolet. The variety of models comes from Chevrolet USA, Opel Europe, and other origins. Examples of Opel Sourced vehicles are the Vectra, the Astra, the Meriva and the Captiva. Mexico also has some cars of its own, such as the Chevy C2, which is a reworked previous generation Corsa. Vehicles based on US platforms are the Avalanche, the Suburban, the Equinox, the Tahoe, the Cheyenne (which is similar to the Silverado but with minor differences), the Aveo, the HHR, the Traverse, the Malibu and the Corvette. The Chevrolet Optra, assembled in South Korea by GM Daewoo, is also sold in Mexico. The European Epica is sold as a Business only vehicle.

Chevrolet Asia

Chevrolet China

In 2009, China became Chevrolet's third largest market, as sales increased by 67 percent to 332,774 vehicles, after the United States and Brazil (1,344,629 and 595,500 vehicles respectively).

Chevrolet India

Chevrolet is among the newest brands in India launched by GM's India operations. Until June 6, 2003 (the official birthday of Chevrolet), GM India (which was originally a joint venture with Hindustan Motors) sold the Opel Corsa, Opel Astra, and the Opel Vectra. The Corsa and Astra were built at a plant in Halol, Gujarat.

Since then, Chevrolet currently sells the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Optra, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Tavera, Chevrolet Captiva, Chevrolet SRV , Chevrolet Beat and Chevrolet Aveo U-VA. The Chevrolet Forester, a rebadged Subaru, was imported directly from Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan until 2005. The Optra and Tavera are built at the Halol plant. The Chevrolet launched in India the Chevrolet Captiva SUV. The latest models launched by Chevrolet is the Chevrolet Beat & the Chevrolet Cruze.

Chevrolet also is the sole Engine supplier for the Formula Rolon single seater series in India.

Chevrolet Japan

In the mid 2000s, Suzuki imported and marketed the TrailBlazer and the Chevrolet Optra wagon in Japan. General Motors Asia Pacific (Japan) currently distributes and markets the Chevrolet TrailBlazer in very limited numbers. Suzuki, a GM partner, also assembles and markets the Chevrolet Cruze subcompact and the Chevrolet MW kei car. The MW was originally a rebadged Suzuki Wagon R. As of 2008, it is a rebadged Suzuki Solio. Mitsui currently distributes and markets the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Express, Chevrolet HHR, and Starcraft versions of the G-Van and Chevrolet Trailblazer. General Motors Japan directly imports and distributes the Corvette, which is marketed under its own marque. Thus there are three distinct distribution channels for Chevrolet-branded vehicles, and a separate network for Corvette-branded cars.

Chevrolet Middle East

In the Middle East, Chevrolet-badged cars, trucks, SUV's, and crossovers are sourced from GM Daewoo (in South Korea), GM in North America, and GM Holden (in Australia). The Middle East market has a separate division called Chevrolet Special Vehicles (CSV), which (as of December 2007) sources the high-performance 400 bhp (300 kW) CR8 sedan from Holden Special Vehicles. The Holden Commodore is badged as the Chevrolet Lumina in the Middle East, as well as South Africa. The longer wheelbase Holden Statesman is sold as the Chevrolet Caprice in the Middle East.

Chevrolet Pakistan

In Pakistan, Chevrolet introduced its cars in collaboration with a local automobile manufacturer called Nexus Automotive. The current lineup available from Chevrolet Pakistan includes Chevrolet Optra, Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Joy, Chevrolet Aveo, and Chevrolet Colorado. The company plans to add Chevrolet Captiva, and Chevrolet Epica to its lineup in the future.

Chevrolet South Korea

Chevrolet-branded vehicles are not sold in South Korea. However, many global-market Chevrolet vehicles are sourced from GM Daewoo of South Korea.

Chevrolet Thailand

The American-built Chevrolet Colorado pickup is also manufactured in Rayong, Thailand. The Holden Commodore is badged as the Chevrolet Lumina in Thailand.

General Motors is currently exploring cost cutting options as part of its restructuring plan. One of these options involve expanding the Rayong, Thailand plant to add additional capacity to export Colorados to the U.S. This would allow the Shreveport, Louisiana plant to be closed (where the Colorado is also produced). This scenario is plausible only if a free-trade agreement is signed between the U.S. and Thailand, as the American tariff on imported pickup trucks from non-FTA countries is currently 25%. The United Auto Workers is the most vocal opponent to a change in the tariff structure.

Chevrolet Australia

Even though the Australian market of today mainly consists of Australia's own automotive companies alongside Asian and European automobile brands, Australia once had its fair share of American cars as well.

Bodies for the local assembly of Chevrolets were built in Australia as early as 1918  and by 1926 the newly created General Motors (Australia) Pty Ltd had established assembly plants in five Australian states to produce Chevrolet and other GM vehicles using bodies supplied by Holden Motor Body Builders. The merger of General Motors (Australia) Pty Ltd with the troubled Holden Motor Body Builders in 1931 saw the creation of General Motors – Holden’s  and the ongoing production of various GM products including Chevrolet. GMH departed from traditional US body styles with the release of the Chevrolet Coupe Utility in 1934  and the Chevrolet “Sloper” Coupe in 1935. Post-war production recommenced in 1946. From 1949 Australian Chevrolets were to be locally assembled from components imported from Chevrolet in Canada although local production of the Coupe Utility body continued until 1952. 1968 was the last full year of Chevrolet assembly in Australia.

Vintage Chevrolet models such as Bel Air, Impala, Shero etc., are still found in many states around Australia. From 1998 to 2001 the Chevrolet Suburban was sold in Australia as the Holden Suburban. Today several of Chevrolet's designs are based on their Australian counterparts (GM Holden).

Chevrolet South Africa

In South Africa, Chevrolet was GM's main brand name until 1982, with a number of Vauxhall Motors and Holden derivatives being built under the Chevy name from 1964. In the 1970s, the advertising jingle "braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and Chevrolet" (adapted from the US "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pies and Chevrolet") came to epitomise the ideal lifestyle of white male South Africans. Holden in Australia used the jingle "Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden cars". Originally, Chevrolets were CKD kits of US models assembled in their plant in Port Elizabeth. However, since South Africa was right-hand drive and the US was left-hand drive, along with encouragement by the South African government to use local content, Chevrolets such as the Biscayne were eventually made entirely in South Africa, along with GM's "own car for South Africa": the Ranger.

By the 1970s, larger South African Chevrolets were based on Holden models, the Kommando being based on the Kingswood and the Constantia on the Premier, while the smaller Firenza was based on the Vauxhall Viva. The Chevrolet Nomad sold in South Africa was entirely different from the Nomad sold in America; whereas the American Nomad was originally conceived as a station wagon version of the Corvette and eventually became the station wagon version of the Bel Air, the South African Nomad was an SUV of truck proportions before SUVs were popular.

However, these were replaced by Opel models like the Rekord, Commodore, and Senator, and in 1982 the Chevrolet brand name was dropped in favour of Opel. Because of the political climate at the time, GM decided to divest from South Africa in 1986, and a local group eventually bought out GM's South African operations (including the Port Elizabeth plant) and renamed the company as the Delta Motor Corporation, which concentrated on Opels, Isuzus, and Suzukis, built under licence.

However, thanks to an improved political climate in the 1990s, GM decided to reenter South Africa, eventually buying out the whole of Delta. In 2001, the Chevrolet name made a comeback, used on the Lumina, a rebadged Holden Commodore, and later on, on the Daewoo range of cars. Current Chevrolets include the Spark (a rebadged Daewoo Matiz), Aveo, Optra, the Lumina (including the Ute model), and the Vivant, an MPV that is a rebadged version of the Daewoo Tacuma.

Chevrolet Europe

Chevrolet Europe is a Swiss-based firm (in Z?rich) that mainly sells cars produced by GM Daewoo.

Until 2005, Chevrolet Europe sold a few models, mostly United States domestic market (USDM) models modified to suit European regulations. Among them were the Chevrolet Alero (which was a rebadged Oldsmobile Alero) and the Chevrolet Trans Sport (which was a Chevrolet Venture with the front end of the Pontiac Trans Sport). Among other models sold by Chevrolet Europe were the Camaro, the Corsica/Beretta, the Corvette, the Blazer, and the TrailBlazer. The current generation of North American–built Chevrolet Impala V-8 sedans has also been available in Europe in recent years, marketed as both large family sedans and more economically-priced alternatives to Jaguars and BMWs as high performance executive cars.

It was in 2005 that all the mainstream models from GM Daewoo were rebranded as Chevrolet in Europe (The ownership of the SUV models in the former Daewoo range had reverted to ownership of SsangYong Motor Company by this time). However the Daewoo name was retained in South Korea and Vietnam. In the rest of the world, most Daewoo models have worn the Chevrolet badge since 2003. Exceptions include the use of the Suzuki badge in the United States and Canada, the Pontiac badge in Canada, the Holden badge in Australia and New Zealand, and the Buick badge in China for certain GM Daewoo models.

The Corvette and Cadillac are marketed in Europe through a separate distribution channel operated by Netherlands-based Kroymans Corporation Group. Kroymans Corp is seeking court protection from creditors. Kroymans Corporation also sells Ford, Opel, Nissan, Saab, Volvo and other brands in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Kroymans is going to concentrate only on the importing, distribution, marketing and car retail sales in the Netherlands.

Because the Chevrolet brand now represents value-driven cars in Europe, the Corvette name was made into a separate marque in the Europe and Japan.

Chevrolet Russia

In Russia, various Chevrolet models are available. Current Chevrolets include the Spark, Aveo, Lacetti, Rezzo, Epica, Captiva, TrailBlazer, and Tahoe. All of these models (with the exception of the TrailBlazer and Tahoe) are rebadged Daewoo models. Also joint venture between GM and Russian AvtoVAZ from 2002 makes Chevrolet Niva - SUV especially for Russian market. In 2009 this model received restyling by Bertone.

Chevrolet South America

Historically, many Latin American-market vehicles from GM were modified derivatives of older models from GM's North American and European operations. The current S10 and Blazer exemplify this strategy. However, more modern vehicles are now being marketed as market conditions change and competition increases. Besides those older models made in Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and Mercosur countries, Korean sourced cars from former Daewoo factories some markets also get German Opel and US made Chevrolet on top of their local line-ups.

 

Chevrolet Brazil

Chevrolet History

In Brazil, the Chevrolet Opala was based on the German Opel Rekord from the late 1960s, continuing in production until the early 1990s, when it was replaced by a version of the Opel Omega. Other smaller Chevrolets in Brazil, such as the Kadett and Monza, were based on the Opel Kadett and Ascona respectively. Chevrolet's product line-up in Brazil now comprises some exclusive designs like the Corsa "B" based Celta sold in Argentina under the Suzuki brand, the Astra, and a brand new, Brazilian designed Vectra based on the current Opel Astra. The passenger car range also includes the Classic, the Prisma, the Corsa hatchback and sedan, and the Omega sedan which is actually a captive import of the Australian Holden Commodore. The latest home-grown product is the Chevrolet Agile hatchback, released in late 2009.

Utility and four wheel drive vehicles line-up includes the S10, the Blazer, and the Montana. The Montana is a compact pickup truck, based on the Corsa, that is also sold in other Latin American markets. From the 1960s to the mid-1980s, there was also a large station wagon, derived from the C10 truck (somewhat similar to the Suburban), called the Veraneio.

Chevrolet Chile

Chevrolet production in Chile began in 1962, although at first through local partners (in this case, Avayu with the Nova II). GM still assembles the Isuzu D-Max as LUV D-Max in Arica and Isuzu? F and N series in Huechuraba, Santiago.

Chevrolet has been operating in Ecuador for 80 years. GM Ecuador sells US Chevrolets alongside GM Daewoo and Opel sourced models. It also sells the 1983 Suzuki Supercarry under the Chevrolet namel, and the Isuzu Rodeo was sold as the Chevrolet Rodeo throughout the 1990s.

In Venezuela, Chevrolet has been operating since 1948, when truck production began in Caracas. In 1979 production moved to a plant in Valencia that was purchased from Chrysler. Chevrolet assembled more than 1,500,000 vehicles in its first 50 years in Venezuela.

Chevrolet Trinidad and Tobago

Since the early 1920s, Chevrolet cars and trucks were marketed in this country. The Master Deluxe Sedan of the late 1930s was considered to be a pinnacle of luxury. All cars sold through the local dealer, Neal and Massey (also franchisee for Vauxhall and Buick), were right-hand-drive, and imported from Canada and Australia. Throughout the 1940s and 50's, GM maintained a market presence with the Bel Air, Impala and Fleetline. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Australian Holden DeVilles badged as Chevrolet Caprices were sold, though a few "Islander" limited edition American Chevrolet Caprices were imported. Neal and Massey gave up the GM franchise in 1974 and the brand left the market. During the period 1998–2001, Southern Sales Ltd. imported the Chevy Monza and Joy. Based on the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa platform and assembled in Mexico, these were the cheapest new cars available. Poor build quality, unprofessional dealer service, and a limited spare parts supply saw these cars exit the market with only a few units being sold. In 2003, the local Renault dealer, marketed the Aveo sedan and hatchback, as well as the Optra sedan (a rebadged Suzuki Forenza) with limited success. A more intensive marketing campaign by the latest Chevrolet dealer, Lifestyle Motors, has met with more success. The models available as of 2009 are the Chevrolet Colorado (a rebadged Isuzu D-Max pickup assembled in Thailand), Spark (a reinvention of the defunct Daewoo Matiz), Aveo, Optra,Captiva and a rebadged version of the Holden Commodore.

Chevrolet Argentina

In 1924 General Motors starts importing Chevrolet Double Phaeton models and are welcomed with great demand.

In 1925, in order to reduce costs in the Argentine market, General Motors decides to manufacture in Argentina and starts producing a sedan, roadster, a truck chassis and the Chevrolet Double Phaeton now called "Especial Argentino", a model exclusively designed for the Argentinean market. Sales increased and soon the Oldsmobile, Oakland and Pontiac units were incorporated to the assembly line.

When the Second World War broke out the operations were complicated. In 1941 the Chevrolet 250.000 is made, but the shortage of products made car production impossible. The last Chevrolet goes out of the plant in august, 1942. In order to avoid the total stoppage, the company made electrical and portable refrigerators and car accessories amongst other items. After the war, GM started producing the Oldsmobile and Pontiac lines and later Chevrolet is added.

In 1959, manufacturing plants are enlarged and set up to produce cars, pick ups and trucks. On 25 January 1960 the first Argentinean pick up Chevrolet is introduced. The following year the national government approves the investment plan for 45 million dollars which included a plant of 12,000 m2. On 12th march 1962 the first Chevrolet 400 is made based on the North American Chevy II. The original plan considered a national integration of 50% during the first year of production, this amount must get to be 90% in 1964 with a production of 15,000 units. By 1969, the Chevy line, derived from the American Chevy Nova is presented.

In the middle of the seventies, General Motors market share is reduced sharply from 9% in 1976 to 2% in 1978. Losses exceeded the 30 millions dollars and the head company in the USA decides to halt the productive activities in Argentina.

The Chevrolet trade mark reappears in 1985 for the production of the pick up in its versions C-20 and D-20. In 1995 a plan for the manufacturing destined to the exportation specially to Brazil and other countries of Mercosur is materialized with the building of a new facility near Rosario, Santa Fe for the production of the Opel based Chevrolet Corsa and the Suzuki based Chevrolet Grand Vitara 4x4.

Chevrolet Colombia

In Colombia Colombian Automotive Factory SA (Colmotores), founded in 1956 and initially produced vehicles in Austin and the 60s, Simca automobiles and Dodge (manufactured its first car was a Coronet 440), began producing Chevrolet cars in 1980. Currently Colmotores has more than 75% of the domestic market, with models from GM Daewoo, Suzuki and Opel. Particularly worthy of mention is the Aveo, Optra and the Spark.

Future Cars and development

The Chevrolet brand is currently undergoing a product restructuring in North America along with all other GM brands in order to fit into the parent company's turnaround efforts and to rebuild GM. General Motors has recently been in development to make more fuel efficient Chevrolet branded vehicles in order to compete with companies like Toyota and Honda. The Monte Carlo, discontinued in 2007, is said to be replaced by the Camaro, also a coupe. At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, the production version of the Chevrolet Spark was displayed under the nameplate of Spark. General Motors announced that the Spark, along with the Chevrolet Orlando, would go into production in the US. The Orlando will be a successor to the HHR . Along with the Spark and Orlando, General Motors will introduce two more models: the plug-in hybrid 2011 Chevrolet Volt; and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, successor to the Cobalt. Chevrolet is starting a second generation Aveo which will make make release summer of 2010.

New vehicles for 2011 and 2012 models years are:

  • Chevrolet Spark
  • Orlando
  • Cruze
  • Volt
  • Caprice

 US and Canada models

Cars Aveo Cruze Malibu Impala Corvette Camaro
Trucks Colorado Silverado Avalanche


Crossovers HHR Traverse Equinox


SUVs Tahoe Suburban



Vans Express




Chevrolet Latin America models

Cars Spark Celta/Prisma
Corsa B/Chevy C2
Corsa C
Aveo Optra Astra B
Astra C/Vectra
Vectra C
Trucks Montana/Tornado S-10 D-Max Silverado Avalanche
Crossovers HHR Captiva Captiva Sport Traverse

MPVs Meriva Tacuma/Rezzo Zafira


Chevrolet Europe models

Cars Matiz/Spark Lacetti Nubira/Lacetti Aveo Epica
Cruze
SUVs Captiva HHR



MPVs





Chevrolet Middle East models

Cars Spark Aveo Optra Epica Lumina Caprice Corvette
Trucks Colorado Avalanche Silverado



Crossovers Traverse Captiva




SUVs Trailblazer Tahoe Suburban



Vans Uplander Express




 Future

 United States and Canada

Cars Volt Cruze Spark
Crossovers Orlando (Classified under two categories)
SUVs Orlando (Classified under two categories)

 

Chevrolet Slogan

  • See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet (1950s-1960s)
  • Putting you first keeps us first (1960's)
  • It's Exciting! (Mid-1960s)
  • Building a better way to see the USA (early 1970s)
  • Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie & Chevrolet (mid 1970's)
  • The Heartbeat of America (1987–1994)
  • Rock, Flag and Eagle (1985–1987)
  • Genuine Chevrolet (1994-2001 United States; 1994-1996 Canada)
  • Tried, Tested, and True (1996–2004 Canada)
  • We'll Be There (2001–2004 United States)
  • Like a Rock (1991–2004; Chevrolet Trucks) Featuring the Bob Seger song of the same name
  • An American Revolution (2003–2009)
  • For All Life's Roads (2004–2006; Canada)
  • Our Country, My Truck (2006–2007; Chevrolet Trucks)
  • America's Best Trucks (2007–present; Chevrolet Trucks)
  • Let's Go (2007–2009; Canada)
  • May the Best Car Win (2009–present; United States & Canada)

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