1908- William C. Durant starts General Motors

September 16, 2022

When General Motors opened shop in September 1908, William C. Durant could not have known that GM would eventually hold a 77-year win streak for the world's top-selling auto manufacturer. GM lost the top spot in 2008 to a Japanese automaker. Indeed, the Great Recession took its toll on manufacturing, with GM needing a federal bailout to keep from going bankrupt. Nearly two decades after taking help from the federal government, it has taken a leadership role in producing electric vehicles.


Durant was no stranger to running a top-producing manufacturing company. He owned the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, which manufactured horse-drawn vehicles. By 1900 Durant's Carriage Company in Flint, Michigan, was the largest in the United States. At first, Durant was against automobiles because they would put horse-drawn vehicles out of business. Ever the savvy businessman, Durant bought Buick Motor Company in 1904.

GM started as a holding company, which isn't technically a manufacturing company but a company that runs several different manufacturing companies. Because Durant already owned Buick, it would become the first member of GM, the holding company. Durant and his business partner would go on to buy several more automobile manufacturing companies, including Oldsmobile, Cadillac and other companies that are no longer brands. These brands included trucks, two of which merged to form GMC after Durant formed the holding company. He went on to create his own automobile company, Chevrolet, a competitor of Ford's.

1 Comment

  1. Charles

    GM has absolutely not taken a leadership roll in electric cars. Tesla is so far ahead of GM one wonders if GM will ever catch up.

    Even Ford and Toyota are ahead of GM in developing electric vehicles.


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