Headquartered in Detroit, the company has a history as impressive as the cars that they put on the roads. General Motors Company is founded in 1908 under the leadership of William Durant, and brings together several car companies, including Buick. Olds Motor Works (Oldsmobile), and the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, which later evolves into GMC.
Key Events and Milestones in GM’s History
1909: GM acquires Cadillac Motor and Oakland Motor Car Company, which is later renamed Pontiac.
1910: Durant is ousted, but goes on to co-founds Chevrolet Motor Company the next year.
1916: A year after becoming GM’s largest shareholder, Durant is appointed president of GM.
1918: During World War I, GM retooled 90% of the GMC truck production line for military use. More than 8,500 trucks are sold to the US Army for use in the war.
1920: Durant retires, with Alfred P. Sloan Jr. eventually coming on as president and later chief executive of GM.
1936-1937: The company survived a long strike at GM plants, which leads the company to sign its first agreement with the United Auto Workers labor union.
1954: General Motors accounted for 54% of the auto market in the United States, which is up from 12% in 1921.
1980: GM has its first unprofitable year, reporting a net loss of more than $700 million.
1984: The company buys Electronic Data Systems Corporation, started by Ross Perot, for $2.5 billion.
1998: Another strike, this time for 54 days by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union costs GM approximately $2 billion in profits.
A New Century for GM
2008: The company reports the biggest loss ever, at $38.7 billion for 2007. GM would go to receive a bailout of $13.4 billion from the US Treasury, through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
2009: Things weren’t great. In fact, GM filed for bankruptcy, received another $30 billion in government funding to assist with restructuring. However, they emerged from bankruptcy 39 days later as General Motors Company.
2011: GM announced that the company made its first profit since 2004 at $4.7 billion in 2010.
2012: They officially became the top automobile manufacturer in the world, and with 9 million vehicles sold in 2011, it also helped to make it the largest automaker in China, too.
2013: The company helped break the glass ceiling by naming the first female CEO — Mary Barra.
2014: GM experienced big recalls. Specifically, 29 separate GM recalls since January 2014 covering 13.8 million US cars and trucks, and 15.8 million vehicles worldwide.
2016: GM announced that it would build autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric cars in the Detroit area, and the next year they began testing in NYC.
2018: Things are okay, but not great, and the company shut down production at five facilities in North America and cut its staff, reducing its salaried workforce by 15%.
However, the company has numerous joint ventures, such as the Isuzu Truck South Africa, General Motors Egypt, General Motors India, GM Uzkeistan, Ghandhara Industries in Pakistan, GM-AavtoVAZ in Russia, and FAW-GM in China.
In other words, General Motors isn’t going to go anywhere – except back out onto the road.