The Chevrolet Motor Car Company was founded Nov. 3, 1911 by William C. Durant, who had founded General motors and was ousted from the company by its shareholders. Durant partnered with William C. Little, maker of the Little automobile, Edwin R. Campbell and then-famous automotive engineer and race car driver, Louis Chevrolet. Durant hoped to capitalize on Chevrolet's name to rival Henry Ford in the neophyte automobile industry. The company was headquartered in Detroit, Mich. Louis Chevrolet left the company in 1915 over design disagreements.
Competing by listening to buyers
Henry Ford, who was famously quoted as saying his customers could have a car in any color it wanted, as long as that color was black, was Durant's main competition. From the start, Chevrolet set out to compete with the industry leader by giving the public what it wanted at an affordable price. The rivalry between Chevrolet and Ford still exists today, right down to the man on the street. Ask any car lover if he or she is a Chevy or a Ford person, and nine times out of 10 a side will be taken in no uncertain terms.
The famous Chevrolet "bowtie" emblem was introduced in 1913. One story has it that Durant saw the design on the wallpaper of a French hotel. Others say it was based on the "Coalettes" logo, which was a commonly-used heating fuel in its day. Others still say it is an homage to the Swiss cross, in tribute to Chevrolet's Swiss heritage. But whatever the case, the logo stuck and is still synonymous with one of the most popular automobile companies in the world.
By 1917 the Chevrolet company was so successful that Durant was able to purchase controlling interest of the company he founded, General Motors. Since that time, Chevrolet has existed as a separate division of GM.
In 1925 Chevrolet outsold Ford for the first time. And in 1929 it introduced the "Cast Iron Wonder" engine -- so-called because of its cast iron pistons -- which allowed the company to drop its prices even lower. It became the first year the company sold more than 1 million cars.
By 1928, Chevrolet, along with Ford and Chrysler's Plymouth, had become known as one of the "low-priced three," making reliable automobiles available to the common working man.
In 1950 the company introduced the Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission. It became the first low-priced, competitive car to offer its buyers the choice of automatic shifting.
In 1955 Chevrolet began using a small-block V-8 engine design that has remained in continuous production ever since. Although materials and elements have been updated, the basic design of this successful motor remains unchanged.
A history of affordable reliability
The popularity of the Chevrolet continued to rise through the decades. By 1963, one of every ten cars sold in the U.S. was a Chevrolet. Chevrolet still remains an industry leader, always eager to serve its customers with change, innovation, reliability and competitive prices.