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100 years ago today: General Motors buys Chevrolet

First Smallcomb Motor Company dealership in Livermore, California was established in 1919. Glen O. Smallcomb (extreme right) poses with employees and a 1919 Chevrolet Touring (Image Courtesy of General Motors Archive)
First Smallcomb Motor Company dealership in Livermore, California was established in 1919. Glen O. Smallcomb (extreme right) poses with employees and a 1919 Chevrolet Touring (Image Courtesy of General Motors Archive)

On May 2, 1918, the automotive world would change in a huge way.

It was on this day that General Motors, which eventually became the world's largest automaker, acquired Chevrolet Motor Company.

William C. "Billy" Durant, the founder of General Motors, also founded Chevrolet in Detroit in 1911, which he named after his partner and race car driver, Louis Chevrolet.

Durant, still holder of GM stock, began to purchase more shares in the company as his profits from Chevrolet allowed. In a final move to regain control, Durant offered GM shareholders five shares of Chevrolet stock for every one share of GM stock.

Antique Chevrolet Tow Truck (1920)
Antique Chevrolet Tow Truck (1920)

The five-for-one trade proved to be an irresistible deal and on May 2, 1918, Chevrolet joined Oldsmobile, Cadillac and Oakland in General Motors' fold. 

By 1919, Chevrolet's main factory was located in Flint, Michigan, with several other assembly locations in New York, Ohio, Texas and California. GMC commercial grade trucks were also rebranded to Chevrolet.

In 2017, the Chevrolet Cruze, Silverado and Equinox were among the best selling cars and trucks in the world. 


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