111 years later: The founding of General Motors


DETROIT – On Sept. 16, 1908, General Motors was founded.

William Crapo Durant was a pioneer who helped shape Detroit's automotive industry.

Durant was a successful businessman and was already a millionaire from his holdings in the Durant-Dort Carriage Company when he assumed control of the Buick Motor Company in 1904

Despite not utilizing assembly-line manufacturing, Durant was able to fill more than 1,100 orders at the 1905 New York Automobile Show. Within four years, Buick was the top-selling car in the country, outselling Ford Motor Company, Oldsmobile and Cadillac.

While the Ford Motor Company utilized uniformity among its vehicles to make manufacturing as easy as possible, Durant envisioned a larger company that would manufacture different makes and models of vehicles to market to a diverse group of incomes and interests.

On Sept. 16, 1908, Durant founded the General Motors Holding Company.

Durant purchased Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and multiple manufacturing companies, paint companies, wheel companies and more, and united them all under the General Motors brand.

In 1909, a bank denied Durant a loan of $2 million toward an $8 million purchase of Ford Motor Company.

After a few bad investments, Durant was forced out of the company in 1910. He would later co-found the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911 with Louis Chevrolet. 

Durant and Chevrolet met years prior at Buick.

On June 1, 2009, not even a year after its centennial and during the middle of the automotive industry crisis of 2008-10, the General Motors Corporation went bankrupt. The remains of the company would be reorganized as the General Motors Company after the new company purchased most of the assets and holdings of the old company, including the brand name

RELATED: 10 years later: A look back on the automotive bankruptcy

Since its creation in 1908, GM's idea of a large umbrella company overseeing multiple brands has become the standard for automakers to this day.