Founded by Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss-born race car driver, and William Durant, the founder of General Motors, Chevrolet Motor Car Co. was incorporated in November 1911 and acquired by GM in 1917.
Also known as Chevy, Chevrolet is GM’s highest-selling vehicle brand. Many iconic and unique cars, some short-lived, others offered in Europe, Asia or in South America but not in North America, have been part of the Chevrolet brand.
Consider, for example, the new Agile (General Motors, Brazil) or the Yeoman station wagon (manufactured in 1958 only).
Chevrolet was considered an entry level division, but it changed in the 1950s with the addition of power brakes, power windows and air-conditioning as available features.
It was also during the 1950s when Bel Air became the most popular of the new Chevrolet models and was available as coupe, sedan, convertible and wagon body styles.
Perhaps equally significant in Chevrolet’s history was the introduction of the Corvette in 1953, the first production car with a fiberglass body.
In the 1960s, Chevrolet followed with several of its most popular cars to date, including the air-cooled Corvair, Nova and Camaro. The Camaro was an immediate hit, accumulating 10 percent of Chevrolet sales in its 1967 debut year.
Chevrolet’s storied bowtie logo was reportedly inspired by the wallpaper of a Paris hotel room and it made its first appearance in 1914. Four years later, Chevrolet became a division of GM and was its largest volume division by the mid-1920s. In 1927, Chevrolet sold more than one million vehicles in a year for the first time.
Through the years, Chevrolet has also built a strong reputation via innovation. It introduced front-end suspension in the 1930s. And its small-block V-8 engine, which debut in 1955, is the longest mass-produced engine in the world.
During the early 1960s, the Chevrolet brand became a dominating American icon. One out of every 10 cars sold in the United States in 1963 was a Chevrolet. Rock musicians featured Chevy references in their songs and subsequently rock songs were used in Chevrolet promotions.
Marketing has long been one of Chevrolet’s strong points. Like its vehicles, Chevrolet slogan and taglines became part of the American culture, most notably “The Heartbeat of American” (1987-1994) and “Like A Rock” (1991-2004).
Chevrolet currently more than cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans options in North America: Avalanche, Aveo, Camaro, Colorado, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express, HHR, Impala, Malibu, Silverado, Suburban, Volt, Tahoe, TrailBlazer and Traverse. Chevrolet prices for 2011 range from $11,965 (Aveo) to $106,880 (Corvette ZR1).
The much-publicized Volt, among several pending new Chevrolet models, is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that debuted as a concept car in 2007. Its first public deliveries are expected in early December in California, Texas, New York and Washington, DC.