Table of contents:
- The beginning of history and the first car of the brand 1911-1920s
- The first company crisis and its aftermath - 1920-1942
- Development during World War II and the aftermath of reorganization - 1940s-1960s
- Expansion of the model range 1970-1990s
- Features of an auto company in the XXI century - 2000-present
2023 Author: Charles Youmans | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-20 18:41
Chevrolet is one of the largest auto companies of the 21st century, based in Warren, Michigan. The company is part of the auto giant General Motors and produces cars under the brand of the same name.
The beginning of history and the first car of the brand 1911-1920s
The Chevrolet Motor Company officially came into existence in 1911. The history of Chevrolet begins with the famous driver Louis Chevrolet. Together with him, William Durand, who was the owner of GM, took part in the creation of the new brand.
The founder of the company came from a Swiss family, where his father worked as a watchmaker in the city of Chaux-de-Fond. At the age of ten, the Chevrolet family moved to France, where the future businessman graduated from high school and got a job at the Mors car company. Since then, his life has changed dramatically: the car enthusiast became a professional racer who took part in all the competitions in which Morse participated.
After a while, he moved to Canada. The next place of residence becomes the United States, where the young man is appointed a representative of the French automobile plant De Sion-Bouton. But, the racing future no longer appeals to Chevrolet. It is not clear what career changes the racer would have expected if the owner of General Motor, William Durand, had not paid attention to him. At that time, Durant bought up several unprofitable enterprises, in order to raise them from their knees, the help of investors was needed, who set the only conditions - the owner leaves the position of the president of the company. Then the official place of the leader was taken by Louis Chevrolet. After the company emerged from financial bondage, Durant merges GM with Chevrolet and buys out a majority stake in order to re-head the lost company.
In the same 1911, the first Chevrolet car appeared. Photos of the firstborn have survived to this day. We are talking about the Chevrolet Classic-Six. The salon of the novelty was designed for 4 riders, the engine developed 30 hp. Summed up the Chevrolet - the price. At this time, the Ford-T cost the buyer $ 500, while the Classic-Six was 5 times the price. As a result, 2,500 thousand dollars turned out to be too much for the local population, which became fatal for the car.
It is worth noting that this brand has become one of the few that, at the very beginning of their journey, went to the Russian market. The first export car was the T-90 with a 4.9-liter engine, which was capable of developing up to 30 hp. The top speed of the model reached 105 km / h.
Despite the unsuccessful debut, the management made the main conclusion - the priority among buyers is cars with an affordable price. In this regard, subsequent cars became much cheaper. In the maximum version, the price tag did not go beyond a thousand dollars. H, Baby Grand, Royal Mail became the next "natives".
A highlight in the history of the brand is the appearance of the Chevrolet 490, the price of which is reflected in the name. The fact is that the main competitor in the market was Ford with its Model T. The impeccable market leader won the recognition of buyers due to its practicality and cheapness. As a result, the novelty entered the market in 1915. The basic equipment is a speedometer, ammeter and dome lights. Under the hood is a 4-cylinder engine, aggregated by a 3-speed gearbox. Henry Ford, however, goes all-in and lowers the price tag to $ 440. This luxury became available to him in connection with the appearance of the first conveyors, which greatly simplified the assembly process and minimized costs.
Despite the latter fact, the Chevrolet 490 was still in maximum demand. The fact is that the difference in price was not significant, but the 490th offers a modern box and a 2.8-liter engine, which significantly exceeds the technical characteristics of its predecessor. In addition, the car had a starter, which was a rarity in those days and was installed only on premium cars. As a result, the Model T and 490 moved up one notch. The profits allowed Durant to buy General Motors in 1917.
The first company crisis and its aftermath - 1920-1942
The success that was achieved was not a salvation for the personal relationship between management. Durant and Leia Chevrolet clash, and the latter moves from the United States to Switzerland and no longer wants to attract attention. Several years later, Durant also departed from management of GM. This led to a fall in stock prices and a decline in sales. As a result, the new management is taking serious optimization measures, cutting unprofitable companies, but Chevrolet still remains in the portfolio. At this time, the millionth car rolled off the assembly line, and an air cooling system for the engine was actively introduced in production.
To meet the title of the main competitor for Ford, engineers are improving the technical component. In 1924, a radio was built into the car, in 1929 a 6-cylinder engine appeared, and in 1934 an independent front suspension was used. Unlike most car companies, Chevrolet suffered the Great Depression without much turmoil. By the 30th year, the number of cars sold was approaching 7 million.
In 1932, a new bestseller of the company appeared - the Chevrolet Sport Roadster, which was positioned as the "Great American Value". Visually, it is as close as possible to the Cadillac, but the cabin has a folding seat, under the hood is a 6-cylinder engine with an overhead valve. Due to these changes, the car turned out to be manageable and economical. Despite the company's tremendous achievements, it is the Sport Roadster that is considered the benchmark.
In 1935, Suburban entered the market, which opened the niche of passenger station wagons with a large number of passenger seats. The novelty made it possible to transport up to 8 people at a time and got rid of the wooden elements in the frame. In addition to the spacious interior, the car also provided for a luggage compartment. In the 40s, the Royal-Clipper appears with a unique design.
Development during World War II and the aftermath of reorganization - 1940s-1960s
The Second World War forced Chevrolet to rethink its production policy. During these years, in addition to civilian cars, military vehicles, shells, 9-mm anti-aircraft guns, capable of hitting a target at a distance of up to 5 miles, roll off the assembly lines. In addition, the Chevrolet Pratt & Whitney engine is produced, which are built into bombers. After the end of the war, the company returned to the production of pre-war cars, but with improved designs. The subcompact project failed due to insufficient funding.
The company managed to fully recover only by 1948, when sports modifications poured into the market. At the same time, the Americans were presented with modern pickups, including Advance Design, which is still recognized as the standard of classic design. A year later, two more models appeared - Special and De Luxe. In the 1950s, it was possible to buy a Chevrolet with an automatic transmission. The latter has also been proposed for other GM models.
At the same time, the talented designer Harley Earl comes to the company, who makes a huge contribution to development. From under his pen go Bel Air and Corvette. Bel Air became a legend in a short time. Popularly nicknamed him "hot stuff" because of the installed 8-cylinder engine. At that time, the car made a splash and was often mentioned in popular literature. Sales grew relentlessly, which made it possible to separate it into a separate series, but this happened only in 1953. The second - Corvette, also came out in 1953. The design feature was the use of fiberglass. In the basic configuration, a 3.8-liter engine with 152 hp was offered. and a two-speed automatic transmission. In 1956, the second generation was introduced with a powerful 290-horsepower engine, which was designed by Edon Walk in 1955. In 1961, the power was increased to 315 hp. and the first "hundred" obeyed the sports car in 5.5 seconds.
In 1958, the Chevrolet Impala was born, which competently combined the prestige and size of the Cadillac, but kept an affordable price. On the net you can find pictures of the concept car with a bright green body and a dazzling white interior. During the launch of production, a powerful advertising campaign kicked off, where the Impala was positioned as a luxury car available to everyone. In 1960, they managed to break the records of the popular predecessor and bring this model to the top of sales. It was the Impala that became the best-selling car of the decade.
Cars of the 50s delighted with their pretentiousness and size. The manufacturer managed to combine dynamics and modern equipment: electric windows and seats. In 1959, another pickup truck was born - the Chevrolet El Camino. The company was the leader in this segment in those years. They managed to create unique bright pickups that amaze with the gracefulness of the silhouette, and give the power of the trucks. It was based on a frame structure, spring suspension and a 3-meter wheelbase. This pickup was the first to use a metal platform instead of a wooden platform.
Expansion of the model range 1970-1990s
Due to the spread of calls for sustainability and rivalry with Japanese models, Chevrolets are forced to reconsider their attitude towards fuel efficiency. In 1971, a new runabout was presented - Vega with a sporty appearance, but a cramped interior. However, the engineers were not prepared for such a contrasting change in activity and the engine turned out to be unreliable, which led to a large-scale recall and a deterioration in the company's reputation. As a result, the model quickly left the market. In 1978, the fourth generation Malibu appears, initially with a single rear-wheel drive, Chevrolet in 1997 will revise its attitude to this model and the Malibu will become front-wheel drive.
In 1980, Citation came out, and a year later - Cavalier. The latter was destined to become the best-selling car in America from 1984-1985. By the mid-80s, two three-door SUVs entered the arena - the Chevrolet Blazer. The difference lies in the size - 4.3 meters versus 4.7 meters. In 1995, the younger retained the name, and the elongated version was renamed the Chevrolet Tahoe, which was produced in 3- and 5-door versions and was repeatedly named "SUV of the Year".
Since the 90s, the range has expanded greatly. So, the revival of the classic sedan - Malibu, which becomes the owner of the status of "Car of the Year 1997", hit the market. In the same year, the Ventur minivan and the front-wheel drive hatch and sedan - Chevrolet Lanos appeared. In addition, 1997 becomes the birth date of the Daewoo Matiz, produced in America and Europe as the Chevrolet Spark.
Features of an auto company in the XXI century - 2000-present
In 2002, the Chevrolet Lacetti was released, which remains popular to this day. However, it is not a car with a "pedigree" as the South Korean manufacturer GM Daewoo is responsible for its production. In the same year, the attention of fans is won by a subcompact car - the Chevrolet Aveo. In 2004, the company releases Chevrolet Cobalt, which becomes the product of a long search for new niches. The coupe managed to fit organically into the available model range and compete with popular Japanese cars. A little later, the manufacturer introduced the Cobalt in the sedan body. In 2006, the 5- and 7-seater Chevrolet Captiva appears, and the mid-size Chevrolet Epica (2006-2012).
During the period of active development of electric transport, the Tahoe was equipped with a dual-mode system. As a result, the car could direct energy from the internal combustion engine and electric motor through a variable transmission. In 2010, the production of the Chevrolet Camaro resumed again, which became popular after the release of the film "Transformers". In 2010, the Chevrolet Rezzo enters the market with an economical engine of 1, 6 and 2.0 liters, producing 90 and 107 hp. respectively. In 2011, the Volt gets a gasoline generator, which can travel 40-80 kilometers in "train" mode, or up to 500 kilometers on mixed fuel.
In 2008, the company opens its own plant in Shushary, where Chevrolet Cruze is assembled in a full cycle. In addition, TrailBlazer is being launched from the plant's facilities. Together with the Russian auto giant AvtoVAZ, the company's engineers are developing the Chevrolet Niva, which in a short time finds responses in the hearts of Russians. The VAZ-2123 was used as a platform, and the Togliatti plant took over the production in 2002. This model has managed to become one of the best-selling SUVs in Russia. In 2011, the continuation of the Cruise line appears - a compact van Chevrolet Orlando.
In early 2015, GM announced the termination of sales of Chevrolet in Russia. As a result, most of the models will leave dealerships, leaving only the sports cars Camaro, Corvetto and the Tahoe SUV. The Chevrolet Niva, beloved by the Russians, also remains in service.