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It should be remembered that it was an American industrial financier of French origin who created General Motors 111 years ago, in 1908. This man – above – is William Crapo Durant. He was at the origin of the first industrial site that dug the foundations of the American giant. This first factory has now been rehabilitated and the statue of the (almost) Frenchman William occupies a prominent place in it.
In 111 years, GM has known wars, but it is the period of the early 2000s that remains in all memories when it was thought that GM would die. With an over-indebtedness that leads the giant into bankruptcy. First of all, it is the imbroglio with Fiat which takes 6.1% of GM’s capital when the American acquires 20% of Fiat’s capital. But in the face of the Italian’s poor health, the American giant, too, is in the early stages of its problems, retracts. But he is making him pay compensation of nearly $1.5 billion! Over-indebted, the group wavered and was then partly supported by a $15 billion government loan that saved the company.
But the consequences are serious with sales falling by half from 2009. General Motors then successively divested many of its brands: in 2005, Daewoo, then in 2010 a real haemorrhage when GM sold Saab, Pontiac, Hummer, Saturn and made a commitment to eventually sell the European brand Opel.
It will be until 2017 for this last operation, with the acquisition by the French group PSA of Opel and also of Vauxhall. 111 years ago General Motors was born and its desire to be present on all continents has since faded somewhat! Its main brands are now only Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC, not to mention its cooperation with the Chinese and the Baojun, Wuling and Faw Jiefang groups/brands. And today, it is the new rear mid-engine Corvette below that puts the group back at the forefront of the world stage.
This is an opportunity for us to offer you the PDF of the 84-page brochure from the GM archives, celebrating General Motors’ 50th anniversary and published in 1957. Download here : 1908- 1958 GM-LIGNESauto