Chevrolet (IPA: /ˌʃɛvroʊˈleɪ/ - French origin) (also known as Chevy) is a brand of automobile, produced by General Motors (GM). It is the top selling GM marque, with "Chevrolet" or "Chevy" being at times synonymous with GM.
Chevrolet offers 18 vehicles and many different enhanced versions in its home market. The vehicles range from subcompact cars to medium duty commercial trucks. Its number one seller in the United States is the Silverado pickup. Chevrolet continues to be the performance, price, MPG, and value leader for General Motors North America.
North American history
Chevrolet was founded by Louis Chevrolet (Swiss-French) and William C. Durant (American). Louis Chevrolet was a race-car driver, and William Durant, founder of General Motors, had been forced out of GM in 1910. He wanted to use Chevrolet's designs to rebuild his own reputation as a force in the automobile industry. As head of Buick Motor Company, prior to founding GM, Durant had hired Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races.
Chevrolet first used its "bowtie" logo in 1913. It is said to have been designed from wallpaper Durant once saw in a French hotel. Another theory is that it is a stylized version either of the shape of Switzerland or the cross on the flag of Switzerland, Louis Chevrolet's birthplace.
In 1915, Durant was in the process of setting up Chevrolet production facilities in Toronto, Canada. Later that year, during a luncheon meeting in New York with "Colonel Sam" McLaughlin, whose McLaughlin Motor Car Company manufactured McLaughlin-Buick cars, it was agreed that Chevrolets with McLaughlin-designed bodies would be added to the Canadian company's product line. Three years later, the two Canadian operations (Chevrolet was by then a part of GM in the United States) were bought by GM to become General Motors of Canada Ltd.
By 1916, Chevrolet was profitable enough to allow Durant to buy a majority of shares in GM. After the deal was completed in 1917, Durant was president of General Motors, and Chevrolet was merged into GM, becoming a separate division. In the 1918 model year, Chevrolet introduced the Model D, a V8-powered model in four-passenger roadster and five-passenger tourer models. These cars had 288in3 35hp (26kW) engines with Zenith carburetors and three-speed transmissions.
Famous Chevy models include the large and luxurious Impala (1958) and the innovative air-cooled rear-engined Corvair. Chevrolet had a great influence on the American automobile market during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1957, Chevy made the first fuel injected engine. In 1963, one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.
The basic Chevrolet small-block V-8 design has remained in continuous production since its debut in 1955, longer than any other mass-produced engine in the world, although current versions share few if any parts interchangeable with the original. Descendants of the basic small-block OHV V-8 design platform in production today have been much modified with advances such as aluminum block and heads, electronic engine management and sequential port fuel injection, to name but a few. The small block Chevrolet V-8 is used in current production model (2008) Impala sedans, a variety of light and medium duty Chevrolet trucks, and the current generation Corvette sports car. Depending on the vehicle type, they are built in displacements from 4.8 to 7.0 litres with outputs ranging from 180 to 638horsepower (476kW) as installed at the factory. It will also be used as a performance option in the forthcoming (2009 model year) revival of the Chevrolet Camaro. The engine design has also been used over the years in GM products built and sold under the Pontiac. Oldsmobile, Buick, Opel (Germany) and Holden (Australia) nameplates. Recently, a 6-litre, 400horsepower (300kW) version of the small-block V-8 designed initially for the C-6 Corvette has been installed in a factory-built high performance version of the Cadillac CTS sedan known as the CTS-V.
Even though the Australian market of today mainly consists of Australia's own automotive companies alongside Asian and European automobile brands, Australia once had its fair share of American cars as well. For many decades up until the very early 1960s, Chevrolet cars were manufactured and sold in Australia in the Chevrolet brand in the state of South Australia. Vintage Chevrolet models such as Bel Air, Impala etc, are still found in many states around Australia. Manufacturing has now ceased, and to this day has been succeeded by Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler in terms of American Cars. The 1998-2001 Chevrolet Suburban was branded under GM Holden for sale within Australia. Today several of Chevrolet's designs are based on their Australian counterparts (GM Holden). Chevrolet is expanding its availability of large pick ups and SUV's in the Australian Market.
Historically, many Latin American-market vehicles from GM were modified derivatives of older models from GM's North American and European operations. The current S10 and Blazer exemplify this strategy. However, more modern vehicles are now being marketed as market conditions change and competition increases. Besides those older models made in Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and Mercosur countries, Korean sourced cars from former Daewoo factories some markets also get German Opel and US made Chevrolet on top of their local line-ups.
In Brazil, the Chevrolet Opala was based on the German Opel Rekord from the late 1960s, continuing in production until the early 1990s, when it was replaced by a version of the Opel Omega. Other smaller Chevrolets in Brazil, such as the Kadett and Monza, were based on the Opel Kadett and Ascona respectively. Chevrolet's product line-up in Brazil now comprises some exclusive designs like the Corsa "B" based Celta sold in Argentina under the Suzuki brand, the Astra, and a brand new, Brazilian designed Vectra based on the current Opel Astra, while the current Corsa is built and the Omega name is now used on the Holden Commodore. Utility and four wheel drive vehicles line-up includes the S10, the Blazer, and the Montana. The Montana is a compact pickup truck, based on the Corsa, that is also sold in other Latin American markets. From the 1960s to the mid-1980s, there was also a large station wagon, derived from the [[ChevProxy-Connection: keep-alive Cache-Control: max-age=0
let C/K|C10]] truck (somewhat similar to the Suburban), called the Veraneio.
Chevrolet production in Chile began in 1962, although at first through local partners (in this case, Avayu with the Nova II). GM still assembles the Isuzu D-Max as LUV D-Max in Arica and Isuzu´ F and N series in Huechuraba, Santiago.
Chevrolet has been operating in Ecuador for 80 years. GM Ecuador sells US Chevrolets alongside GM Daewoo and Opel sourced models. It also sells the 1983 Suzuki Supercarry under the Chevrolet namel, and the Isuzu Rodeo was sold as the Chevrolet Rodeo throughout the 1990s.
In Venezuela, Chevrolet has been operating since 1948, when truck production began in Caracas. In 1979 production moved to a plant in Valencia that was purchased from Chrysler. Chevrolet assembled more than 1,500,000 vehicles in its first 50 years in Venezuela.
In 1924 General Motors starts importing Chevrolet Double Phaeton models and are welcomed with great demand.
In 1925, in order to reduce costs in the Argentine market, General Motors decides to manufacture in Argentina and starts producing a sedan, roadster, a truck chassis and the Chevrolet Double Phaeton now called "Especial Argentino", a model exclusively designed for the Argentinean market. Sales increased and soon the Oldsmobile, Oakland and Pontiac units were incorporated to the assembly line.
When the Second World War broke out the operations were complicated. In 1941 the Chevrolet 250.000 is made, but the shortage of products made car production impossible. The last Chevrolet goes out of the plant in august, 1942. In order to avoid the total stoppage, the company made electrical and portable refrigerators and car accessories amongst other items. After the war, GM started producing the Oldsmobile and Pontiac lines and later Chevrolet is added.
In 1959, manufacturing plants are enlarged and set up to produce cars, pick ups and trucks. On 25th January 1960 the first Argentinean pick up Chevrolet is introduced. The following year the national government approves the investment plan for 45 million dollars which included a plant of 12,000 m2. On 12th march 1962 the first Chevrolet 400 is made based on the North American Chevy II. The original plan considered a national integration of 50% during the first year of production, this amount must get to be 90% in 1964 with a production of 15,000 units. By 1969, the Chevy line, derived from the American Chevy Nova is presented.
In the middle of the seventies, General Motors market share is reduced sharply from 9% in 1976 to 2% in 1978. Losses exceeded the 30 millions dollars and the head company in the USA decides to halt the productive activities in Argentina.
The Chevrolet trade mark reappears in 1985 for the production of the pick up in its versions C-20 and D-20. In 1995 a plan for the manufacturing destined to the exportation specially to Brazil and other countries of Mercosur is materialized with the building of a new facility near Rosario, Santa Fe for the production of the Opel based Chevrolet Corsa and the Suzuki based Chevrolet Grand Vitara 4x4.
In Mexico, some of these Opel-sourced Chevrolet models are sold alongside US models. An example is regarding the Vectra. While the Brazilian Vectra is based on Opel's current Astra Sedan, the Mexican Vectra is actually the current Opel Vectra sold in Europe. Mexico also has some cars of its own, such as the Chevy C2, which is a reworked last-generation Corsa, the Sonora (which is a re-badged Tahoe), and the Cheyenne (which is similar to the Silverado but is as different as the Sonora is to the Suburban). The Chevrolet Optra, assembled in South Korea by GM Daewoo, is also sold in Mexico.
Chevrolet Europe is a Swiss-based firm (in Zürich) that sells the rebranded products of GM Daewoo.
Until 2005, Chevrolet Europe sold a few models, mostly United States domestic market (USDM) models modified to suit European regulations. Among them were the Chevrolet Alero (which was a rebadged Oldsmobile Alero) and the Chevrolet Trans Sport (which was a Chevrolet Venture with the front end of the Pontiac Trans Sport). Among other models sold by Chevrolet Europe were the Camaro, the Beretta, the Corvette, the Blazer, and the TrailBlazer. The current generation of North American-built Chevrolet Impala V-8 sedans has also been available in Europe in recent years, marketed as both large family sedans and more economically-priced alternatives to Jaguars and BMWs as high performance executive cars.
It was in 2005 that all the mainstream models from GM Daewoo were rebranded as Chevrolet in Europe (The ownership of the SUV models in the former Daewoo range had reverted back to ownership of Ssangyong by this time). However the Daewoo name was retained in South Korea and Vietnam. In the rest of the world, most Daewoo models have worn the Chevrolet badge since 2003. Exceptions include the use of the Suzuki badge in the United States and Canada, the Pontiac badge in Canada, the Holden badge in Australia and New Zealand, and the Buick badge in China for certain GM Daewoo models.
The Corvette is marketed in Europe through a separate distribution channel operated by Netherlands-based Kroymans Corporation Group. Because the Chevrolet brand now represents value-driven cars in Europe, the Corvette name was made into a separate marque for Europe and Japan.
The Holden Commodore is badged as the Chevrolet Lumina in Thailand and the Middle East, as well as South Africa. The longer wheelbase Holden Statesman is sold as the Chevrolet Caprice in the Middle East.
In the Middle East, Chevrolet-badged cars, trucks, SUV's, and crossovers are sourced from GM Daewoo (in South Korea), GM in North America, and GM Holden (in Australia). The Middle East market has a separate division called Chevrolet Special Vehicles (CSV), which (as of December 2007) sources the high-performance 400bhp (300kW) CR8 sedan from Holden Special Vehicles.
In Pakistan, Chevrolet introduced its cars in collaboration with a local automobile manufacturer called Nexus Automotive. The current models available are the Chevrolet Optra and Chevrolet Joy. As of December 2005, the Chevrolet Joy is being assembled locally in Pakistan.By 2008 Chevrolet launched their own website and added the Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Colorado.
Chevrolet is among the newest brands in India launched by GM's Indian operations. Until June 6, 2003 (the official birthday of Chevrolet), GM India (which was originally a joint venture with Hindustan Motors) sold the Opel Corsa, Opel Astra, and the Opel Vectra. The Corsa and Astra were built at a plant in Halol, Gujarat.
Since then, Chevrolet currently sells the Chevrolet Optra, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Tavera, Chevrolet SRV , Chevrolet Spark and Chevrolet Aveo U-VA. The Chevrolet Forester, a rebadged Subaru, was imported directly from Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan until 2005. The Optra and Tavera are built at the Halol plant. The latest Chevrolet launched in India is the Chevrolet Captiva SUV, a rebadged Holden Capitva.
Chevrolet also is the sole Engine supplier for the Formula Rolon single seater series in India.
The American-built Chevrolet Colorado pickup is also manufactured in Rayong, Thailand.
General Motors is currently exploring cost cutting options as part of its restructuring plan. One of these options involve expanding the Rayong, Thailand plant to add additional capacity to export Colorado's to the U.S. This would allow the Shreveport, Louisiana plant to be closed (where the Colorado is also produced). This scenario is plausible only if a free-trade agreement is signed between the U.S. and Thailand, as the American tariff on imported pickup trucks from non-FTA countries is currently 25%. The United Auto Workers is the most vocal opponent to a change in the tariff structure.
In the mid 2000s, Suzuki imported and marketed the TrailBlazer and the Chevrolet Optra wagon in Japan. General Motors Asia Pacific (Japan) currently distributes and markets the Chevrolet TrailBlazer in very limited numbers. Suzuki, a GM partner, also assembles and markets the Chevrolet Cruze subcompact and the Chevrolet MW kei car. The MW was originally a rebadged Suzuki Wagon R. As of 2008, it is a rebadged Suzuki Solio. Mitsui currently distributes and markets the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Express, Chevrolet HHR, and Starcraft versions of the G-Van and Chevrolet Trailblazer. General Motors Japan directly imports and distributes the Corvette, which is marketed under its own marque. Thus there are three distinct distribution channels for Chevrolet-branded vehicles, and a separate network for Corvette-branded cars.
Chevrolet-branded vehicles are not sold in South Korea. However, many global-market Chevrolet vehicles are sourced from GM Daewoo of South Korea.
In South Africa, Chevrolet was GM's main brand name until 1982, with a number of Vauxhall Motors and Holden derivatives being built under the Chevy name from 1964. In the 1970s, the advertising jingle "braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and Chevrolet" (adapted from the US "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pies and Chevrolet") came to epitomise the ideal lifestyle of white male South Africans. Holden in Australia used the jingle "Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden cars". Originally, Chevrolets were CKD kits of US models assembled in their plant in Port Elizabeth. However, since South Africa was right-hand drive and the US was left-hand drive, along with encouragement by the South African government to use local content, Chevrolets such as the Biscayne were eventually made entirely in South Africa, along with GM's "own car for South Africa": the Ranger.
By the 1970s, larger South African Chevrolets were based on Holden models, the Kommando being based on the Kingswood and the Constantia on the Premier, while the smaller Firenza was based on the Vauxhall Viva. The Chevrolet Nomad sold in South Africa was entirely different from the Nomad sold in America; whereas the American Nomad was originally conceived as a station wagon version of the Corvette and eventually became the station wagon version of the Bel Air, the South African Nomad was an SUV of truck proportions before SUVs were popular.
However, these were replaced by Opel models like the Rekord, Commodore, and Senator, and in 1982 the Chevrolet brand name was dropped in favour of Opel. Because of the political climate at the time, GM decided to divest from South Africa in 1986, and a local group eventually bought out GM's South African operations (including the Port Elizabeth plant) and renamed the company as the Delta Motor Corporation, which concentrated on Opels, Isuzus, and Suzukis, built under licence.
However, thanks to an improved political climate in the 1990s, GM decided to reenter South Africa, eventually buying out the whole of Delta. In 2001, the Chevrolet name made a comeback, used on the Lumina, a rebadged Holden Commodore, and later on, on the Daewoo range of cars. Current Chevrolets include the Spark (a rebadged Daewoo Matiz), Aveo, Optra, the Lumina (including the Ute model), and the Vivant, an MPV that is a rebadged version of the Daewoo Tacuma.
In Russia, various Chevrolet models are available. Current Chevrolets include the Spark, Aveo, Lanos, Lacetti, Rezzo, Epica, Captiva, TrailBlazer, and Tahoe. All of these models (with the exception of the TrailBlazer and Tahoe) are rebadged Daewoo models.
The Chevrolet brand is currently undergoing a product restructuring in North America along with all other GM brands in order to fit into the parent company's turnaround efforts. Since the 2007 hiatus of the Monte Carlo, there is an unknown status as of January 2009. In early 2009 Chevrolet will bring back the Chevrolet Camaro muscle car for the 2010 model year. At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, the production version of the Chevrolet Beat was displayed under the nameplate of Spark; Chevrolet announced that the Spark along with the Chevrolet Orlando would go into production in the US. Orlando is most likely to replace the HHR. In 2010 Chevrolet will introduce two more models: the plug-in electric Chevrolet Volt; and the Chevrolet Cruze which will be the successor to the Cobalt.
In 2007, Chevrolet launched its first watch collection under the Louis Chevrolet watch brand. The watch collection pays tribute to Louis Chevrolet, co-founder of the brand, who was born in a family of a watchmaker and in his childhood helped his father at the workbench. The collection was called Frontenac, the name inherited from the race car company founded by Louis Chevrolet. The Chevrolet watch collection comprises automatic, manually-wound and quartz models, equipped with ETA and Ronda movements.
The Louis Chevrolet Frontenac watches, manufactured in Courgenay, the Swiss Jura region, feature the styling cues suggested by the Chevrolet cars. The collection was developed while applying the same materials as used in the car industry. Pearled appliques on the Chevrolet watches' dials remind the metal forms of the old dashboards. The number '8,' Chevrolet's racing number, is sported on the case back.
Chevrolet globally has had their marketing campaigns, songs, taglines, and slogans, these include,
- SS 396 (1965) Paul Revere and the Raiders
- Listen to the Heartbeat of America (1988-1992)
- Like a Rock (1991-2004)
- This is Our Country (2006-2007)
- The trucks depend on (September 1989-March 1991)
- Trucks you depend on, the trucks that last (December 1990-May 1995)
- The most dependable longest lasting trucks on the road (October 1993-present)
- Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie & Chevrolet (mid 1970's)
- The Heartbeat of America (1987-1994)
- The Heartbeat of America Today's Chevrolet (1987-1991)
- The Heartbeat of America Is Winning (1988-1992)
- The Heartbeat of America Is Winning Today's Chevrolet (1988-1992)
- Like a Rock (1992-2003)
- An American Revolution (2003-present)
- Our Country, Our Truck (2006-2007)
- America's Best Trucks (2007-present)