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Oldsmobile was a brand of automobile produced for most of its existence by General Motors. Founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, the company still produces vehicles in the United States. In its 107-year history, it produced 35.2 million cars, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory. When it was phased out, Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile marque, and one of the oldest in the world, after Daimler and Peugeot. It was GM's only brand to be phased out in the 2000s, since the phaseout of the Geo and Asuna (which was sold only in Canada) in the 1990s.
Oldsmobiles were first manufactured by the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan, a company founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. In 1901, the company produced 425 cars, making it the first high-volume automobile manufacturer of the day. Olds became the top selling car company in the United States for a few years. Ransom Olds left the company in financial difficulties and formed the REO Motor Car Company. The last Curved Dash Olds was made in 1907. General Motors purchased the company in 1908.
The 1901 to 1904 Curved Dash was the first mass-produced car, made from the first automotive assembly line, an invention that is often miscredited to Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company. After Olds sold the company in 1899, it was renamed Olds Motor Works and moved to a new plant in Detroit. By March 1901, the company had a whole line of models ready for mass production. Unfortunately, a mistake by a worker caused the factory to catch fire, and it burned to the ground, with all of the prototypes destroyed. The only car that survived the fire was a Curved Dash prototype, which was wheeled out of the factory by two workers while escaping the fire. A new factory was built, and production of the Curved Dash commenced.
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