General Motors is an American automaker based in Detroit, Michigan that designs, builds and sells virtually every kind of automobile that can be purchased all over the world. From full electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, to massive commercial medium duty pickup trucks, to extreme performance vehicles like the Corvette ZR1. And while the GM product portfolio offers a wide breadth of vehicles, its fanbase and reputation has largely been built on its legacy of selling groundbreaking muscle cars, pickup trucks, sports cars, and sport utility vehicles.
General Motors is the largest automaker from America, and one of the largest in the world, normally battling either Toyota Motor Corporation or Volkswagen AG for the top spot sales spot globally.
GM’s current active brands in North America are Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Buick. Meanwhile, it still sells vehicles in Australia and New Zealand under the Holden brand, while the Chinese market has GM brands of their own. These include Baojun and Wuling.
General Motors was founded by William C. Durant on September 16, 1908 as a holding company, and first purchased Buick Motor Company. Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Pontiac (formally known as Oakland) followed shortly after. Ultimately, Durant lost control of General Motors in 1910 as a deal to buy Ford Motor Company for $8 million fell through. At the time of Durant’s ousting, General Motors was $1 million in debt. Adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly $27 million in 2019 dollars.
Despite the setback, Durant went on to co-found the Chevrolet Motor Company in 1911 with racer Louis Chevrolet. Durant re-joined GM in 1916 after Chevrolet purchased 54.5 percent of the company, thanks to a backing from Pierre du Pont.
Fast forward to 2009, and a bloated General Motors filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, following a US government “bailout” of $13.4 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that was approved by former president George W Bush in December 2008.
According to a Center for Automotive Research study, the GM bailout saved 1.2 million jobs and preserved $34.9 billion in tax revenue. Since emerging from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2009, the automaker has been legally known as General Motors Company, changing its name from General Motors Corporation.
Not long after the General Motors bankruptcy, it was announced that the company would discontinue the Pontiac, Saab, Hummer and Saturn brands. Whereas Pontiac was shuttered, the automaker attempted to sell the Hummer, Saab and Saturn brands. Saab found itself in the hands of Swedish Automobile, née Spyker, by 2010. But the Hummer and Saturn deals fell through. Penske Auto Group was in the works to acquire Saturn from General Motors, but ultimately things went nowhere. Meanwhile, China-based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd. was lined up to purchase Hummer for an estimated $150 million. However, that didn’t happen, and Hummer was discontinued.
More recently, General Motors, under the leadership of CEO Mary Barra, has been streamlining its business even further. This included the sale of the Opel and Vauxhall brands to French automaker PSA Groupe in March 2017 for $2.2 billion. The sale has scaled GM’s presence in Europe to be all but nonexistent.
In November 2018, General Motors began a massive restructuring plan that included laying off 6,000 salaried workers, the discontinuing of various nameplates, and the “unallocation” of four American plants. These are Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Lordstown Assembly, Warren Transmission, and Baltimore Operations. Additionally, the Oshawa Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada will close, as well. Vehicles that were discontinued included the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt, Buick LaCrosse, Buick Cascada, and others. Most displaced UAW workers were given job opportunities at other GM facilities in America that were adding shifts, or needed work. These included Flint Assembly, where the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD are built, as well as Arlington Assembly, home to the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade.
GENERAL MOTORS MUSCLE CARS AND PERFORMANCE VEHICLES
General Motors helped forge the muscle car segment with multiple entries from Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Chevrolet. GM’s muscle car heritage can be traced as far back as the late 1940’s with the introduction of the Rocket V8 engine in the Oldsmobile 88, with the variant named the “Rocket 88”. It’s significant to note that some historians consider the Rocket 88 to be the first muscle car in the world. Not long after, the segment really started to hit its stride in the 1960’s, thanks to legendary names such as the Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet Chevelle, Chevrolet Impala SS, and others.
Evolving from the muscle car segment was the legendary pony car segment. The first entries from General Motors were the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, as well as the 1967 Pontiac Firebird. The pony car segment was characterized by their more compact proportions from their muscle car forerunners, more accessible MSRP, rear wheel drive, and more youthful appeal.
In the 1960’s, American performance vehicles could be grouped into three categories; the large bodied, high-displacement engined, RWD muscle car such as the Pontiac GTO and Impala SS; the pony car segment that included the Chevrolet Camaro; and the two-seat sports car segment that represented the Corvette.
The definition of Muscle Car and the definition of a Pony Car begins to blur as time goes on, as choices for American performance vehicles began to shrink, and nameplates traditionally known for their low prices and mass appeal have begun to creep upmarket. Currently, the term “muscle car” has evolved into a catch-all when describing American performance vehicles, including the two-seat Corvette. This is especially common among more removed European automotive media.
Using the term very loosely, the only muscle cars that are sold by General Motors today are the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette. But as outlined by the classical definition above, the Camaro is a pony car, while the Corvette is a sports car.
Below is a comprehensive breakdown of current and former General Motors muscle cars and other performance vehicles, by brand.
- First Generation Camaro
- Second Generation Camaro
- Third Generation Camaro
- Fourth Generation Camaro
- Fifth Generation Camaro
- Sixth Generation Camaro
- Seventh Generation Camaro
- C1 Corvette
- C2 Corvette
- C3 Corvette
- C4 Corvette
- C5 Corvette
- C6 Corvette
- C7 Corvette
- C8 Corvette
Chevrolet SS Performance Sedan
Chevrolet El Camino
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Chevrolet Lumina SS
Buick Regal Grand National
Buick Regal GNX
Buick Riviera GS
Buick Skylark GS
Buick GS California
Buick Gran Sport 455
Buick Apollo GSX
- First Generation CTS-V
- Second Generation CTS-V
- Third Generation CTS-V
Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing
Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
Pontiac Trans Am
Pontiac Le Mans
Pontiac Grand Prix
- VX Commodore
- VY Commodore
- VE Commodore
- VF Commodore
General Motors Muscle Car And Performance Vehicle Platforms:
General Motors Muscle Car And Performance Vehicle Engines:
GENERAL MOTORS PICKUP TRUCKS
General Motors has been making pickup trucks for essentially as long as it has existed. Which makes sense, because if GM didn’t make trucks, it would likely never have gotten this far in the first place. This is because the high sales volume and lucrative profit margins from GM’s pickup truck offerings are largely responsible for funding much of the company’s operations. Currently, General Motors sells pickup trucks through the Chevrolet and GMC brands, but at one point offered trucks from Hummer, and even Cadillac.
Below is a comprehensive breakdown of former and current General Motors trucks, by brand.
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Chevrolet Silverado HD
- Chevrolet Silverado Medium Duty
- Chevrolet C/K
- First Generation Chevrolet Colorado
- Second Generation Chevrolet Colorado
- Third Generation Chevrolet Colorado
Cadillac Escalade EXT
Hummer H2 SUT
GM Pickup Truck Engines
GM Pickup Truck Platforms
GENERAL MOTORS SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
General Motors excels in the sport utility market more than any other segment. And like pickup trucks, these vehicles are extremely profitable. As of March 2019, General Motors SUV offerings outsell its nearest competition at a ratio of nearly 4:1, and occupy nearly 80 percent of the entire full-size SUV segment. This can be attributed to the fact that GM offers more body-on-frame full size SUVs than any other automaker, and are also extremely popular in the fleet and livery businesses, as well as for government use.
Below is a comprehensive breakdown of former and current General Motors SUVs, by brand.
- K5 Blazer
- S-10 Blazer
GMC Yukon XL
- First Generation Cadillac Escalade
- Second Generation Cadillac Escalade
- Third Generation Cadillac Escalade
- Fourth Generation Cadillac Escalade
- Fifth Generation Cadillac Escalade
GM SUV Engines
GM SUV Platforms
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