Important milestones in Chevy's first century

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 2 2011 3:05 p.m. MDT

This product image provided by General Motors, shows a 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Battery powered for the first 25 to 50 miles after charging up, the revolutionary, electric-powered Chevy Volt’s on-board generator automatically provides additional electricity to continue on for another 300 miles, when needed.

General Motors, Associated Press

Important dates in the 100-year history of General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet brand:

— Nov. 3, 1911: Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant co-found the Chevrolet Motor Company. Swiss-born Chevrolet was a member of Durant's Buick racing team.

— 1912: Louis Chevrolet's Series C "Classic Six, a luxurious six-cylinder model, goes on sale in Detroit. At $2,150, it's out of reach for most buyers.

— 1913: Louis Chevrolet leaves Detroit for Indianapolis, where he continued racing, but he allows Durant to keep producing cars in his name. Durant begins using the Chevrolet bowtie logo.

— 1918: The first Chevrolet trucks are produced.

— 1918: Brand formally becomes part of General Motors Corp., under founder Durant.

— 1927: Chevy overtakes Ford in sales for the first time, with sales of more than 1 million cars.

— 1935: Suburban Carryall, a truck-based station wagon and a forerunner to the modern SUV, is introduced.

— 1942: Civilian production of Chevys ceases on Jan. 30 for the duration of World War II. Production of trucks for military use, including the Suburban Carryall, continues through the war. Civilian production resumes Oct. 3, 1945.

— 1950: Chevy becomes the first low-priced American car to offer an automatic transmission, with Powerglide introduced as an option on 1950 models.

— 1953: The first Corvette is introduced.

— 1954: The 50 millionth General Motors car, a gold 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, is featured in a nationally televised parade.

— 1955: The powerful small-block V-8 engine is introduced on 1955 models. It's among the brand's most significant engineering feats.

— 1956: The "Dinah Shore Chevy Show" launches as a one-hour TV show. Shore sings "See the USA in your Chevrolet" at the close of each show. Chevy later uses the song in its ads.

— 1958: The Impala, the best-selling full-size car ever, is introduced. More than 13 million were sold by the time production ended in 1996. The name has since been revived for Chevy's biggest sedan.

— 1965: Corvair sales plummet after consumer advocate Ralph Nader highlighted accidents related to its handling in his book "Unsafe at Any Speed."

— 1967: The Camaro is introduced and serves as a pace car at the Indianapolis 500.

— 1971: Chevy unveils the Vega, whose quality problems and propensity to rust dented the brand's reputation.

— 1976: The Chevette, the smallest Chevy ever at the time, is introduced because of customer demand for better fuel economy. It is Chevy's first "world car," sold in multiple markets.

— 1979: Chevy builds its 100 millionth car, a Monza.

— 1986: The Corvette is the first Chevy to get anti-lock brakes.

— 1991: The "Like a Rock" ad campaign begins, using a Bob Seger song to advertise Chevy trucks. The campaign runs for 13 years and is considered one of the industry's most successful.

— 2007: The Chevy Volt electric car with a range-extending gas motor is introduced as a concept. It goes on sale in 2010.

— 2009: GM, bested by financial crisis, weak economy and high costs, receives billions in government aid and restructures in bankruptcy court. It sheds four brands — Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer and Saab — but keeps Chevy and vows to invest more in the brand.

— 2010: Chevy sells 4.26 million vehicles globally, an average of one every 7.4 seconds.

— 2011: Only four of the 270 American auto brands that existed when Chevy was founded are still around. They are Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Ford.

Sources: General Motors Co., Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com

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