Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

General Motors, a century of American classics

Text by Emmanuel SAINT-MARTIN

Latest update : 2008-12-10

As General Motors celebrates its 100th anniversary on Tuesday, FRANCE 24 looks back at some of the classics the American automaker has released through the years.

Read also:  Will the Volt be GM's saviour?

 

General Motors Corp. celebrates its centennial on Tuesday – but it’s not a very happy birthday. Today the venerable automaker is consumed by uncertainty. GM’s hegemony belongs to the past, and now it sees its market share dropping. The company’s losses from the last three years are approaching $70 billion. All hopes are now on the Volt, expected to be unveiled this week.


It was on September 16, 1908 that William Crapo Durant incorporated the five-year-old Buick into General Motors. Twenty-three years later, GM’s US sales passed those of Ford. In 1962, the GM's domestic market share peaked, at 51%, its integrity threatened even then by antitrust laws. Then came the gas crisis of the 1970s, the onset of Japanese competitors and ballooning pension costs for GM workers.


Here are a few of the GM cars that marked the 20th century, from an era when Detroit led the world in car design and innovation:
 

 


Photo credit: GM.


Chevrolet Corvette (1953). Launched in 1953, the Corvette was the first two-seats sports car produced by GM. It was the brain child of Harley Earl, a longtime GM designer who felt it was time to build a European-style sports car for the US market. Fifty-five years later GM still produces the Corvette, now in its sixth generation, the C6.

 

 


Photo credit: See below (1). 

Cadillac Coupe deVille (1960)
. Launched in 1949, the Coupe deVille was the first hardtop Cadillac. The famous extravagant fins were added at the third generation, in 1959. By the 1980s, deVilles had become much less pretty, and the 11th generation was halted in 1993.

 

 


Photo credit: GM. 

Chevrolet Camaro (1966).
Designed as a competor to the Ford Mustang and released in 1966, the Camaro was one of the best known “muscle cars”, a hit in the 1970s. The Camaro was discontinued in 2002. A new model is expected in 2009.

 

 


Photo credit: GM. 

Hummer (1992). The Hummer became a symbol of the 1990s, the “SUV decade”, and its false hopes for the American automotive industry. Based on the military Humvee, the Hummer was launched in 1992 and bought from AM General Corporation to GM six years later. Due to very poor fuel economy, Hummer sales have been declining over the last few years. GM executives might decide to either sell or even kill the brand.

 

(1) Copyright:
Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed

Date created : 2008-09-15

COMMENT(S)