GM Celebrates Building their 500 Millionth Vehicle

General Motor’s headquarters in Detroit
General Motor’s headquarters in Detroit

In celebration of building their 500 millionth vehicle, GM CEO Mary Barra and GM North America and Global Chevrolet President Alan Batey announced that the brand will invest $174 million in new equipment and technology to support production of the 2016 Malibu in their Fairfax Assembly plant, located in Kansas.

Barra and Batey also celebrated the milestone by presenting the keys to a brand new 2016 Malibu to a wounded Iraqi war veteran. At this special event, they also announced that four more lucky customers will be given brand new cars over the next few days.

2015 marks 106 years that GM has been building vehicles. Let’s take a look at a bit of the company’s history, and some of the milestones along the road that helped them shape the auto industry, making them the third largest automaker in the world today.

General Motors: A Brief History

GM was founded as a holding company in 1908 by William C. Durant. Initially, GM held only the Buick Motor Company, but it quickly acquired over twenty companies, many of which may sound familiar to students attending mechanic college, such as Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Oakland (now known as Pontiac).

The brand quickly became an innovator in the automotive industry in a variety of ways. Here’s a look at a few key points along the General Motor’s remarkable lifeline:

1912: The first electric starters replaced all hand cranks on Cadillacs

1915: The first mass-produced V8 engine is introduced by Cadillac

1919: GM sold its 1 millionth vehicle

1921: Construction of the GM building in Detroit was completed

1954: GM builds its 50 millionth vehicle: a gold Chevrolet Bel-Air

1966: The arrival of the first modern American car with front-wheel drive: The Oldsmobile Tornado

1974: Air Bags were introduced for large Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac sedans

Aspiring automotive technicians know that GM’s design milestones continued into the 21st century with innovations such as the introduction of 4-wheel steering in GMC trucks, and new hybrid models.

GM Foresees Record Automotive Sales

Perhaps one of the most astounding things about General Motors is its ability grow larger despite having many setbacks along the way. GM has seen loss of shareholders, survived major stock market crashes and has had to recall a number of vehicles due to safety hazards, yet their future seems brighter than ever.

“During 2015, we expect to sell more than 1,000 new vehicles per hour, 24 hours per day,” stated Barra.

This adds up to nearly 10 million vehicles, the most in our history. I look at this extraordinary volume as 10 million opportunities to prove what kind of company we are and to say thank you.”

This foreshadowing is a hopeful tidbit that now is as good a time as any to pursue a career in auto mechanics!

As a future auto mechanic in training, where do you see GM in the next 100 years?

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