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General Motors Company History Timeline


Under Billy Durant's leadership, General Motors Company was founded on September 16, 1908.

GM's first acquisition was Buick, which Durant already owned, then Oldsmobile on November 12, 1908.

General Motors was founded in 1908 by William "Billy" Durant, who had started out as a manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles.

General Motors (GM) was formed in 1908 as a holding company for Buick.

William C. Durant founded General Motors in 1908.

Durant formed the General Motors Company in 1908 as a holding company, with partner Charles Stewart Mott.


By the time 1909 rolled around, General Motors had purchased a half interest in Oakland Motor Car Co.

Fortunately for the Ford Motor Company (1909), William Durant was denied a "buy-out loan" of $9.5 million by his bankers.


In 1910, Durant lost control of the company to a banker’s trust as a result of the $15 million debt incurred through its acquisitions.


Durant’s leadership ended in 1920 after another bank buyout.

Sloan balanced individual and centralized management and under his control GM surpassed Ford in sales by the late 1920s.


In 1925, Ethyl Gasoline Corporation was formed by General Motors and Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.


He created the 1927 Cadillac LaSalle.


The year 1929 also put GM in the pilot seat.

A worldwide reach and the Depression By the time of the stock market downfall (Black Thursday, 1929), and the following Great Depression, GM had become known worldwide.


The firm prospered, however, and went on to purchase the internal combustion engine railcar builder Electro-Motive Corporation and its engine supplier, Winton Engine, in 1930.


In 1940, former GM president William Knudsen was appointed by President Roosevelt as chairman of the new wartime Office of Production Management.


Throughout the next three decades, GM maintained its world leadership in revenue and market share, though it suffered some setbacks in terms of quality problems and vehicle defects. Its iconic Corvette was introduced in 1953.


By 1955, General Motors was the first company in America to make more than $1 billion in a single year.


General Motors grew in prominence surpassing Ford Motors selling just over 50% of car sales in 1962.


In 1971, GM pioneered the use of engines that could run on low-lead or unleaded petrol.


Two years later it was the first to offer a car with an air bag and in 1974, it introduced the catalytic converter to reduce emissions.


In 1995, annual vehicle sales outside North America exceeded 3m units for the first time, while 5m vehicles were sold in the US and GM embarked on its first joint venture in China.


On June 1, 2009, the company declared bankruptcy and received assistance from the federal government, emerging from bankruptcy in under 40 days as General Motors Company.

GM emerged from government backed Chapter 11 reorganization after an initial filing on June 8, 2009.

On July 10, 2009, following Chapter 11 reorganization after an initial filing on June 8, 2009, the original General Motors sold assets and some subsidiaries to an entirely new company including the trademark General Motors.

Also in 2009 General Motors of Canada Limited was not part of the General Motors Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the company shed several brands, closing Saturn, Pontiac, and Hummer, while selling Saab Automobile to Dutch automaker Spyker, and emerged from a government-backed Chapter 11 reorganization.


In 2010, the reorganized GM made an initial public offering that was one of the world's top five largest IPOs to date, and returned to profitability later that year.


On December 9, 2013 the United States government got out of the auto business, selling its remaining shares of GM stock.

Through the Troubled Asset Relief Program the US Treasury invested $49.5 billion in General Motors and recovered $39 billion when it sold its shares on December 9, 2013, resulting in a loss of $10.3 billion.


The Treasury invested an additional $17.2 billion into GM's former financing company, GMAC (now Ally). The shares in Ally were sold on December 18, 2014, for $19.6 billion netting $2.4 billion.


One day later, GM became the first automaker to appoint a female CEO. Mary Barra was elected chairman of the board in 2016.


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Company Founded
Detroit, MI
Company Headquarter
Charles Mott,Frederic Smith,William Durant
Company Founders
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General Motors may also be known as or be related to General Motors, General Motors Co, General Motors Company, General Motors Corporation, General Motors Foundation, Inc. and general motors powertrain.