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Chevrolet, (colloquially Chevy) , is a brand of automobile, produced by General Motors. It is the top selling GM marque and the best known brand of General Motors worldwide, with "Chevrolet" or "Chevy" being at times synonymous for GM.
Chevrolet is General Motors' largest brand currently offering 19 vehicles and many different enhanced versions. The brand's vehicles range from compact cars to large SUVs. Its number one sellers include the Impala - which is the number one selling car with a domestic nameplate in the United States - and the Tahoe, the highest selling SUV.
In the North American market in 2005, a battle for bragging rights came about with Ford; both divisions needed strong sales performances as losses in the billions of dollars, market share losses, and recent announcements of factory closings and job cuts had become the norm. These losses have been linked in part to the questionable quality of American cars in recent years.
Chevrolet was co-founded by Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant. Louis Chevrolet was a racecar driver, born on December 25, 1878, in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. William Durant, founder of General Motors, had been forced out of GM in 1910 and wanted to use Louis Chevrolet's designs to rebuild his own reputation as a force in the automobile industry.
On November 3, 1911, Chevrolet entered the automobile market to compete with the Ford Model T. A year later, the "Classic Six" was introduced. The Classic Six was a five-passenger touring sedan equipped with a 299 in3 (4.9 L), six-cylinder engine capable of taking the car to a top speed of 65 miles per hour (104 km/h).
Chevrolet first used its "bowtie" logo in 1913. This logo is said to have been designed from wallpaper Durant once saw in a French hotel.
In 1916, Chevrolet was profitable enough to allow Durant to buy a majority of shares in GM. After the deal was complete in 1917, Durant was president of General Motors, and Chevrolet was merged into GM, becoming a separate division. In the 1955 model year Chevrolet introduced the small block V8 engine, the most famous and versatile V8 engine ever produced. It came out with 265 cubic inches and was offered in three versions. The basic 265 had a two-barrel carburetor and was rated at 165 H.P. Horsepower was increased to 185 with the addition of a four-barrel carburetor, and an underrated 195 HP version, called the "power pack" had a high lift solid lifter cam, high compression heads, and dual exhaust. This engine became a hit with hot rodders and almost overnight became the engine of choice replacing the flathead Ford engine as the hot rodders preferred motor. In 1955 the 265 cubic inch engine was the smallest V8 engine offered by the big three U.S. automakers, however, no other U.S. car could out perform it. A Chevy equipped with the power pack engine and a three-speed manual shift transmission would go from zero to 60 in 8.4 seconds, an astonishing feat for the time. Because his engine was placed in production only fifteen weeks after authorization was given by management, the engineers did not have the necessary time to do the proper dynamometer testing and rate its horsepower prior to release. The untested engine rated at 185 H.P. when released in 1955 but was rated at 205 H.P. in 1956 after dynamometer testing. Because of its exceptional breathing ability a 225 H.P. option was available by adding two four-barrel carbs. The power pack engine for 1956 also had two four-barrel carburetors and was rated at 245 H.P. In 1957 the carburetors were replaced with fuel injectors, the engine displacement was increased to 283 cu. in., and the engine was fitted with heads with larger ports and bigger valves. Rated at 283 H.P., this was the first engine offered by U.S. auto manufactures to produce 1 H.P. per cubic inch. This rating, however, was again incorrect due to delayed production schedules for the Rochester fuel injection unit. After proper dynamometer testing, it was rated at 290 H.P. in 1958. Enthusiasts affectionately called this engine the "fuelie."
Famous Chevy models include the large and luxurious Impala (1958) and the innovative air-cooled rear-engined Corvair (1960 - 1969.) Chevrolet had a great influence on the American automobile market during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1963, one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.
In markets outside North America, the Chevrolet brand name has been used on other GM models.
Historically, many Latin American-market vehicles from GM were modified derivatives of older models from GM's North American and European operations. The current S10 and Blazer exemplify this strategy. However, more modern vehicles are now being marketed as market conditions change and competition increases.
In Brazil, the Chevrolet Opala was based on the German Opel Rekord from the late 1960s, continuing in production until the early 1990s, when it was replaced by a version of the Opel Omega. Other smaller Chevrolets in Brazil, such as the Kadett and Monza, were based on the Opel Kadett and Ascona respectively. Chevrolet's product line-up in Brazil now comprises some exclusive designs like the Corsa "B" based Celta sold in Argentina under the Suzuki brand, the Astra, and a brand new, Brazilian designed Vectra based on the current Opel Astra, while the current Corsa is built and the Omega name is now used on the Holden Commodore. Utility and four wheel drive vehicles line-up includes the S10, the Blazer, and the Montana. The Montana is a compact pickup truck that is also sold in other Latin American markets. From the 1960s to the mid-1980s, there was also a large station wagon, derived from the C10 truck (somewhat similar to the Suburban), called the Veraneio.
Chile has Chevrolet factorys since 1990.
In Argentina (whose factory was opened in Rosario in 1995), the models are the same Opels made in Brazil, along with the S-10, Blazer, and Avalanche. Chevrolet had a presence in Argentina since the 1960s where it locally produced the Chevy II (sold in Argentina as the Chevrolet 400 or Chevy), but it stopped its operations in 1978, due to high inflation.
In Mexico, some of these Opel-sourced Chevrolet models are sold alongside US models. An example is regarding the Vectra. While the Brazilian Vectra is derived from the current Astra, the Mexican Vectra is actually the current Vectra as sold in Europe. Mexico also has some cars of its own, such as the Chevy C2, which is a reworked last-generation Corsa, the Sonora (which is a re-badged Tahoe), and the Cheyenne (which is similar to the Silverado but is as different as the Sonora is to the Suburban).
Chevrolet has been operating in Ecuador for 80 years. GM Ecuador sells US Chevrolets alongside GM-Daewoo and Opel sourced models. It also sells the 1983 Suzuki Supercarry under the Chevrolet name.
In South Africa, Chevrolet was GM's main brand name until 1982, with a number of Vauxhall Motors and Holden derivatives being built under the Chevy name from 1964. In the 1960s, the advertising jingle "braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and Chevrolet" (similar to Holden's 1970s "Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden cars") came to epitomise the ideal lifestyle of white male South Africans. Originally, Chevrolets were CKD kits of American Chevys assembled in their plant in Port Elizabeth. However, since South Africa was right-hand drive and the US was left-hand drive, along with encouragement by the South African government to use local content, Chevrolets such as the Biscayne were eventually made entirely in South Africa, along with GM's "own car for South Africa": the Ranger. By the 1970s, South African Chevrolets like the Kommando and Constantia were based on Australian Holden models like the Kingswood, while the Firenza was based on the Vauxhall Viva. The Chevrolet Nomad sold in South Africa was entirely different from the Nomad sold in America; whereas the American Nomad was originally conceived as a station wagon version of the Corvette and eventually became the station wagon version of the Bel Air, the South African Nomad was an SUV of truck proportions before SUVs were popular.
However, these were replaced by Opel models like the Rekord, Commodore, and Senator, and in 1982 the Chevrolet brand name was dropped in favor of Opel. Because of the political climate at the time, GM decided to disinvest from South Africa and a local group eventually bought out GM's South African operations (including the Port Elizabeth plant) and renamed the company as the Delta Motors Corporation. They concentrated heavily on Opels, Isuzus, and Suzukis. However, thanks to an improved political climate in the 1990s, GM decided to reenter South Africa, eventually buying out the whole of Delta Motors Corporation. Even more news arrived for Chevrolet. In 2001, the Chevrolet name made a comeback, used on the Lumina, a rebadged Holden Commodore, and later on, on the Daewoo range of cars. Current Chevrolets include the Spark (a rebadged Daewoo Matiz), Aveo, Optra, the Lumina (including a pickup version), and the Vivant, an MPV that is a rebadged version of the Daewoo Tacuma.
Chevrolet Europe is a Swiss-based firm (in Zurich) that sells the rebranded products of GM Daewoo.
Until 2005, Chevrolet Europe sold a few models, mostly United States domestic market (USDM) models modified to suit European regulations. Among them were the Chevrolet Alero (which was a rebadged Oldsmobile Alero) and the Chevrolet Trans Sport (which was a Chevrolet Venture with the front end of the Pontiac Trans Sport). Among other models sold by Chevrolet Europe were the Camaro, the Corvette, and the Blazer.
It was in 2005 that all the mainstream models from Daewoo were rebranded as Chevrolet in Europe (The ownership of the SUV models in the former Daewoo range had reverted back to ownership of Ssangyong by this time). However the Daewoo name was retained in South Korea and Vietnam. In the rest of the world, most Daewoo models have worn the Chevrolet badge since 2003. Exceptions include the use of the Suzuki badge in the US and Canada, the Pontiac badge in Canada, the Holden badge in Australia and New Zealand, and the Buick badge in China for certain Daewoo models. The 2007 Chevrolet Captiva crossover SUV will be the first Europe-only model for the marque.
The North American-assembled Tahoe and TrailBlazer are also officially marketed in very limited numbers in Western Europe by Kroymans Corporation, based in the Netherlands. The TrailBlazer is also officially marketed in limited numbers in Japan by Suzuki, which also markets the Chevrolet Optra wagon.
Since 2005, Corvette has been its own premium brand in Western Europe, sold alongside Cadillacs.
The Holden Commodore is badged as the Chevrolet Lumina in Thailand and the Middle East, as well as South Africa.
In Pakistan, Chevrolet introduced its cars in collaboration with a local automobile manufacturer called Nexus Automotive. The current models available are the Chevrolet Optra and most recently the newly announced Chevrolet Joy. As of December 2005, the Chevrolet Joy is being assembled indigenously in Pakistan.
Chevrolet is among the newest brands in India launched by GM's Indian operations. Until June 6, 2003 (the official birthday of Chevrolet), GM India (which was originally a joint venture with Hindustan Motors) sold the Opel Corsa, Opel Astra, and the Opel Vectra. The Corsa and Astra were built at a plant in Halol, Gujarat. Since then, Chevrolet currently sells the Chevrolet Optra, Chevrolet Tavera, and the Chevrolet Forester. The Forester is imported directly from Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan, where it is sold as a Subaru. The Optra and Tavera are built at the Halol plant.
The American-built Chevrolet Colorado pickup is also manufactured in Rayong, Thailand.
General Motors is currently exploring cost cutting options as part of its restructuring plan. One of these options involve expanding the Rayong, Thailand plant to add additional capacity to export Colorado's to the U.S. This would allow the Shreveport, Lousiana plant to be closed (where the Colorado is also produced).1968 El Camino Was built in Baltimore Maryland
Future products
The Chevrolet brand is currently undergoing a product restructuring along with all other GM brands in order to fit into the parent company's turnaround efforts. Entirely new versions of the Malibu sedan are expected to be introduced in 2008 as a result of these efforts. The upcoming designs are expected to have more intriguing features than current models. The brand will also reintroduce its Camaro muscle car on its new Zeta platform designed, in alliance, with GM Holden Australia. Though there is no official date, insiders predict an arrival as early as 2008.
Chevrolet Models
Vehicles | Category
Cars/Minivans: Aveo | Camaro | Cobalt | Corvette | HHR | Impala | Malibu | Monte Carlo | Uplander
Trucks/SUVs/Vans: Avalanche | Colorado | Equinox | Express | Silverado | SSR | Suburban | Tahoe | TrailBlazer
Current/Future (Europe):
Matiz/Spark | Kalos/Aveo | Lacetti/Nubira | Evanda | Epica | Tacuma (Rezzo) | Captiva
Aveo | Lumina | Lumina Ute | Optra | Spark