General Motors has been the parent company of many brands throughout history. This corporation wasn’t intended to be what it has become today.

In 108, William C. Durant founded General Motors as a holding company for the Buick Car Company. It didn’t take long for Durant to bring many of the biggest and most prestigious names in the American automotive market into the GM fold. Some of these names included Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Oakland.

Let’s take a look at some of the names that have been part of the General Motors brands during the more than 100 years of the company’s history.

Durant lost control; then came back

A $15 million debt incurred through acquisitions caused Durant to lose control of GM in 1910. That didn’t stop him from starting the Chevrolet Motor Company a year later. Five years later, Durant returned to GM and brought Chevrolet with him, adding another longstanding name to the GM fold.

This was just the beginning of growth for the company as GM grabbed more automotive brands over the next ten years, growing into one of the largest automakers at that time.

What brands have been part of GM over the years?

It might surprise you to know that more than 40 names have been part of the General Motors brands. Here are the brands listed alphabetically, and the years they were part of GM:

  • Acadian (1962-1971)
  • Alpheon (2010-2015)
  • Asuna (1992-1994)
  • Baojun (2010-present)
  • Beaumont (1966-1969)
  • Bedford (1931-1991)
  • Buick (1899-present)
  • Cadillac (1902-present)
  • Cartecar (1905-1915)
  • Chevrolet (1911-present)
  • Daewoo (1937-2005)
  • Elmore (1893-1916)
  • Envoy (1959-1970)
  • Epic (1964-1970)
  • Ewing (1908-1911)
  • Geo (1989-1997)
  • GM (1996-2003)
  • GMC (1912-present)
  • Holden (1856-2020)
  • Hummer (1992-2010)
  • LaSalle (1927-1940)
  • Lotus (1948-present)
  • Maquette (1909-1912, 1929-1931)
  • McLaughlin (1907-1942)
  • Oakland (1907-1931)
  • Oldsmobile (1897-2004)
  • Opel (1899-present)
  • Passport (1988-1991)
  • Pontiac (1926-2010)
  • Rainier (1905-1911)
  • Rapid (1902-1912)
  • Ranger (1968-1978)
  • Reliance (1904-1912)
  • Saab (1945-2012)
  • Saturn (1985-2010)
  • Scripps-Booth (1913-1922)
  • Sheridan (1920-1921)
  • Vauxhall (1903-present)
  • Viking (1929-1930)
  • Welch (1901-1911)
  • Wuling (2007-present)
  • Yellow Cab (1920-1943)
  • Yellow Coach (1923-1943)

As you can see, some of the brands only lasted a few years, while others were longstanding names in the automotive industry. Also, you might notice a few names you’ve never heard of, which signals GM’s global reach.

GM was integral in the war effort

The Second World War brought the feeling of patriotism to the allies in many ways. Rationed food supplies were necessary to support military personnel fighting on the European and Asian fronts against Axis forces. This war also involved many companies transitioning from their traditional products to build military machinery. Instead of building cars for the General Motors brands, many factories began building war machines.

This meant GM became a major supplier of airplanes, trucks, and tanks. These efforts totaled more than $12 billion in machinery during the years of the war. President Roosevelt appointed former GM president William Knudsen as the chairman of the Office of Production Management, which meant a direct line to the GM production lines to build the many war machines that were necessary for the efforts abroad.

GM built many of the top machines of post-war America

After WWII, many Americans sought to enjoy road trips and driving experiences and required cars that could carry large families. Many of the top cars during the 1950s included the Buick Roadmaster, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet BelAir, and Cadillac El Dorado.

Not long after, the muscle car era began, and some of the top names came from GM. Some of these muscle car names were:

  • 1962 Pontiac Catalina Super Duty
  • 1965 Pontiac GTO Tri-Power
  • 1969 Chevrolet COPP 427 Camaro
  • 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS454
  • 1968 Chevrolet Nova SS
  • 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
  • 1967 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 1970 Buick GSX

Bankruptcy deleted some GM brands

One of the largest bankruptcies ever declared was by GM. This occurred on June 1, 2009, with the federal government requiring GM to cut some of the underperforming brands. This meant the end of Pontiac, which had struggled for several years to create vehicles that brought enough sales to keep the brand going.

Today, there are four major General Motors brands in America, with a few others sprinkled around the globe. Those four brands are Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC. Although these are the brands we’re familiar with, this company has had a history of bringing many brands under its purview and might continue to do so in the near future.

Which of the General Motors brands is your favorite? Is that brand still making cars under the GM umbrella, or do you simply have some fantastic memories of your first vehicle from that GM brand?

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