Get information, facts and other interesting trivia about General Motors, one of the oldest and longest-running automobile giants in the United States:
General Motors named Mary Barra as CEO in January 2014. This made Barra the first woman to be appointed in charge of a major car maker. Barra is a graduate of electrical engineering at Kettering University, formerly known as General Motors Institute.
Durant (1861-1947) was then in the horse-carriage business and was in fact highly skeptical about cars at first because of their safety issues. However, he eventually realized the cars’ potential as a big money-maker. He saw that an opportunity for a new business by making safety improvements on the then-novel mode of transportation.
GM was responsible for creating the Lunar Roving Vehicle, aka the Moon Buggy, which was successfully used during the Apollo 15 mission.
Being the pioneer automobile maker in the world, it is not at all surprising that General Motors came up with the most important firsts. These include the first air conditioning system, the first fully automatic transmission, the first to install turn signals (they are now one of the standard parts of the car), and the first mechanical heart pump. Plus they were the first car maker to reach $1 billion in sales, in 1955.
General Motors was then Buick’s holding company. However, Durant made a decision to branch out on his own, which turned out to be a wise one.
Durant attempted to buy out rival car maker Ford in 1907. But the bid didn’t turn out well, as Henry Ford still stood firm on being paid in cash.
Another first from Ford is the “hybrid” car, a car that runs on a traditional gasoline motor and an electric motor. GM was interested in contributing to green energy, that’s why it was working on a hydrogen cell hybrid car. But the board of directors rejected this project outright And maybe the big oil companies too, who didn’t want (and still don’t) any gas-less vehicles as they would hurt their sales.
In 1939, Buick (now the upscale cars brand division of General Motors) was the first one to introduce the world’s first turn signals. They were activated by the driver let or warn the other drivers or pedestrians that the vehilce was about to make a turn.
Rollover testing is now a standard practice when doing a car crash test. GM was the firts one to conduct rollover testing in 1934.
Unlike what the rival car makers have claimed, the undisputed fact is that GM was the first to invent electric fuel invention, in 1979.
GM also invented the anti-lock braking system in 1972, the world’s first. This feature keeps the wheels from locking up while breaking.