Company: History & Heritage

Acceleration: 1910-1929

Earlier inventions such as the electric light bulb, the telephone, and the radio marked a new era of possibilities. In particular, the automobile sent the imagination racing and expanded the horizon upon which people could dream. As demand for automobiles grew to unexpected heights in the 1920s, General Motors set the pace of production, design, and marketing innovation for others to follow.

Adding Chevrolet, Vauxhall and Opel, diversified the selection and added to the reach of GM. With the philosophy and strategy of “a car for every purse and purpose,” and a series of landmark innovations that changed the automobile itself, GM’s vehicles went beyond transportation, becoming statements and aspirations in their own right. During these years GM also opened more than a dozen new plants outside the United States.

The milestone 1927 Cadillac LaSalle, with curves rather than sharp corners and a long, low stance, made people see cars as far more than just a mode of transport. Designed by Harley Earl, the LaSalle was a world apart from the high and boxy Ford Model T, marking the beginning of true automotive design. Earl would head GM’s design studio until his retirement in 1959.