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On This Day In History: GM Buys Oakland Motor Car Corp. in 1909.
In Pontiac, Michigan, Edward Murphy founded the Oakland Motor Car in 1907, which began producing horse-drawn carriages. After a year had hardly passed, General Motors was founded by another former buggy executive, William Durant in Flint, Michigan.
The Oakland history had three distinct years. During 1907 – 1917 it began as an independent and somewhat successful company that was bought by General Motors (GM). At this time the partnership was beneficial and helped its continual development and popularity with the public.
Throughout the 1918-1923 time frame, it was a tragic time for GM to have its named tied to the company. It became apparent the company was known as an unreliable and unattractive production of cars. The merciless end came for Oakland between 1924-1931, because GM’s Pontiac division began to steel the stage light and this eventually led to the Oakland name being kicked the curb and the expansion of the Pontiac division.
Pontiac thrived after leaving its predictable sedan models in the 1960s and focused on the need for speed, sporty-muscular cars. The first successful models included the GTO (considered the first classic muscle car) and Firebird, both developed by auto maverick John DeLorean.
The New York Times reported Pontiac now stood for “performance, speed and sex appeal.”
But, GM faced its own financial troubles in 2008 after celebrating its 100th birthday. Toyota took the crown for most vehicles sold in a fiscal year while GM’s numbers stalled and the economy took a wrong turn straight into the dumps. It inevitably was forced to ask the federal government for a multi-billion-dollar loan in order to keep its doors open and production lines flowing.
And GM got the loan.
The company now sells vehicles through the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands.
Since filing for bankruptcy, General Motors is now worth more than ever before. According to an article, GM earned $22.6 billion and the taxpayers suffered a $10.6 billion before the U.S. Treasury issued its $49.5 billion bailout in December 2008.
“Our goal was never to make a profit but to stabilize the auto industry,” said one Treasury official on background the day it sold its final GM shares. “By any measure, we succeeded.” (1)