DETROIT, MI--When the first Chevrolet was built in 1911 in a rented garage near downtown Detroit, it began a journey that has taken Chevrolet to every corner of the planet. A hundred years and more than 209 million cars and trucks later, Chevrolet is one of the world's-largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries.
"For Chevrolet, the journey is just beginning," says Chris Perry, vice president, global marketing and strategy for Chevrolet. "Chevrolet starts its second century with its best product lineup ever and strong growth in major markets in Asia, Europe and South America.
"Our goal is to build on the foundation laid in our first hundred years to make Chevrolet a hometown brand in home towns around the world," says Perry.
Chevrolet is becoming GM's global mainstream brand, the foundation of the company's business in most major markets. In recent years, Chevrolet has expanded from its traditional markets in North and South America, and its list of Top 10 markets now includes China, Russia, Uzbekistan and India.
The brand today sells more than 60% of its vehicles outside the United States. Last year, Chevrolet sold a record 4.26 million cars and trucks, and was the only global automaker in the top five to grow its market share. This year, Chevrolet is on track for the best sales year in its 100-year history.
New, globally designed-and-produced models are behind Chevrolet's record growth. For example, the Chevrolet Cruze is on pace this year to mark 1 million in total sales since its launch. Cruze went on sale in the United States last year, and is the nation's best-selling compact car, surpassing all Asian, European, and U.S. competitors.
A Malibu sedan will launch this fall in South Korea, along with a global midsize Colorado pickup in Thailand. A Sonic subcompact (Aveo in global markets) goes on sale this fall in the United States, followed by the Spark mini-car in 2012.
Chevrolet was founded on building affordable cars and trucks with style, value and features not offered by competitors. For example, in 1955, Chevrolet re-engineered the V-8 engine in a way that made performance accessible to millions of new customers. The result was the small-block V-8.
This spirit of innovation continues today. A new Malibu Eco model will include eAssist technology that improves fuel economy by approximately 25%. Last year, the first Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle rolled off an assembly line near Detroit, combining electric power and a small range-extending gas engine. The Volt and Malibu are part of Chevrolet's global electrification strategy to reduce petroleum use and vehicle emissions.
Chevrolet was created in 1911 by auto pioneer and industrialist and William C. Durant and Swiss-born race car driver Louis Chevrolet. Durant believed Chevrolet should produce cars offering more value than the volume leaders of the time, most notably the Model T. Although both men had left GM by 1920, Chevrolet has stayed true to this vision.