Today on September 16, 1908, William Durant founded the iconic General Motors Company in Flint, Michigan.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, it’s estimated there were only 8,000 automobiles in North America. Durant had originally founded Buick first and created General Motors Company as a holding company for future acquisitions. In that same year, the company purchased Oldsmobile and went on to acquire Cadillac, Elmore, and Oakland in the following year.
Within two years, Durant was fired and lost control of General Motors to a bankers’ trust because of the excessive debt the company took on in its acquisitions. In 1911, he founded a new automobile company, Chevrolet Motor Car Company. He slowly (and secretly) began purchasing GM shares and eventually gained a controlling interest in the company. He then took back full control over the company in one of the most dramatic proxy wars in American business history.
In 1916, he merged General Motors with Chevrolet, however his glorious comeback story did not last long. The new vehicle market was collapsing due to WWI and Durant again lost control (and for good this time). The car company eventually emerged from its post-war struggles, growing into the iconic auto manufacturing brand we know today. General Motors now employs over 200,000 workers and generates over $160 billion in global revenue.