North American history
Chevrolet was founded by Louis Chevrolet (Swiss-French) and William C. Durant (American). Louis Chevrolet was a race-car driver, and William Durant, founder of General Motors, had been forced out of GM in 1910. He wanted to use Chevrolet's designs to rebuild his own reputation as a force in the automobile industry. As head of Buick Motor Company, prior to founding GM, Durant had hired Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races.
Chevrolet first used its "bowtie" logo in 1913. It is said to have been designed from wallpaper Durant once saw in a French hotel. Another theory is that it is a stylized version either of the shape of Switzerland or the cross on the flag of Switzerland, Louis Chevrolet's birthplace.
In 1915, Durant was in the process of setting up Chevrolet production facilities in Toronto, Canada. Later that year, during a luncheon meeting in New York with "Colonel Sam" McLaughlin, whose McLaughlin Motor Car Company manufactured McLaughlin-Buick cars, it was agreed that Chevrolets with McLaughlin-designed bodies would be added to the Canadian company's product line. Three years later, the two Canadian operations (Chevrolet was by then a part of GM in the United States) were bought by GM to become General Motors of Canada Ltd.
By 1916, Chevrolet was profitable enough to allow Durant to buy a majority of shares in GM. After the deal was completed in 1917, Durant was president of General Motors, and Chevrolet was merged into GM, becoming a separate division. In the 1918 model year, Chevrolet introduced the Model D, a V8-powered model in four-passenger roadster and five-passenger tourer models. These cars had 288in3 35hp (26kW) engines with Zenith carburetors and three-speed transmissions.
Famous Chevy models include the large and luxurious Impala (1958) and the innovative air-cooled rear-engined Corvair. Chevrolet had a great influence on the American automobile market during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1957, Chevy made the first fuel injected engine. In 1963, one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.