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The General Motors Company (GM) is an American multinationalautomotive manufacturing company headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, United States. It is the largest automaker in the United States and was the largest in the world for 77 years before losing the top spot to Toyota in 2008.
In 1920, du Pont orchestrated the removal of Durant once again and replaced him with Alfred P. Sloan. At a time when GM was competing heavily with Ford Motor Company, Sloan established annual model changes, making previous years' models "dated" and created a market for used cars. He also implemented the pricing strategy used by all car companies today. The pricing strategy had Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac priced from least expensive to most, respectively.
In 1921, Thomas Midgley Jr., an engineer for GM, discovered tetraethyllead (leaded gasoline) as an antiknock agent, and GM patented the compound because ethanol could not be patented. This led to the development of higher compression engines resulting in more power and efficiency. The public later realized that lead contained in the gasoline was harmful to various biological organisms including humans. Evidence shows that corporate executives understood the health implications of tetraethyllead from the beginning. As an engineer for GM, Midgley also developed chlorofluorocarbons, which have now been banned due to their contribution to climate change.
In 1926, the company introduced the Pontiac brand and established the General Motors Group Insurance Program to provide life insurance to its employees. The following year, after the success of the 1927 model of the CadillacLasalle designed by Harley Earl, Sloan created the "Art and Color Section" of GM and named Earl as its first director. Earl was the first design executive to be appointed to leadership at a major American corporation. Earl created a system of automobile design that is still practiced today. At the age of 24, Bill Mitchell was recruited by Harley Earl to the design team at GM, and he was later appointed as Chief Designer of Cadillac. After Earl retired in December 1958, Mitchell took over automotive design for GM.
GM acquired Allison Engine Company and began developing a 1,000 horsepower liquid-cooled aircraft engine in 1929. The same year, GM acquired 80% of Opel, which at that time had a 37.5% market share in Europe, for $26 million. It acquired the remaining 20% in 1931.
The GM labor force participated in the formation of the United Auto Workerslabor union in 1935, and in 1936 the UAW organized the Flint Sit-Down Strike, which initially idled two key plants in Flint, Michigan, and later spread to 6 other plants including those in Janesville, Wisconsin and Fort Wayne, Indiana. In Flint, police attempted to enter the plant to arrest strikers, leading to violence; in other cities, the plants were shuttered peacefully. The strike was resolved on February 11, 1937, when GM recognized the UAW as the exclusive bargaining representative for its workers and gave workers a 5% raise and permission to speak in the lunchroom.
GM released the Electrovan in 1966, the first hydrogen fuel cell car ever produced. Though fuel cells have existed since the early 1800s, General Motors was the first to use a fuel cell, supplied by Union Carbide, to power the wheels of a vehicle with a budget of "millions of dollars".
An advertisement for the 1969 Chevrolet Nova using the advertising slogan "Putting you first, keeps us first"
GM sold Frigidaire in 1979. Although Frigidaire had between $450 million and $500 million in annual revenues, it was losing money.
Robert Lee of GM invented the Fe14Nd2B permanent magnet, which was fabricated by rapid solidification, in 1984. The same year, GM acquired Electronic Data Systems for $2.5 billion from Ross Perot as part of a strategy by CEO Roger Smith to derive at least 10% of its annual worldwide revenue from non-automotive sources. GM also intended to have EDS handle its bookkeeping, help computerize factories, and integrate GM's computer systems. The transaction made Ross Perot the largest shareholder of GM; however, disagreements with Roger Smith led the company to buy all shares held by Ross Perot for $750 million in 1986.
In a continuation of its diversification plans, GMAC formed GMAC Mortgage and acquired Colonial Mortgage as well as the servicing arm of Norwest Mortgage in 1985. This acquisition included an $11 billion mortgage portfolio. The same year, GM acquired the Hughes Aircraft Company for $5 billion in cash and stock, and merged it into Delco Electronics. The following year, GM acquired 59.7% of Lotus Cars, a British producer of high-performance sports cars.
In 1987, in conjunction with AeroVironment, GM built the Sunraycer, which won the inaugural World Solar Challenge and was a showcase of advanced technology. Much of the technology from Sunraycer found its way into the Impact prototype electric vehicle (also built by Aerovironment) and was the predecessor to the General Motors EV1.
In 1990, GM debuted the General Motors EV1 (Impact) concept, a battery electric vehicle, at the LA Auto Show. It was the first car with zero emissions marketed in the US in over three decades. The Impact was produced as the EV1 for the 1996 model year and was available only via lease from certain dealers in California and Arizona. In 1999-2002, GM ceased production of the vehicles and started to not renew the leases, disappointing many people, allegedly because the program would not be profitable and would cannibalize its existing business. All of the EV1s were eventually returned to General Motors, and except for around 40 which were donated to museums with their electric powertrains deactivated, all were destroyed. The documentary film Who Killed the Electric Car? covered the EV1 story.
GM paid $2 billion to sever its ties with Fiat in 2005, severing ties with the company due to an increasingly contentious dispute.
GM began adding its "Mark of Excellence" emblem on all new vehicles produced and sold in North America in mid-2005. However, after the reorganization in 2009, the company no longer added the logo, saying that emphasis on its four core divisions would downplay the GM logo.
In 2005, Edward T. Welburn was promoted to the newly created position of vice president, GM Global Design, making him the first African American to lead a global automotive design organization and the highest-ranking African American in the US motor industry at that time. On July 1, 2016, he retired from General Motors after 44 years. He was replaced by Michael Simcoe.
In 2008, General Motors committed to engineering half of its manufacturing plants to be landfill-free. In order to achieve its landfill-free status, production waste is recycled or reused in the manufacturing process. Continuing their environmental-conscious development, GM started to offer the 2-mode hybrid system in the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade, and pickup trucks.
In late 2008, the world's largest rooftop solar power installation was installed at GM's manufacturing plant in Zaragoza. The Zaragoza solar installation has about 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of roof at the plant and contains about 85,000 solar panels. The installation was created, owned and operated by Veolia Environment and Clairvoyant Energy, which leases the rooftop area from GM.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy and bailout
In March 2009, after the company had received $17.4 billion in bailouts but was not effective in a turnaround, President Barack Obama forced the resignation of CEO Rick Wagoner.
General Motors filed for a government-backed Chapter 11 reorganization on June 8, 2009. On July 10, 2009, the original General Motors sold assets and some subsidiaries to an entirely new company, including the trademark "General Motors". Liabilities were left with the original GM, renamed Motors Liquidation Company, freeing the companies of many liabilities and resulting in a new GM.
Through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the United States Department of the Treasury invested $49.5 billion in General Motors and recovered $39 billion when it sold its shares on December 9, 2013, resulting in a loss of $10.3 billion. The Treasury invested an additional $17.2 billion into GM's former financing company, GMAC (now Ally Financial). The shares in Ally were sold on December 18, 2014, for $19.6 billion netting the government $2.4 billion in profit, including dividends. A study by the Center for Automotive Research found that the GM bailout saved 1.2 million jobs and preserved $34.9 billion in tax revenue.
In 2012, PSA Group and General Motors formed an alliance, and GM acquired 7% of PSA Group. The ownership was divested on December 13, 2013, generating gross proceeds of EUR250 million.
On July 2, 2013, GM and Honda announced a partnership to develop fuel cell systems and hydrogen storage technologies for the 2020 time frame. GM and Honda are leaders in fuel cell technology, ranking first and second, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, with more than 1,200 between them according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index.
In late 2013, after losing approximately $18 billion over 12 years, GM began phasing out mainstream sales of Chevrolet in Europe and finished by late 2015 to focus on Opel/Vauxhall. The Chevrolet brand had been reintroduced in Europe in 2005, selling mostly rebranded Daewoo Motors cars acquired by GM Korea.
In October 2017, GM acquired Strobe, a solid state LIDAR company. Strobe's prototypes produce brief "chirps" of frequency-modulated (FM) laser light, where the frequency within each chirp varies linearly. Measuring the phase and frequency of the echoing chirp allows the system to directly measure both the distance and the velocity of objects on the road ahead. Strobe, Cruise, and GM will work together to develop the technology for future self-driving cars.
In October 2018, Honda invested $2.75 billion in GM's self-driving car unit, including an initial investment of $275 million, followed by $2 billion within a year.
In November 2018, GM announced it would lay off more than 14,000 employees in North America, comprising 15% of its workforce and 25% of its executive staff in the region. The company ceased production at three assemblies: Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Michigan and Oshawa in Canada and two engine/transmission (White Marsh, Maryland, and Warren, Michigan) plants in 2019.
In May 2019, General Motors received pushback on its plan to release a fleet of up to 2,500 modified Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles. The company planned to release these vehicles by Q4 of 2019 as part of initiatives to build a controlled self-driving fleet.
In April 2020, the company shut down Maven, a car-sharing service in the United States.
In September 2020, GM announced a partnership with Nikola Corporation to engineer and manufacture the Nikola Badger, and GM made an equity investment in Nikola. The Badger will use GM's Ultium battery technology, and GM will be an exclusive fuel cell supplier for all of Nikola's class 7/8 trucks. Following fraud allegations from short-sellerHindenburg Research concerning the mechanical capabilities of the Badger pickup truck along with separate sexual misconduct allegations involving former CEO Trevor Milton, GM scaled back its investment with Nikola via a smaller revised deal.
In September 2020, GM and Honda announced an alliance to cooperate on purchasing, research, and vehicle development.
In November 2020, GM committed to increased capital investment in electric vehicles to over half of new capital expenditures, totalling $27 billion over five years.
On January 8, 2021, GM introduced a new logo alongside a tagline "EVerybody in", with the capitalized "EV" as a nod to the company's commitment to electric vehicles. GM's new logo used negative space to create the idea of an electric plug in the "M" of the logo.
In 2021, GM announced plans to establish an automotive battery and battery pack laboratory in Michigan. GM will be responsible for battery management systems and power electronics, thermal management, as well as the pack assembly. An existing GM facility at Brownstown Township was chosen to be upgraded as a battery pack plant. LG Chem's U.S. subsidiary, Compact Power of Troy, Michigan, has been building the prototype packs for the development vehicles and will continue to provide integration support and act as a liaison for the program.
in April 2021, after being criticized for not advertising enough in black-owned businesses, General Motors said that it will spend 2% of 2021's advertising budget in Black-owned media and 4% in 2022 until reaching 8% in 2025.
In April 2021, GM announced a joint venture with LG, to build a $2.3 billion plant to build batteries for electric vehicles.
In November 2021, GM acquired a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, a producer of all-electric boats.
General Motors has launched the largest investment project in its home state of Michigan, announcing plans to invest $7 billion to convert a plant to produce electric cars and build a new battery plant. Besides that General Motors has announced investment of $154 million into its Western New York Lockport Components plant.
In August 2022, the company announced that it would reinstate its quarterly dividend at a rate of 9 cents per share, compared to 38 cents per share when it was first cut in April 2020, and increase its share buyback program to $5 billion from $3.3 billion.
Also in August 2022, the company announced that it would offer buyouts to the roughly 2,000 Buick dealers in the US that didn't want to make investments as the company switches to an all-electric lineup. This move came after a similar move with Cadillac dealers that reduced their presence by about a third.
In September 2022, the firm announced it would introduce an electric version of its popular Chevy Equinox in the third quarter of 2023, priced around $30,000 to leave it less expensive than comparable vehicles. This move was another step in the firm's decision to go all-electric.
In October 2022, the company announced the creation of GM Energy, a new unit that would provide battery packs, EV chargers, and software to help residential and business customers to help with charging and electrical grid disruptions. Offerings would be tailored to specifics homes and businesses. At the time of the announcement, the company said some products would be provided by third party partners.
Other international history
For the Chinese market, most of its cars are manufactured within China. Shanghai GM, a joint venture with the Chinese company SAIC Motor, was created with Canadian Regal 1990 on March 25, 1997. The Shanghai GM plant was officially opened on December 15, 1998, when the first Chinese-built Buick came off the assembly line. The SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile joint-venture is also selling microvans under the Wuling brand (34% owned by GM).
Buick is strong in China from its early introduction by the Canadian Buick sold to the last Emperor of China, later being led by the Buick Regal 1990 subcompact. The last emperor of China owned a Buick.
The Cadillac brand was introduced in China in 2004, starting with exports to China. GM pushed the marketing of the Chevrolet brand in China in the mid-2000s as well. As part of this push, GM transferred Buick Sail to that brand as an attempt to appeal to Chinese middle-class buyers looking for small and affordable cars.
In August 2009, FAW-GM, a joint venture between GM and FAW Group that mainly produced FAW Jiefang light-duty trucks, was formed. GM left the joint venture in 2019, and the Jiefang brand is now wholly owned by FAW.
GM maintains a dealership presence in Japan, called GM Chevrolet Shop, previously known as GM Auto World Shop. Current GM Japan dealerships were either former Saturn dealerships or Isuzu dealership locations. GM products are also currently sold by the company Yanase Co., Ltd. since 1915.
In August 2011, GM announced plans to build a $150 million 190,300 square-foot plant in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, which would produce 40,000 passenger cars per year for the Southeast Asian market. The plant opened on March 11, 2013. The plant was shut in 2015.
GM withdrew the Chevrolet brand from Indonesia in March 2020. However, GM will continue to sell the Wuling and Baojun badged vehicles in Indonesia through the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture.
In 1928, GM became the first car maker to manufacture cars in India. GM entered the market for the second time in 1996. The older Halol, Gujarat plant, with a capacity of 50,000 units, stopped production on April 28, 2017, and was sold to MG Motor India. GM continues to manufacture cars for the export market from its Talegaon Dhamdhere, Maharashtra plant, which has a capacity of 160,000 units annually.
In February 2020, GM discontinued the Chevrolet brand in Thailand. GM withdrew from the Thai market and sold its Rayong plant to Great Wall Motors.
GM has a long history in Egypt which began in the 1920s with the assembly of cars and light pickup trucks for the local market. In the mid of the 1950s, GM withdrew from the Egyptian market. Some years later, the Ghabbour Brothers began to assemble Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Buick models up to the 1990s.
In the 1920s, Miller Brothers Nigeria was founded as an importer of commercial vehicles of the Bedford brand in the country. In 1949, the company opened its own assembly plant and operated under the name Niger/Nigeria Motors. In 1965 the plant and its distribution network were split into different companies and renamed Federated Motors Industries. In 1991 the company was taken in by a joint venture between General Motors and UACN of Nigeria.
Formed in 1975, General Motors East Africa (GMEA) was the largest assembler of commercial vehicles in the region, exporting them from Kenya to East and Central African countries, including Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda and Burundi. Its facility located in Nairobi assembled a wide range of Isuzu trucks and buses, including the popular Isuzu N-Series versatile light commercial vehicle, TF Series pick-ups, and Isuzu bus chassis. In addition to assembly, GMEA also marketed the Chevrolet Spark and Optra. In 2017, GM sold its 57.7% stake in General Motors East Africa to Isuzu, and GMEA was renamed Isuzu East Africa Limited.
General Motors began operating in South Africa in 1913 through its wholly owned subsidiary, General Motors South Africa, and was a market that briefly had its own local brand, Ranger. Following the passage of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986, GM was forced to divest from South Africa, and GMSA became the independent Delta Motor Corporation. GM purchased a 49% stake in Delta in 1997 following the end of apartheid and acquired the remaining 51% in 2004, reverting the company to its original name. By 2014, it was targeting the production of 50,000 cars a year but was being hampered by national labor unrest, strikes, and protests. GM exited the South Africa market in 2017, selling its parts business to Isuzu.
In New Zealand, GM locally assembled Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Pontiac vehicles from 1926 and Vauxhall cars from 1931. After World War II, the local production of Chevrolet and Vauxhalls resumed, followed by Pontiac in 1959. In 1954, sales of fully imported Holden vehicles into New Zealand began. New Zealand assembly of Holdens began in 1957, and by the end of the 1960s, Holdens replaced all Chevrolets and Pontiacs (both in 1968) and most Vauxhalls. Opel, Bedford, and Isuzu vehicles were assembled or imported at different times during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. All local General Motors assembly plants in New Zealand closed by 1990. GM New Zealand was renamed Holden New Zealand in 1994.
In 1926, GM formed an Australian subsidiary, General Motors (Australia) Limited, which imported, distributed and assembled General Motors products. The bodies were manufactured at an Adelaide-based family business, Holden's Motor Body Builders, which had built up its operations with the help of tariff protection and amicable relations with trade unions. During the Great Depression, Holden's Motor Body Builders collapsed, which allowed General Motors to acquire Holden, becoming General Motors-Holden [GMH] in 1931. In 1948, the first fully manufactured Australian car, the Holden 48-215, was released to great fanfare amongst the Australian public. It was marketed as "Australia's Own" Holden, and became an iconic feature of post-war Australian culture.
In 2020, GM discontinued the Holden brand due to poor reception and sales, shutting the facilities where they were produced. GM continues to export some Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC vehicles through a new entity called General Motors Specialty Vehicles.
In 2012, GM established Opel as a niche marque in Australia and began to sell Opel branded cars in Australia. However, in August 2013, sales of Opel ceased due to low sales.
GM's engines were successful in the Indy Racing League (IRL) throughout the 1990s, winning many races in the small V8 class. GM has also done much work in the development of electronics for GM auto racing. An unmodified Aurora V8 in the Aerotech captured 47 world records, including the record for speed endurance in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Recently, the Cadillac V-Series has entered motorsports racing.
General Motors was the largest global automaker by annual vehicle sales for 77 consecutive years, from 1931, when it overtook Ford Motor Company, until 2008 when it was overtaken by Toyota. This reign was longer than any other automaker, and GM is still among the world's largest automakers by vehicle unit sales.
In 2008, the third-largest individual country by sales was Brazil, with some 550,000 GM vehicles sold. In that year, Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela sold another 300,000 GM vehicles, suggesting that the total GM sales in South America (including sales in other South American countries such as Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, etc.) in that year were at a similar level to sales in China.
In 2009, General Motors sold 6.5 million cars and trucks globally; in 2010, it sold 8.39 million. Sales in China rose 66.9% in 2009 to 1,830,000 vehicles and accounting for 13.4% of the market.
In 2010, General Motors ranked second worldwide with 8.5 million vehicles produced. In 2011, GM returned to the first place with 9.025 million units sold worldwide, corresponding to 11.9% market share of the global motor vehicle industry. In 2010, vehicle sales in China by GM rose 28.8% to a record 2,351,610 units. The top two markets in 2011 were China, with 2,547,203 units, and the United States, with 2,503,820 vehicles sold. The Chevrolet brand was the main contributor to GM performance, with 4.76 million vehicles sold around the world in 2011, a global sales record.
Based on global sales in 2012, General Motors was ranked among the world's largest automakers.
In May 2012, GM recorded an 18.4% market share in the U.S. with stock imported.
Annual worldwide sales volume reached 10 million vehicles in 2016. Sales in India for April 2016 - March 2017 declined to 25,823 units from 32,540 the previous year and market share contracted from 1.17% to 0.85% for the same period. However, exports surged 89% during the same period to 70,969 units. GMTC-I, GM's technical center in Bangalore, India continued in operation. Weak product line-up and below par service quality were the reasons for the poor showing by GM in India that year.
Global Volt/Ampera family sales totalled about 177,000 units from its inception in December 2010 through 2018. including over 10,000 Opel/Vauxhall Amperas sold in Europe up to December 2015. The Volt family of vehicles ranked as the world's all-time top-selling plug-in hybrid as of September 2018[update], and it is also the third best selling plug-in electric car in history after the Nissan Leaf (375,000) and the Tesla Model S (253,000), as of October 2018[update]. The Chevrolet Volt is also the U.S. all-time top-selling plug-in electric car with 148,556 units delivered through October 2018.
GM publishes an annual Social Impact Report detailing its contributions to charity; in 2020 it provided nearly $35 million in funding to 357 U.S.-based non-profits as well as in-kind assets (primarily donations of vehicles) to non-profits valued at more than $9.8 million. From 1976 until 2017, philanthropic activity was carried out via the General Motors Foundation, a 501(c)(3) foundation.
General Motors has a close relationship with the Nature Conservancy and has fundraised for and donated cash and vehicles to the charity.
After the first convention of UAW in 1936, the union decided that it could not survive by piecemeal organizing campaigns at smaller plants, as it had in the past, but that it could organize the automobile industry only by going after its biggest and most powerful employer, General Motors Corporation, focusing on GM's production complex in Flint, Michigan.
Organizing in Flint was a difficult and dangerous plan. GM controlled city politics in Flint and kept a close eye on outsiders. According to Wyndham Mortimer, the UAW officer put in charge of the organizing campaign in Flint, he received a death threat by an anonymous caller when he visited Flint in 1936. GM also maintained an extensive network of spies throughout its plants. This forced UAW members to keep the names of new members secret and meeting workers at their homes.
As the UAW studied its target, it discovered that GM had only two factories that produced the dies from which car body components were stamped: one in Flint that produced the parts for Buicks, Pontiacs, and Oldsmobiles, and another in Cleveland that produced Chevrolet parts.
National Guardsmen with machine guns overlooking Chevrolet factories number nine and number four
While the UAW called for a sit-down strike in Flint, the police, armed with guns and tear gas, attempted to enter the Fisher Body 2 plant on January 11, 1937. The strikers inside the plant pelted them with hinges, bottles, and bolts. At the time, Vice PresidentJohn Nance Garner supported federal intervention to break up the Flint Strike, but this idea was rejected by PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt. The president urged GM to distinguish a union so the plants could re-open. The strike ended after 44 days.
That development forced GM to bargain with the union. John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers and founder and leader of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, spoke for the UAW in those negotiations; UAW President Homer Martin was sent on a speaking tour to keep him out of the way. GM's representatives refused to be in the same room as the UAW, so Governor Frank Murphy acted as a courier and intermediary between the two groups. Governor Murphy sent in the U.S. National Guard not to evict the strikers but rather to protect them from the police and corporate strike-breakers. The two parties finally reached an agreement on February 11, 1937, on a one-page agreement that recognized the UAW as the exclusive bargaining representative for GM's employees, who were union members for the next six months.
From November 21, 1945, until March 13, 1946, (113 days) CIO's United Automobile Workers (UAW), organized "320,000 hourly workers" to form a US-wide strike against the General Motors Corporation, workers used the tactic of the sit down strike. It was "the longest strike against a major manufacturer" that the UAW had yet seen, and it was also "the longest national GM strike in its history". As director of the UAW's General Motors Department (coordinator of union relations with GM),Walter Reuther suggested to his colleagues the idea of striking the GM manufacturing plants with a 'one-at-a-time' strategy, which was "intended to maximize pressure on the target company". Reuther also put forth the demands of the strikers: a 30 percent increase in wages and a hold on product prices. However, the strike ended with the dissatisfaction of Walter Reuther and the UAW, and the workers received only a 17.5-percent increase in wages.
On September 24, 2007, General Motors workers represented by the United Auto Workers union went on strike against the company. The first US-wide strike against GM since 1970 was expected to idle 59 plants and facilities for an indefinite period of time. Talks broke down after more than 20 straight days of bargaining failed to produce a new contract. Major issues that proved to be stumbling blocks for an agreement included wages, benefits, job security and investments in US facilities.
Two car assembly plants in Oshawa, Ontario and a transmission facility in Windsor closed on September 25. However, on September 26, a tentative agreement was reached, and the strike's end was announced by UAW officials in a news conference at 4 a.m. By the following day, all GM workers in both countries were back to work.
2019 General Motors strike
On the morning of September 15, 2019, after talks broke down to renew their contract, which expired earlier that day, the United Auto Workers announced that GM employees would begin striking at 11:59 PM. This strike shut down operations in nine states, including 33 manufacturing plants and 22 parts distribution warehouses.
After 40 days, on October 25, 2019, the "longest strike by autoworkers in a decade" and the longest against GM since 1970 came to an end when United Auto Workers members voted to approve a new contract with GM. The strike cost GM more than $2 billion, while members of the labor union were reduced to a salary of $275 a week in strike pay.
Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader, published in 1965, is a book accusing car manufacturers of being slow to introduce safety features and reluctant to spend money on improving safety. It relates to the first models of the Chevrolet Corvair (1960-1964) that had a swing axle suspension design that was prone to 'tuck under' in certain circumstances. To compensate for the removal of a front stabilizer bar (anti-roll bar) as a cost-cutting measure, Corvairs required tire pressures that were outside of the tire manufacturer's recommended tolerances. The Corvair relied on an unusually high front to rear pressure differential (15 psi front, 26 psi rear, when cold; 18 psi and 30 psi hot), and if one inflated the tires equally, as was standard practice for all other cars at the time, the result was dangerous over-steer.
In early March 1966, several media outlets, including The New Republic and The New York Times, alleged that GM had tried to discredit Ralph Nader, hiring private detectives to tap his phones and investigate his past, and hiring prostitutes to trap him in compromising situations. Nader sued the company for invasion of privacy and settled the case for $425,000. Nader's lawsuit against GM was ultimately decided by the New York Court of Appeals, whose opinion in the case expanded tort law to cover "overzealous surveillance". Nader used the proceeds from the lawsuit to start the pro-consumer Center for Study of Responsive Law.
A 1972 safety commission report conducted by Texas A&M University concluded that the 1960-1963 Corvair possessed no greater potential for loss of control than its contemporary competitors in extreme situations. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a press release in 1972 describing the findings of NHTSA testing from the previous year. NHTSA conducted a series of comparative tests in 1971 studying the handling of the 1963 Corvair and four contemporary cars -- a Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant, Volkswagen Beetle, and Renault Dauphine -- along with a second-generation Corvair (with its completely redesigned, independent rear suspension). The 143-page report reviewed NHTSA's extreme-condition handling tests, national crash-involvement data for the cars in the test as well as General Motors' internal documentation regarding the Corvair's handling. NHTSA went on to contract an independent advisory panel of engineers to review the tests. This review panel concluded that 'the 1960-63 Corvair compares favorably with contemporary vehicles used in the tests [...] the handling and stability performance of the 1960-63 Corvair does not result in an abnormal potential for loss of control or rollover, and it is at least as good as the performance of some contemporary vehicles both foreign and domestic'.
Former GM executive John DeLorean asserted, in his book On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors, that Nader's criticisms were valid.
In May 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fined the company $35 million for failing to recall cars with faulty ignition switches for a decade, despite knowing there was a problem with the switches. General Motors paid compensation for 124 deaths linked to the faulty switches. The $35 million fine was the maximum the regulator could impose. The total cost of the recall was estimated to be $1.5 billion. As well as the Cobalts, the switches of concern had been installed in many other cars, such as the Pontiac G5, the Saturn Ion, the Chevrolet HHR, the Saturn Sky, and Pontiac Solstice. The recall involved about 2.6 million GM cars worldwide.
^Cobb, Jeff (January 9, 2017). "Nissan's Quarter-Millionth Leaf Means It's The Best-Selling Plug-in Car In History". HybridCars.com. Archived from the original on January 11, 2017. As of December 2016[update], the Nissan Leaf is the world's best-selling plug-in car in history with more than 250,000 units delivered, followed by the Tesla Model S with over 158,000 sales, the Volt/Ampera family of vehicles with 134,500 vehicles sold, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with about 116,500 units sold through November 2016. These are the only plug-in electric cars so far with over 100,000 global sales.
^Cobb, Jeff (August 10, 2016). "Global 10 Best-Selling Plug-In Cars Are Accelerating Forward". HybridCars.com. Archived from the original on August 11, 2016. As of June 2016[update], cumulative global sales of the top selling plug-in electric cars were led by the Nissan Leaf (over 228,000), followed by the Tesla Model S (129,393), Votl/Ampera family (about 117,300), Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (about 107,400), Toyota Prius PHV (over 75,400), BYD Qin (56,191), Renault Zoe (51,193), BMW i3 (around 49,500), Mitsubishi i-MiEV family (about 37,600) and BYD Tang (37,509).