Chevrolet (also known as Chevy) is a brand of automobile, produced by General Motors (GM). It is the top selling GM marque and the best known brand of GM worldwide, with ''Chevrolet'' or ''Chevy'' being at times synonymous with GM.
Chevrolet offers over 20 vehicles and many different enhanced versions in its home market. The vehicles range from subcompact cars to medium duty commercial trucks. Its number one sellers in the United States include the Silverado pickup, which is currently the 2nd best-selling vehicle in the United States behind the Ford F-Series and the Impala, which is the number one selling car with a domestic nameplate in the United States.
Chevrolet was founded by Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant. 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 La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel, Switzerland). See Flag of Switzerland.
In 1915, Durant made a trip to Toronto, Ontario to determine the possibility of setting up production facilities in Canada. After meeting with ''Colonel Sam'' McLaughlin, whose McLaughlin Motor Car Company manufactured the McLaughlin-Buick, it was agreed the Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada, operated by McLaughlin, would be created to build Chevrolet cars there. 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 35 hp (26 kW) 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 1963, one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.
The basic Chevrolet small-block V-8 design has remained in continuous production since its debut in 1955, longer than any other mass-produced engine in the world, although current versions share few if any parts interchangeable with the original. Descendants of the basic small-block OHV V-8 design platform in production today have been much modified with advances such as aluminum block and heads, electronic engine management and sequential port fuel injection, to name but a few. The small block Chevrolet V-8 is used in current production model (2008) Impala sedans, a variety of light and medium duty Chevrolet trucks, and the current generation Corvette sports car. Depending on the vehicle type, they are built in displacements from 4.8 to 7.0 litres with outputs ranging from 180 to 638 horsepower (476 kW) as installed at the factory. It will also be used as a performance option in the forthcoming (2009 model year) revival of the Chevrolet Camaro. The engine design has also been used over the years in GM products built and sold under the Pontiac. Oldsmobile, Buick, Opel (Germany) and Holden (Australia) nameplates. Recently, 6-litre, 400 horsepower (300 kW) versions of the small-block V-8 designed initially for the C-5 and C-6 Corvettes have been installed in factory-built high performance versions of the Cadillac CTS sedan known as the CTS-V.