On December 12, 2000, GM announced the end of Oldsmobile. The oldest automobile brand in the U.S.produced more than 35 million vehicles over its lifespan. The last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line on April 29, 2004.

It all began In 1897, when Ransom E. Olds, an engineer from Ohio, founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, MI. In 1901, the new automaker debuted its first vehicle – Curved Dash Olds. It was advertised as the “lowest price reliable automobile made”, the “Best thing on wheels”, and drivers could get their hands on its steering wheel for $650 (an equivalent of about $19,000 today).

In 1908, the company joined the General Motors (GM) family, becoming its top brand. For most of its life, Oldsmobile was truly a revolutionary marque. In the 1920s, it became the first brand to use chrome-plated trim instead of nickel. In the 1940s, it pioneered the first fully automatic transmission for mass-market vehicles, and enthusiasts received the chance to take the revolutionary “Rocket V8” engine for a spin. Then followed the front-wheel-drive Toronado, and Cutlass, the best-selling car in North America in the 1970s.

But something when wrong, and the popularity of the brand began to slide. Was it due to poor executive decisions? Or Oldsmobile just couldn’t keep up with the foreign competition in terms of quality and value?

What’s your take on Oldsmobile?

the end of Oldsmobile
The first Oldsmobile. Image Source: Library of Congress



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