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Chevrolet Overview

The origins of the Chevrolet brand, unsurprisingly, are interwoven with those of the other General Motors brands. What’s less well-known is that while today Chevrolet is considered American through and through, its early history has ties with Europe and also makes several connections with Canada.

The brand’s namesake, Louis Chevrolet, was a mechanic who grew up in Switzerland and lived in Paris before immigrating to North America. He lived briefly in Montreal before moving to New York City to work for a French automaker. Meanwhile, he was an accomplished race car driver and competed for Buick, where he befriended the founder of General Motors, William C. Durant, who was fired from the automaker he helped establish in 1910. In 1911, the duo co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in Detroit along with Chevrolet’s brother Arthur and several investment partners. The Bowtie logo made its debut in 1914, but in 1915 Chevrolet sold Durant his shares in the company amid differences in opinion over design direction. By 1916 the brand had made Durant enough of a profit to enable him to repurchase a controlling share of General Motors, which the Chevrolet brand was merged with in 1917. A year later, the Chevrolet Motor Company of Canada merged with the McLaughlin Car Company of Canada to become General Motors of Canada.

McLaughlin was headquartered in or near Oshawa, Ontario, from its founding in 1867, and vehicles have been produced on the current site of the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa since 1907, which has been operating in its present format since 1953. Following an announcement that the plant would be closed in 2019 that devastated the community, GM later made an abrupt about-face and retooled Oshawa Assembly, which reopened in 2021 to produce the Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty trucks that are assembled there today. GM’s CAMI Assembly, located in Ingersoll, Ont., formerly produced various GM vehicles including Chevrolet Equinox SUVs, but it was recently retooled to build the company’s new BrightDrop electric delivery vans. GM also operates a powertrain assembly facility in St. Catharines, Ont., a cold weather testing facility in Kapuskasing, Ont., and technical centres in Markham and Oshawa, Ont.

The best-selling Chevrolet vehicle in Canada is consistently the Silverado nameplate, which includes the Cheverolet Silverado 1500 half-ton truck as well as the larger heavy-duty trucks. Other iconic Chevrolet nameplates includes the Chevrolet Corvette sports car, the Chevrolet Camaro muscle car, the Chevrolet Tahoe large SUV, and the Chevrolet Bolt, which was among the first mass-produced EVs to hit the market.

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