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Why is GM called that, where is its headquarters and what brands are part of it?

GM is one of the country’s most recognizable brands. Here is all you need to know about this iconic automotive company.

General Motors (GM) es una de las empresas automotrices más reconocidas en Estados Unidos y el mundo. ¿Por qué se llama así y qué marcas la componen?

For more than seventy-five years, General Motors, or GM, was the largest automotive multinational corporation in the world. The name is derived from its main product: cars.

In 2008, the company dropped to the number two spot after Toyota surpassed GM’s production and scale. In part, its fall from dominance came as the company fell on hard times after the 2008 Financial Crisis, with the economic pain driving the company to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After receiving a bailout from the federal government, the company’s financial situation improved, and in recent years has proved competitive on the global stage.

What brands form part of GM?

GM is headquartered in Detriot, Michigan, a city known for car production, and is currently made up of seven brands that serve ten international markets:

  • BrightDrop: North American
  • Buick: China and North America
  • Cadillac: North America, Middle East, China, Japan, South Korea, and Europe
  • Chevrolet: Americas, China, Middle East, CIS, South Korea, and the Phillippines
  • GMC: North America, Middle East, and South Korea
  • Baojun (China): China
  • Wuling (China): China and Indonesia.

This list is much shorter than that of the brands that have, at some point or another, formed part of GM. Brands like Hummer, which was discontinued in 2010, only later to be integrated into GMC in 2020, or the German company Opel which was sold to PSA group in 2017 are some of the biggest names that in the past had been a part of the automotive empire that is GM.

What are the newest brands to form part of GM?

BrightDrop became a subsidiary of GM in 2021 but began as a part of the company’s Innovation Incubator when the executives became interested in developing an electric delivery van.

The company currently produces the Zevo600, which has a driving range of around 250 miles and 600 square feet of cargo space. As shipping companies look to expand their electric fleets to cut down on fuel costs and their carbon footprint, the Zevo600 remains a top contender in the market.

On 17 November, BrightDrop announced that by 2023 the company expected to bring in more than $1 billion in revenue, “making it one of the fastest companies to ever hit that milestone.” So far, several companies, including FedEx, Verizon, and Walmart, had reserved 25,000 vehicles but have received only a fraction.

So far, FedEx has been able to integrate 150 vehicles into its fleet, which the shipping company has described as “no ordinary feat” when considering “today’s climate of chip shortages and supply chain issues.”

GM’s expansion into China

Aside from BrightDrop, the other four US brands that form part of GM are more widely recognized by consumers and have formed part of the company since the early 1900s.

The two Chinese brands, Wuling and Baojun, became a part of GM in 2002 and 2010, respectively. These car manufacturers were added to the GM line-up as the company hoped to increase its presence in China, a market where demand for cars has continued to grow. Baojun is owned jointly by GM and the state-owned SAIC Motor, who create more affordable versions of classic GM cars like the Chevy Spark. While competition is fierce in the Chinese market, both brands have been able to attract consumers and grow GM’s footprint in the market.


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