On Oct. 31, Automotive News will publish a special issue for Chevrolet's 100th anniversary. Here's a sample of the 100 stories we will tell.
In its glory days, Chevrolet was the first brand to bring technical innovation to the masses, says Kurt Ritter, who spent 32 years at General Motors and was Chevy's general manager from 2000 to 2003.
"Chevy democratized solid design and technology," says Ritter, 62, now CEO of the Los Angeles office of Saatchi & Saatchi, Toyota's ad agency. "It had unique designs. The industry was inventing stuff at a very high rate -- from power steering to automatic transmissions to air conditioning to power brakes -- that could find their way into a Chevy very quickly.
"Chevy had the economies of scale to drive those things into mainstream America," he says.
Ritter, who was interviewed for the special issue, led Chevy at a time when GM had shifted to a brand-management structure. The days of the powerful divisional general managers were long gone. Instead, group vice presidents oversaw all GM brands.
When GM "went to brand management and wanted to de-emphasize general managers," Ritter says, "they probably overachieved the objective."
For information about A Century of Chevrolet: The Stories that Shaped an Icon, go to autonews.com/chevy100.