Chevrolet was named for French racing car driver Louis Chevrolet.
Chevrolet first used the ‘bowtie’ emblem logo in 1913. It was originally thought that it may originate from a design on wallpaper Durant once saw in a French hotel and liked. More recent research by historian Ken Kaufmann says the logo is based upon a logo for "Coalettes’. Still others claim the design was a stylized Swiss cross, in honor Louis Chevrolet's country of origin.
Chevrolet was first established in 1911 as a joint venture between race car driver Louis Chevrolet and William Durant who had just been ousted from General Motors. Durant had been ousted from General Motors in 1910 and immediately took over the Flint Wagon Works and the Mason and Little companies. Subsequently other partners in the Chevrolet venture were William Little (of Little Automobile), Durants son in law Dr. Edwin Campbell and Colonel Robert Samuel Mc Laughlin who had started the McLaughlin Motor Car Company in Canada and went on to become President of General Motors Canada following his sellout to them in 1910.
William Durant had previously been head of the Buick Motor Company and employed Chevrolet as a driver to promote that product in trials and promotional events. Durant’s intention was to cash in on Chevrolet’s reputation as a racing driver to promote the new company hence the name Chevrolet was given to the new manufacturing company.. The design work for the first Chevy, the costly Series C Classic Six, was drawn up by Etienne Planche and its first C prototype was ready months before Chevrolet was actually incorporated. Chevrolet and Durant had significant differences and Chevrolet sold his shares to Durant in 1915 giving Durant the money to secretly purchase a controlling interest in General Motors. Durant became GM’s President in 1917. Not surprisingly, General Motors Motors went on to acquire Chevrolet in 1918 where its ranges of models were set up specifically to compete against Henry Ford's Model T in the 1920s, with "Chevrolet" or "Chevy" being at times synonymous with GM brand. Chevrolet continued well into the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s competing with Ford. At the time, Plymouth, Ford, and Chevrolet were known as the ‘Low-priced three’. In 1933 Chevrolet launched the Standard Six, which was advertised in the United States as the cheapest six-cylinder car in the world. In 1963 one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.
The assembly of Chevrolets in Australia occurred as early as 1918 and by 1926 the newly created General Motors (Australia) Pty Ltd had assembly plants in five Australian states producing Chevrolet and other GM vehicles using bodies supplied by Holden Motor Body Builders. General Motors Holden was formed through a merger of General Motors (Australia) Pty Ltd and the troubled Holden Motor Body Builders in 1931. From 1949 Australian Chevrolets were locally assembled from components imported from Chevrolet in Canada although local production of the Coupe Utility body continued until 1952. The last full year of Chevrolet assembly in Australia was 1968.
In the late 1920s the Henry Ford classic Model T ‘Tin Lizzie’ was joined in Australia by America’s classic Chevrolet 25 hundredweight. It was known locally as the Chev 4 or ‘The Grasshopper’ because of its semi-elliptical springs. This truck also was to gain much popularity in the fledgling Australian road transport industry. Other motor vehicles such as the Overland Crossley, Morris Commercial and Bean also sold well but it was the Fords and Chevs that ruled the road, particularly with the arrival of the 1928 Ford A Model and the big Chev Six.