Oakland automobile
Overview
 
The Oakland was a brand of automobile manufactured between 1907–1909 by the Oakland Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Michigan
Pontiac, Michigan
Pontiac is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan named after the Ottawa Chief Pontiac, located within the Detroit metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 59,515. It is the county seat of Oakland County...

, (formerly a carriage-maker called Pontiac Buggy) and between 1909 and 1931 by the Oakland Motors Division of General Motors Corporation
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

. Oakland's principal founder was Edward M. Murphy, who sold half the company to GM in January 1909; when Murphy died in the summer of 1909, GM acquired the remaining rights to Oakland.
As originally conceived and introduced, the first Oakland used a vertical two-cylinder engine that rotated counterclockwise.
Encyclopedia
The Oakland was a brand of automobile manufactured between 1907–1909 by the Oakland Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Michigan
Pontiac, Michigan
Pontiac is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan named after the Ottawa Chief Pontiac, located within the Detroit metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 59,515. It is the county seat of Oakland County...

, (formerly a carriage-maker called Pontiac Buggy) and between 1909 and 1931 by the Oakland Motors Division of General Motors Corporation
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

. Oakland's principal founder was Edward M. Murphy, who sold half the company to GM in January 1909; when Murphy died in the summer of 1909, GM acquired the remaining rights to Oakland.

Early history

As originally conceived and introduced, the first Oakland used a vertical two-cylinder engine that rotated counterclockwise. This design by Alanson Brush (inventor of the Brush Runabout
Brush Motor Car Company
This article is about a USA auto-maker. For the British rail-locomotive company, see Brush TractionBrush Motor Company, or the "Brush Runabout Company," based in Detroit, Michigan, was founded by Alanson Partridge Brush , who designed a light car with a wooden chassis This article is about a USA...

) lasted one year and was replaced by a more standard 4-cylinder engine and sales increased to approximately 5,000 automobiles per year.

Within General Motors, Oakland was slotted above price leader Chevrolet and below the more premium Oldsmobile and Buick brand cars. In 1916, the company introduced a V8 engine
V8 engine
A V8 engine is a V engine with eight cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of four cylinders, in most cases set at a right angle to each other but sometimes at a narrower angle, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft....

, and Oakland initially flourished. By early 1920, however, production and quality control problems began to plague the division. In 1921, under new General Manager Fred Hannum, a consistent production schedule was underway and the quality of the cars improved. One marketing tactic was the employment of a quick-drying bright blue automotive lacquer
Lacquer
In a general sense, lacquer is a somewhat imprecise term for a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required...

 by Duco
Duco
Duco was a trade name assigned to a product line of automotive lacquer developed by the DuPont Company in the 1920s. Under the Duco brand, DuPont introduced the first quick drying multi-color line of nitrocellulose lacquers made especially for the automotive industry...

 (a DuPont
DuPont
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company , commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. DuPont was the world's third largest chemical company based on market capitalization and ninth based on revenue in 2009...

 brand product), leading to the slogan "True Blue Oakland".

General Motors "Companion Make" Program

General Motors pioneered the idea that consumers would aspire to buy up an automotive product ladder if a company met certain price points. As General Motors entered the 1920s, the product ladder started with the price-leading Chevrolet
Chevrolet
Chevrolet , also known as Chevy , is a brand of vehicle produced by General Motors Company . Founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, General Motors acquired Chevrolet in 1918...

 marque, and then progressed upward in price, power and appointments to Oakland, Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobile produced for most of its existence by General Motors. It was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. In its 107-year history, it produced 35.2 million cars, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory...

, Buick
Buick
Buick is a premium brand of General Motors . Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Israel, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make...

 and ultimately to the luxury Cadillac
Cadillac
Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors . Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mostly in North America. Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest...

 marque.

By the mid 1920s, a sizable price gap existed between Chevrolet and Oakland, and the difference between an Oldsmobile and a Buick was wider. There was also a product gap between Buick and Cadillac. To address this, General Motors authorized the introduction of four companion marques priced and designed to fill the gaps. Cadillac would introduce the LaSalle to fill the gap between Cadillac and Buick. Buick would introduce the Marquette to handle the upper end of the gap between Buick and Oldsmobile. Oldsmobile would introduce the Viking
Viking automobile
Viking was an automobile manufactured by General Motors' Oldsmobile division for model years 1929 to 1931.Viking was part of Alfred Sloan's companion make program introduced to help span gaps in General Motors’ pricing structure, and was marketed through GM's Oldsmobile division...

, which took care of the lower end of the same gap. This is often referred to as General Motors Companion Make Program
General Motors Companion Make Program
General Motors pioneered the idea that consumers would aspire to buy up an automotive product ladder if a company met certain price points. As General Motors entered the 1920s, the product ladder started with the price leading Chevrolet marque, and then progressed upward in price, power and...

.

Oakland's part in this plan was the 1926 Pontiac
Pontiac
Pontiac was an automobile brand that was established in 1926 as a companion make for General Motors' Oakland. Quickly overtaking its parent in popularity, it supplanted the Oakland brand entirely by 1933 and, for most of its life, became a companion make for Chevrolet. Pontiac was sold in the...

, a shorter wheelbase "light six" priced to sell at a 4 cylinder car's price point, but still above Chevrolet. Pontiac was the first of the companion marques introduced, and in its first year outsold the larger, heavier Oakland. By 1929, GM sold 163,000 more Pontiacs than Oaklands. The discontinuation of Oakland was announced in 1931 and Pontiac would be the only companion make to survive beyond 1940, or to survive its "parent" make.

External links

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