Chevrolet has long been known as the most popular American automotive brand. In fact, new Chevrolet cars have been so coveted by the American motoring public for so long the brand became known as an intrinsic piece of America, prompting its advertising agency in the 1960’s to coin the phrase; “Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.”
By most accounts, the crowning achievement of Chevrolet came in 1953, with the introduction of the new Chevrolet Corvette line of cars. Penned by legendary GM designer Harley Earl, the new Chevrolet model debuted at the 1953 GM Motorama auto show as a concept car. However, this was but one of the brand’s most popular lines.
By 1963, new Chevrolet models accounted for ten percent of all automobiles sold in the U.S.
The horsepower wars of the 1960s also found new Chevrolet cars willing participants. In addition to the Corvette Sting Ray, the Chevrolet Camaro was introduced to compete with Ford’s Mustang, while V8 powered Chevelles, Novas and Impalas exhibited outstanding performance potential in their own right.
Speaking of the Impala, Chevrolet’s flagship model (known as the prestige car within the reach of the average American citizen) was introduced in 1958 and went on to become the best selling automobile in the United States—period—by 1965.
Fuel price concerns of the 1970’s saw compact new Chevrolet models introduced like the Chevette, and the Vega, in addition to downsized versions of the most popular new Chevrolet models. Unfortunately, these cars weren’t as well received as the full-size models of the 1960s had been. Chevrolet began losing market share.
Interestingly though, as new Chevrolet cars began falling out of favor, its trucks were gaining tremendous popularity. To this day, Chevy trucks and SUVs resonate strongly with the buying public, even as the company struggles to attract buyers back to its cars.
Though performance had fallen out of favor by the end of the 1980s (with even the Camaro being temporarily discontinued at one point) the tail end of the 1990s saw the performance aspect of new Chevrolet cars emerging once again. This ultimately culminated in the highest-performing street-legal series production new Corvette models of all time, led by the 638-horsepower, 205 mile per hour, Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1.
Keeping an eye on fuel efficiency, Chevrolet also introduced the innovative Volt during this same period. Chevrolet’s Volt is the market’s first extended range hybrid electric vehicle. Drawing its primary motivation from battery-powered electric motors—when the battery pack is depleted—a small onboard gasoline engine generates electricity to keep the new Chevrolet model going.