At the time Oldsmobile closed its doors in 2004 it was the oldest surviving American car brand at 107 years old. It was a fate that was first announced on this day in 2000 when General Motors (GM) stated its plans to phase out Oldsmobile.
Ransom E. Olds founded the company in 1897 as the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan. It soon became the first high output manufacturer of gas-powered automobiles. The company produced 4,000 units in 1903 at a time when other automakers averaged just 1,272. The numbers grew with the introduction of the first automotive assembly line, which churned out the Olds Curved Dash. Henry Ford would later enhance automobile production using first the moving assembly line in the industry.
GM cited profitability as its primary reason for shutting down Oldsmobile. After its initial announcement, Olds survived another four years. On April 29, 2004 the last Oldsmobile, an Alero GLS sedan, rolled out of the factory. As it moved along the assembly line each worker that had a hand in it signed the vehicle.