General Motors has produced 500 million vehicles in its history, which spans 106 years mostly as a global automaker.
To celebrate the milestone, GM's CEO Mary Barra and Alan Batey, global Chevrolet president, handed the keys of a new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu to a wounded Iraqi war veteran. Trent Brining, a retired Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient, accepted the vehicle that had been built at the Fairfax, Kan., assembly plant.
Founded in 1908, GM's global presence dates to the early 20th Century when Sun Yat-sen, the first president of China, and Pu Yi, the last emperor, took their first automobile ride in a 1912 Buick. By 1931, GM owned Vauxhall in the United Kingdom, Holden in Australia, and Opel in Germany.
GM’s first manufacturing joint venture with SAIC in China (Shanghai GM) began in 1997. China is now GM’s largest market, where it has 11 joint ventures and two wholly owned foreign enterprises.
GM innovations over the years include a series of firsts such as the V-8 engine, automatic transmission, automotive crash test dummies and air bags in a production vehicle.