General Motors is a massive automobile entity with several brands under its umbrella. Of these, one of the oldest is Cadillac (est. 1902). Over the years, we’ve seen Cadillac produce some iconic luxury. But are GM and Cadillac the same manufacturer?
A little history of the Cadillac luxury brand
The Cadillac luxury brand has been around for over a hundred years. General Motors has actually owned it since 1909. According to the history detailed by the Detroit Historical Society, it was called the Cadillac Automobile Company (named after Detroit founder Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac) at its original founding in 1902.
In 1905, its official founder Henry Leland––who had worked closely with Ford for a time in engine development––tweaked the name just a little bit to Cadillac Motor Company. When General Motors bought the company, GM adopted Cadillac as its new premium luxury brand. The very first Cadillac production cars used Leland’s Cadillac engine inside a Ford body design.
In fact, since its beginnings in association with Henry Ford prior to the company’s founding, the Cadillac Motor company focused on “precision engineering and stylish luxury finishes.” While generally people associate Lincoln Motor Company with Ford, the Detroit Historical Society shares that Cadillac also dates back to Ford’s second failed business. That said, it’s henry Leland’s name that claims Cadillac Motor Company as the founder of this American luxury car brand.
Cadillac earned the “Standard of the World” slogan as it rolled out innovative automotive technology. Under the GM umbrella, Cadillac engineers developed and introduced the V8, V16, and V12 engines. Later in 1949, the brand created a V8 engine with overhead valves. At that point in time, this became the standard for “the entire American automotive industry.”
Today, Cadillac remains a beacon of performance. It’s also earned quite the reputation for modern luxury. In addition to the reputation the brand has earned as an American luxury brand, Cadillac also plans to claim a new place in the electrified market with new models such as the upcoming LYRIC.
Does Chevrolet own Cadillac?
According to Car and Driver, Chevrolet does not own Cadillac. In fact, the two are both subsidiary siblings of the same parent company. That company being General Motors. So rather than thinking of Cadillac as being owned by Chevy, it’s more accurate to consider them corporate cousins or siblings.
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General Motors also owns Buick and GMC. So the short and easy answer is that General Motors owns both Chevrolet and Cadillac. Chevrolet doesn’t own Cadillac.
Are GM and Cadillac the same?
No, they are not the same manufacturer. Just as GM and GMC are different, so GM and Cadillac are different as well. Cadillac is a luxury brand owned by General Motors.
Due to the fact that Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet are all General Motors brands, there are similarities. However, they are not considered the same manufacturer. While they are close in corporate nature, they are all, in fact, separate brands.
Each boasts popularity as an American automotive brand. Buick and Cadillac hold space in the luxury segment, while GMC and Chevrolet cater to the needs of mainstream buyers. And, yes, GM owns all four. But they each have their own separate claims to fame. There are so many auto brands out there that it gets confusing who owns what and which brands are actually related. Plus, the industry is extremely dynamic and the corporate umbrella of any brand is subject to changes.