Oldsmobile was a former American manufacturer of automobiles and was a subsidiary of General Motors. It had its headquarters in Lansing, Michigan. It was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. Olds is credited with building the first gasoline powered car in 1896. The brand produced its first mass-produced car, the Curved Dash, a 2-seater runabout with a planetary 2-speed transmission. Oldsmobile is a colloquial portmanteau of Olds Automobile. General Motors purchased the company in 1908. In 1937, the company developed the Automatic Safety Transmission which featured a clutch pedal that let the drivers switch between two "ranges" of gears. Production ceased during the Second World War and in 1945, Oldsmobile resumed production by re-introducing its 1942 model. The Eighty-Eight (88), a full-size car, was rolled out in 1949. The 1960s saw the release of the brand's first modern front-wheel drive car, the Toronado. The car won Motor Trend magazine's "Car of the Year" in 1966.
Other models released during this decade include the mid-size Cutlass and the Vista Cruiser station wagon in 1961 and 1964, respectively. Through the '70s upto the mid-80s, Oldsmobile sales soared, making it one of the leading manufacturers in the United States. The brand's fortunes however began slipping as the '90s rolled around. The brand was reduced to selling rebadged versions of other GM models and serving as a “testing ground” for new GM concepts. A brief attempt at reviving the company's status succeeded when the Aurora, a full-size luxury sedan was released in 1995. However, despite its success in the late '90s, GM announced the brand's discontinuation in December 2000. The last new vehicle to be rolled out by Oldsmobile was the Bravada SUV in 2000. Other models of the car were gradually phased out over the next four years. Finally, on April 29, 2004, an Alero GLS was the last vehicle to be rolled off the assembly lines. Some of the brand's other popular vehicles include the Delmont, Intrigue, Trofeo and Firenza.
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