Cadillac HistorySource: General Motors Corporation
In 1902, Cadillac Automobile Company is organized in Detroit by Henry M. Leland, a precision manufacturer of automotive components.
In 1905, Cadillac produces the Osceola, a single-cylinder favorite of Henry Leland and the first step-in closed-car design. The body was built under the supervision of Fred J. Fisher (who later founded Fisher Body with his brothers) in the Wilson Body Company plant in Detroit.
In 1907, Henry M. Leland establishes the Cadillac School of Applied Mechanics , the first school to train machinists, technicians and toolmakers.
In 1908, Cadillac wins the Dewar trophy of the Royal Automobile Club in London for demonstrating interchangeability of parts, a basic element in mass production.
In 1909, General Motors purchases Cadillac for $5.5 million on July 29, 1909. Henry M. Leland and his son, Wilfred, are invited to continue operating Cadillac. They do so until 1917, when they leave to form Lincoln Motor Co.
In 1910, Cadillac is the first American manufacturer to offer closed bodies as standard equipment, revolutionizing motoring convenience by providing cleanliness and all-weather comfort.
In 1911, Charles F. Kettering's milestone invention, the electric self-starter, is first installed in a Cadillac on February 27, 1911. Kettering had organized his company, the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, in 1909 for the purpose of working on developments in the automotive field.
In 1912, Cadillac adopts the electric self-starter as standard equipment. Cadillac's self-starter wins the Dewar Trophy as the most important automotive contribution of the year.
In 1914, Cadillac is the first manufacturer in the U.S. to produce a V-type, water-cooled, eight-cylinder engine. The 314-cubic-inch engine produces 70 horsepower at 2,400 RPM and is the first major step in development of high-speed, high-compression automotive engines.
Cadillac becomes the first in the auto industry to use thermostatic control of a cooling system.
In 1915, Cadillac's V-8 engine is installed in all its models and the V-8 emblem is added to Cadillac designs.
Tilt-beam headlights operated by a handle on the dash are introduced on Cadillac for improved nighttime visibility.
In 1921, the Clark Street Cadillac factory begins production. At the time, it is the most modern plant in the industry. It remains in production until 1987.
In 1926, Cadillac becomes the first in the auto industry to develop a comprehensive service policy and provide it on a nationwide basis.
In 1927, the milestone 1927 model-year Cadillac La Salle is introduced. This is the first production car designed by a stylist. It was designed by the legendary Harley Earl.
In 1928, Cadillac introduces shatter-resistant safety glass in all windows of 1929 Cadillac and LaSalle models.
In 1929, Cadillac becomes the first to adopt chrome plating as standard on its cars.
The 1930 Cadillac 'V-16' is the industry's first production car to offer sixteen-cylinder engine and immediately sets a new standard for power, performance, and luxury.
In 1948, Cadillac and Oldsmobile introduce the industry's first high-compression V8 engines. The Oldsmobile 'Rocket' V-8 engine goes into production and the 'Rocket Era' begins.
In 1949, Cadillac introduces the Coupe de Ville, which is also Cadillac's first hardtop.
In 1952, Power steering is offered by Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Buick.
In 1953, 12-volt electrical systems, developed by Delco Remy Division, are installed on Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles and Buicks.
In 1954, Cadillac becomes the first auto company to provide power steering and automatic windshield washers as standard equipment on all its vehicles.
The industry's first four-door 'pillarless' hardtop sedans are offered by Buick and Oldsmobile on 1955 models. The following year, Cadillac offers the feature on the 1956 Sedan de Ville.
Cruise control is offered on 1959 Cadillacs.
In 1962, a new dual-circuit braking system is introduced on Cadillac cars.
In 1966, Cadillac's front-wheel drive Fleetwood Eldorado is introduced as a 1967 model.
The 'last' American convertible is built by Cadillac in April 1976. (Convertibles are reintroduced in 1984.)
In 1984, a new organizational structure for GM's North American Passenger Car Operations is formed. Two integrated car groups, Chevrolet, Pontiac, GM of Canada (C-P-C) and Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac (B-O-C), each have complete responsibility for their respective products, including engineering, manufacturing, assembly and marketing.
In 1992, Cadillac Motor Car Company Engineering and Manufacturing and Flint Automotive Division are consolidated into one organization - Cadillac/Luxury Car Engineering and Manufacturing Division (CLCD).
In 1996, General Motors announces that OnStar, a new advanced hands-free in-vehicle communication system using Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology and cellular phone technology, will be introduced as an option on all 1997 model front-wheel-drive Cadillacs.
In 2001, Cadillac unveils its all-new CTS, a radical departure from traditional Cadillac styling, at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California.
In 2002, Cadillac celebrates its hundredth anniversary.
In 2003, Cadillac unveils the Cadillac Sixteen concept car, featuring a 16-cylinder, 1000-horsepower engine.
In 2004, Cadillac reasserts itself as a luxury nameplate leader, surpassing rival Lexus in the 2004 J.D. Power Initial Quality Ratings. Overall, General Motors' vehicle brands score a ten percent improvement in initial quality.