Oakland HistoryIn 1907 formed the Edward P. Murphy Oakland Motor Company, based in Pontiac Michigan. Their first vehicles were powered by the Alanson Brush designed vertical two-cylinder engines. A year later, the company switched to 4-cylinder engines.
Over 5,000 vehicles were produced during their second year of automobile production. Their stylish vehicles and competitive pricing helped in the stimulation of sales. In January 1909, Murphy sold half of the company to General Motors. A few months later, Murphy died and GM acquired the remaining rights to the company. General motors positioned Oakland to fall below the cost of Oldsmobile and Buick but above Chevrolet. This worked well for the Oakland automobiles and sales continued to be strong. During the early 1920's, things changed. The company was plagued with quality control problems and their vehicles began to accumulate a reputation for being unreliable. Fred Hannum, the General Manager, created a quality control program to help improve with the company's woes. This worked well and sales began to increase.
General Motors had designed its marquees to fill certain price points. The Chevrolet Company offered entry-level vehicles for competitive prices. Oakland was next in line when comparing price, power, and prestige of the vehicles they produced, followed by Oldsmobile and then Buick. The Cadillac was at the top of the product ladder and often outfitted with powerful engines, elaborate amenities, and high prices. Price gaps had been created throughout the years between the GM Company's marquees. This was true for Chevrolet and Oakland. In 1926 Oakland introduced the Pontiac car to fill the gap. The cost effective six-cylinder Pontiac vehicles became very popular, while sales continued to decline for the Oakland Company. In 1931, General Motors formed the Pontiac Motor Division, replacing Oakland.