Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobiles produced for most of its existence by General Motors. Olds Motor Vehicle Co. was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. In its 107-year history, it produced over 35 million vehicles, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory. When it was phased out in 2004, Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile marque, and one of the oldest in the world, after Daimler, Peugeot and Tatra.
Though it was discontinued in 2004, it still remains an active trademark of the General Motors Company. The closing of the Oldsmobile division presaged a larger consolidation of GM brands and discontinuation of models during the company's 2009 bankruptcy reorganization. It was replaced by Buick.
Oldsmobiles were first manufactured by the Olds Motor Vehicle Co. in Lansing, Michigan, a company founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. In 1901, the company produced 425 cars, making it the first high-volume gasoline-powered automobile manufacturer. (Electric car manufacturers such as Columbia Electric and steam powered car manufacturers such as Locomobile had higher volumes a few years earlier). Oldsmobile became the top selling car company in the United States for a few years around 1903-4. Ransom Olds left the company in 1904 because of a dispute and formed the REO Motor Car Company.
In spite of Oldsmobile's critical successes since the mid-1990s, a reported shortfall in sales and overall profitability prompted General Motors to announce in December of 2000 their plans to shut down the Oldsmobile organization. That announcement was officially revealed two days after Oldsmobile distributed the Bravada SUV - which became another critical hit for the division and turned out to be their final vehicle to manufacture.
The final 500 Aleros, Auroras, Bravadas, Silhouettes and Intrigues produced received special Oldsmobile heritage emblems and markings which signified 'Final 500'. All featured a unique Dark Cherry Metallic paint scheme. Auroras and Intrigues would be accompanied by special Final 500 literature.
The final production day for Oldsmobile was April 29, 2004. The division's last car built was an Alero GLS 4-door sedan, which was signed by all of the Olds assembly line workers. It was on display at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum located in Lansing, Michigan, until GM's bankruptcy when they retook possession of the car. It is now located at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan.