A snapshot of GM's historical innovations

A snapshot of GM's historical innovations

Some say the best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour. On September 16, 2008, General Motors - the world's largest automobile manufacturing company - will celebrate its 100th birthday.

As GM prepares celebrations of not only the past 100 years but of its amazingly bright future, we thought it would be interesting to see how GM spent the last 100 years paving the way for the automotive industry. Here's a snap shot of some of GM's historical firsts.

1901Speedometers make their first appearance (installed in Oldsmobiles).

1908GM introduces the first electric headlight.

1910Cadillac is the first manufacturer to offer closed bodies as standard equipment.

1924GM opens the world's first automotive proving ground test facility.

1939Introduced by Buick, GM develops the automotive industry's first turn signals.

1940GM introduces the first completely automatic transmission, the Hydra-matic, on 1940 Oldsmobile models.

1955World's first safety test laboratory established at GM Proving Ground.

1962A concrete bridge rail is developed (now used as highway median barrier throughout the U.S. and Canada).

1972GM completes development of the Hybrid III crash test dummy. The blueprints are shared with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Hybrid III crash test dummies officially become the industry standard in 1997.

1974GM becomes the first automaker to develop and offer air bags in production vehicles,

1985GM establishes a Medical Committee for Automotive Safety; distinguished independent physicians advise and critique GM safety programs and policies.

1991GM introduces a less expensive, full-function anti-lock braking system, benefiting buyers of smaller, less expensive GM passenger cars.

1994GM becomes the first mainstream "Fortune 50" company to endorse a set of Environmental Principles as developed by the Coalition of Environmental Responsible Economies (CERES).

1999Cadillac introduces the stability enhancement system, StabiliTrak.

2006GM opens a state-of-the-art rollover crash test facility, becoming the first North American automaker to integrate in-house testing for the infrequent but potentially deadly rollover crashes.

2008GM introduces the first full-size Hybrid SUV in Canada.

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