Oldsmobiles were first produced in a plant in Lansing, Michigan, in one of the earliest automotive assembly lines. Olds along with Buick were the first brands of the newly established General Motors in 1908. More than 35 million Olds cars were produced in over a century of production. Oldsmobile pioneered features such as chrome plating in 1926 and the first automatic transmission in 1940. Aimed squarely at middle income consumers, at one time the Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best selling car in the United States. Olds thrived in the 1970s and 1980s by producing cars that were seen as reliable and a good value compared to the competition.
By the 1990s, sales declined along with GM's market share. The brand began to struggle for its identity. "Not you father's Olds" was even tried as a tagline to try and persuade a younger demographic to consider its offerings. Some analysts believe such marketing only deepened perceptions that Oldsmobile was a stodgy brand. Oldsmobile experimented with cars with sleeker styling, and GM began rebadging some of its cars for the Olds nameplate. In the years before the brand was shut down, Oldsmobile gained some new fans with models such as the Achieva, Bravada SUV, and restyled 88. GM wound up retiring Oldsmobile along with the Saturn and Pontiac brands. GM sold off Saab and Hummer.