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Car Company Breakdown: GM vs Stellantis

I’m going to tell you something that not many people know, something that will no doubt shatter your reality and alter the way you see the world for years to come: shopping for a car can be hard. I know you’re going to need a moment to sit down and recover from this revelation––let me know when the fainting spell has passed…. Good? Good. Now that we have that out of the way let’s talk about some of the reasons why shopping can be so hard.

For starters, with so many different models out there, it can be a lot of work to figure which type of vehicle––and which specific model––is right for you. As if that wasn’t enough, you also have to sift through a lot of different manufacturers and brands that make vehicles. Major name brands like Chevy, Cadillac, Jeep, and Chrysler have been part of the industry for decades, and they are cultural landmarks that we all know. But how much do you really know about these companies, where they came from, and the kinds of vehicles they provide?

If you haven’t heard the name “Stellantis” yet, then you will soon because they’re one of the newest major players in the auto industry. And yet, the brands that they own are some of the most well-known companies with histories that go back more than 100 years in many cases. Let’s take a look at Stellantis and General Motors (GM) to see what brands each of them owns or operates and what you should know about them while you shop for a vehicle.

About General Motors

GM has been around for more than 100 years; it was started in 1908 by William C. Durant, who had become a leading manufacturer of carriages and buggies here in the US. He started by acquiring Buick and went on to buy other companies, including Oldsmobile; a failed attempt to acquire Ford and several other problems resulted in Durant being removed from the company. He then started Chevrolet, made a bunch of money, and then used that success to reclaim control of GM and merged it with Chevrolet. Since then, GM has grown to be one of the biggest and most powerful car companies in the world, with four major brands currently available.

GM Brands: Buick

William C. Durant bought Buick in 1904, and it was the first brand that became a part of GM when he started the company four years later. Within the GM lineup, Buick has typically held a spot between Chevy and Cadillac as a luxury option and a premium brand overall. Over the course of more than 100 years, there have been many different Buicks available, and legendary models include the Buick Roadmaster, LeSabre, Skylark, and Regal. Today, Buick offers a range of crossover and SUV models, including the Encore, Envision, and Enclave.

A blue 2022 Cadillac XT5 is shown from a high angle.

GM Brands: Cadillac

Cadillac was one of the first auto manufacturers in the world, starting in 1902, though they have only been a part of GM since 1909. While Buicks are premium models, Cadillacs are designed with even greater luxury in mind; this is the premier luxury brand for GM. Throughout the years, Cadillac has been famous for the DeVille, Eldorado, and the Seville. The modern Cadillac lineup includes gorgeous sedans like the CT4 and CT5, as well as the large and stunning Escalade.

GM Brands: Chevrolet

While Buick and Cadillac are designed as luxury models, Chevrolet is the brand meant to offer something for everyone. That doesn’t mean they are cheap or lacking, however, as the Chevy lineup has included amazing vehicles like the Chevelle, Bel Air, and the Two-Ten. The modern lineup of Chevy models is the most expansive under GM, including the powerful Corvette, the Silverado series of pickups, and fantastic SUVs like the Blazer and Suburban.

GM Brands: GMC

Although GMC was first started in 1900, its modern incarnation as part of GM dates back to 1912, and it has been known for excellent vehicles ever since. Throughout most of its existence, GMC models have shared a platform with Chevy vehicles, but they offer slightly higher luxury and premium features. Modern GMCs include the Sierra trucks, built on the same platform as Chevy Silverado models, and the Hummer EV models.

About Stellantis

While General Motors has been around for more than 113 years, Stellantis was started about one year ago, on January 16, 2021. That probably seems a little strange, especially when you look at the brands they own, but they were created as a new multinational corporation from the merging of two other companies: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French PSA Group. Once these two companies merged, 15 different auto brands all came together and are now part of Stellantis – though the current plan is for each one to retain its own identity and simply benefit from consolidated leadership and a unified vision. A lot of these brands aren’t sold in the US; we’ll focus on the ones that are most popular here to keep things simple.

Stellantis Brands: Chrysler

One of the Big Three here in the US, Chrysler has been around since 1925; over the last century, they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs. For decades, Chrysler was known for amazing vehicles, including the Airstream, LeBaron, and the Saratoga. In recent years, Chrysler has struggled and currently offers just two models: the 300 and the Pacifica minivan. Personally, I hope the formation of Stellantis marks the start of a new, positive upswing for this iconic brand.

Stellantis Brands: Dodge

Started in 1900 as the Dodge Brothers Company, Dodge was eventually sold to Chrysler in 1928. Over the years, the Dodge brand has primarily been known for impressive trucks and passenger cars, with great models like the Dodge Ram truck, Grand Caravan, and the Lancer. Now, they’re mainly focused on high-performance muscle cars like the two-door Challenger and four-door Charger.

A blue 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is shown parked in a desert.

Stellantis Brands: Jeep

The Jeep brand has been around since 1943, and it can be traced back to the development of the Willys Jeep vehicle for the US Army prior to World War II. Since the introduction of the civilian Jeep CJ after the war, this has been a popular option among farmers, workers, and people who love the great outdoors. Jeep remains an iconic off-road vehicle manufacturer, with models like the Jeep Wrangler, Cherokee, and Gladiator offering fantastic trail performance.

Stellantis Brands: Ram

Although the Ram brand was once part of Dodge, in recent years Fiat Chrysler (before forming Stellantis) chose to separate it and establish its own identity. These trucks still retain all of the impressive power and capability as ever before, and there are numerous options available. In the past couple of years, Ram trucks have been leading the way in terms of luxury and tech features, with other brands trying to catch up to the large interior displays, comfortable seating, and rich sophistication the Ram pickups offer.

Other Stellantis Brands

While the ones I already mentioned are the major brands that you’ll see here in the US, Stellantis operates many others, including Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Fiat. Some of these have models that you can find available here, though they’re not nearly as popular as the domestic models. Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Abarth are well-known Italian sports-car makers, while Citroën and Peugeot are French companies quite popular in Europe. For the time being, Stellantis has given all of their brands several years to prove themselves and turn around any problems; whether all of them are up to the task or not remains to be seen. As I said before, I’m rooting for Chrysler to shake off their proverbial rust and make a comeback worthy of one of the Big Three.