So in January 1918, Chevrolet -- which was founded Nov. 3, 1911 -- added its first truck models. Since then, the iconic company has sold tens of millions of trucks.
In fact, in recent years, particularly before the U.S. auto industry restructuring at the end of the past decade, GM and Ford were largely pickup truck companies that also made cars. Both are changing today, manufacturing cars such as the Cruze, Sonic, Fiesta and Focus, which can compete with automobile market leaders Honda and Toyota.
Still, in November, light trucks including utilities accounted for 68% of GM sales of 180,402 vehicles.
Recently Chevrolet, in celebration of its 100th anniversary, prepared a list of "10 Chevrolet trucks that built a global brand." This followed an earlier list, the top five Chevrolet cars of all-time.
Here are those top 10 trucks:
1920 Chevrolet 490 Flat Face Cowl and Chassis
The first Chevy trucks, offered in 1918, were essentially body-less Chevrolet 490 cars equipped with strong rear springs. The buyer added a wooden cab and cargo box or panel van body.
If this sounds a bit inconvenient, it should be noted that the price for a half-ton vehicle was just $595. For $1,125, Chevrolet offered a 1918 Model T (for truck), with a one-ton capacity, built on a longer, stronger frame.
During the 1920s, trucking grew to the point that in 1929, Chevrolet sold 187,103 trucks.
1925 Chevrolet Panel Truck in Brazil
Very early on, GM realized that it could make money selling cars not only in the U.S., but also around the world.
In the early 1930s, the automaker established a worldwide network of 18 plants to assemble Chevrolet cars and trucks.
The first foreign plant, in Denmark, built its first Chevrolet, a truck, in 1924. In 1925, for the first time, Chevrolet assembled a truck in Brazil. Then as now, Brazil had a rapidly expanding economy and within a little more than a year, GM do Brasil had sold its first 25,000 vehicles. Millions more sales have followed.
Today, the U.S. is the only place where Chevrolet sells more vehicles than it does in Brazil.
1937 half-ton pickup
In the mid-1930s, as the U.S. economy began to recover from the Great Depression, Chevrolet sought to lead a reviving truck market with innovations in pickup trucks.
The 1934 Chevrolet pickup got its own chassis, rather than one adapted from a passenger car.
The 1937 pickup got a streamlined design, a sturdier body and a larger, more powerful 78-horsepower engine. And speaking of fuel efficiency, a 1937 Chevrolet half-ton pickup took a 10,245-mile drive around the U.S., monitored by the American Automobile Association. Carrying a 1,060-pound load, the truck averaged 20.7 miles per gallon.
In 1947, with World War II over, Chevrolet introduced a completely redesigned truck with a roomier, more comfortable cab, improved visibility and a wider pickup box.
The design was produced, with few major changes, from 1947 through 1953, when it got a new frontal appearance.
This is the time when trucks began to overtake cars as Chevrolet's principal product. Before World War II, Chevrolet produced four cars for every truck. By 1950, when Chevrolet became the first brand to sell more than 2 million vehicles in a yeaar, the ratio of cars to trucks was around 2.5-to-1.