DETROIT — General Motors Corp. announced the death sentence for its struggling Oldsmobile division in December. Now the execution date has been set.
GM said Friday that it would end production of the Oldsmobile line with the 2004 model year, though production of the Intrigue and Aurora will end sooner. The company said the line has not been profitable.
Oldsmobile is the oldest automotive brand name in U.S. history.
It was named for its founder, Ransom E. Olds, who started the Olds Motor Vehicle Co. in Lansing in 1897. Worldwide, only the Daimler name — of Daimler, Mercedes-Benz and now DaimlerChrysler — is older.
GM later absorbed the company, and the Olds soon assumed its place as the middle-class, middle-age car in GM’s lineup — more expensive than Chevrolet and Pontiac but a step or two below Buick and Cadillac.
Oldsmobile was among the pioneers in using chrome-plated trim and the mass production of automatic transmissions, giving drivers the Eighty Eight series, the front-wheel-drive Toronado and the Cutlass.
The brand grew steadily over the years and in 1977 became the first GM division outside Chevrolet to sell more than 1 million cars. Its high point was 1985, when it built 1.17 million vehicles.
But Olds sales have been poor. Through August, they were down 14.5 percent from the first eight months of 2000.
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