In the early part of the century Oldsmobile was known for innovation. They were one of the first companies to introduce hard-topped vehicles, chrome trim, independent front suspension systems, and automatic transmission.
In the 1950s Oldsmobile introduced the Starfire, one of the first vehicles to feature a fully-enclosed wrap around windshield and a powerful engine. The stylish Starfire was a successful vehicle and many of its features were copied by other auto-manufacturers. In the 60s Oldsmobile introduced the front-wheel drive Toronado – unheard of during this time. By the 1970s the Toronado came equipped with a driver side airbag.
Throughout the 80s and 90s Oldsmobile prospered. The Aerotech, a performance vehicle, set speed records and the Cutlass was one of the best-selling vehicles of the time. Oldsmobile’s tendency for advanced technology continued with the introduction of the Guidestar system – the first onboard navigation system in a car.
Eventually, despite a history of success and momentum, Oldsmobile became somewhat stagnant. The brand suffered from something of an identity crisis by the end of the twentieth century. Several new models were released but sales of Oldsmobile stagnated and the division was shut down in 2004 ending a long history of innovation, design, leadership.