2. The second suicide in the Madoff robbery - I am still convinced we did not hear the real story yet and I doubt we ever will.
3. Today I heard a story which is incredible as this man together with the Rockefellers and some others like Dupont made a huge market manipulation but failed at the end - so they say but Rockefellers who are again the main force behind the current manipulation have survived and made some handsome fortune but Durant lost his entire fortune.
Still believing in the automobile, Durant joined forces with race car driver Louis Chevrolet (1879–1941) and established Chevrolet Motor Company in 1911. Chevrolet was an instant success with the Model 490, which cost more than Ford's Model T, but offered greater refinements and comfort. The loan the bankers had made to General Motors expired in 1915, and with it, Durant's prohibition from involvement in the company. With the help of the Du Pont family, Durant was able to regain control of General Motors in 1916. Chevrolet was brought into the General Motors family of automobiles, and the company prospered.
Durant, however, was unable to effectively deal with the company's stock price problems during the Panic of 1920. General Motors stock fell from $42 per share in March to just $14 per share in October. Durant felt personally responsible to many of the shareholders, as he had made personal commitments to friends and neighbors to sell the stock. He tried valiantly to prop up the stock price and save his friends' investments, but he failed.
When the Du Ponts discovered Durant's position, they forced him out of General Motors in order to protect their own investment. Oddly, Durant could have weathered all the problems with stock prices and the company if he had just left the situation alone. By 1926, just six years later, General Motors stock was trading at $210 per share. From April to November of 1920, Durant lost over $90 million. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would have been over $1 billion in the 1990s. Many believe this to be the largest relative loss of money in the history of the stock market.
Durant made another attempt to succeed in the automobile industry, starting Durant Motors in 1921, but it failed to establish itself in the market. By the time of the stock market crash of 1929, Durant Motors was already shaky and it lost ground steadily until its dissolution in 1933. By 1935 Durant had declared bankruptcy. He dabbled in a number of other business ventures, including a bowling alley, but none were particularly successful. He died in New York on March 18, 1947.
William C. Durant
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|William Crapo Durant|
William Durant at an early auto outing before the organization of General Motors
|Born||December 8, 1861(1861-12-08) |
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||March 18, 1947 (aged 85) |
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
William Crapo "Billy" Durant (December 8, 1861–March 18, 1947) was a leading pioneer of the United States automobile industry, the founder of General Motors and Chevrolet who created the system of multi-brand holding companies with different lines of cars.
A French American born in Boston, Massachusetts, he was the grandson of Michigan governor Henry H. Crapo. William dropped out of high school to work in his grandfather's lumberyard, but by 1885 he had partnered with Josiah Dort to create the Coldwater Road Cart Company. He started out as a cigar salesman in Flint, Michigan, and eventually moved to selling carriages. He founded the Flint Road Cart Company in 1886, eventually transforming $2,000 in start-up capital into a $2 million business with sales around the world. By 1890 the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, based in Flint, Michigan, had become a leading manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles. When approached to become General Manager of Buick in 1904, he made a similar success and was soon president of this horseless-vehicle company. In 1908 he arranged the incorporation by proxies of General Motors and quickly thereafter sold stock, and with the proceeds acquired Oldsmobile. The acquisitions of Oakland, Cadillac, and parts companies followed in short order.
Originally, Durant was highly skeptical of cars, thinking they were smelly, noisy, and dangerous, to the point where he refused to let his daughter ride in one. By 1900, there was significant public outcry for government regulation of gas-powered horseless carriages. Durant heard this outcry, and rather than relying on government regulations to improve their safety, saw an opportunity to build a successful company by improving on the safety of these new machines. In order to accomplish this, he sought out the purchase of Buick, a local car company with few sales and large debts.
 General Motors
In 1904, Durant began executing his vision of building the car industry, starting from virtually nothing. He utilized his sales skills and entered the Buick (which had built only 37 cars to date) in a New York auto show. He returned from that show with orders for 1,108 cars.
Both Durant and rival Henry Ford saw the automobile becoming a mass market item. Ford followed the course of the basic Model T, and had said "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black." Durant however, drawing on his experience in the carriage business, sought to create automobiles targeted to various incomes and tastes. This brought about his plans to merge Buick with various other companies to serve this purpose. He purchased Cadillac, and in 1908 formed General Motors by consolidating thirteen car companies and ten parts-and-accessories manufacturers.
In 1910, Durant became financially overextended and banking interests assumed control, forcing him from management of GM. He immediately set out to create another "GM," starting with the Little car, named after its founder, William H. Little. His initial intention was to compete with the Ford Model T, then beginning to show its impending popularity. Unsatisfied with this approach, however, he abandoned it and went into partnership with Louis Chevrolet in 1911, starting the Chevrolet company. Before long, a disagreement between the two entrepreneurs resulted in Durant buying out his partner's share of the company.
Nevertheless, the venture was so successful for Durant that he was able to buy enough shares in GM to regain control, becoming its president in 1916. During his presidency from 1916-1920, Durant brought the Chevrolet product line, as well as Fisher Body and Frigidaire into General Motors. In 1920, he finally lost control of GM to the DuPont interests.
While in charge of Chevrolet, Durant did acquire other companies, including Republic Motors, mainly to produce Chevrolets. He also assembled a collection of parts and components manufacturers into a new entity called United Motors, making Alfred P. Sloan the president. United Motors was eventually folded into General Motors, and Sloan rose to president of GM in the 1920s, going on to build the company into the world's largest automaker.
 Durant Motors
In 1921 he established a new Durant Motors company, initially with one brand. Within two years, it had a variety of cars including the Durant, Star and Flint which rivaled the range offered by General Motors. Part of the new empire included a factory in Leaside, Ontario for Canadian production.
As he had with General Motors, Durant acquired a range of companies whose cars were aimed at different markets. The cheapest brand was the Star, aimed at the person who would otherwise buy the obsolescent Model T Ford, while the Durant cars were mid-market, the Princeton line (designed, prototyped, and marketed but never produced) competed with Packard and Cadillac, and the ultra-luxurious Locomobile was the top of the line. However, he was unable to duplicate his former success, and the financial woes of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression proved fatal as the company failed in 1933.
 Wall Street and Later Years
In the 1920s, Durant became a major "player" on Wall Street and on Black Tuesday joined with members of the Rockefeller family and other financial giants to buy large quantities of stocks in order to demonstrate to the public their confidence in the stock market. His effort proved costly and failed to stop the market slide.
After the fall of Durant Motors, Durant and his second wife lived on a small pension provided by Alfred P. Sloan on behalf of General Motors. He managed a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan until his death in 1947. He was interred in a private mausoleum at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, NY.