Saturday 5th March 1927
The LaSalle was formally introduced and marketed by General Motors’ Cadillac division from 1927 through 1940. Alfred P. Sloan developed the concept for LaSalle to fill pricing gaps he perceived in the General Motors product portfolio. As originally developed by Sloan, General Motors’ market segmentation strategy placed each of the company’s individual automobile marques into specific price points, called the General Motors Companion Make Program. The Chevrolet was designated as the entry level product. Next, (in ascending order), came the Pontiac, Oakland, Viking, Oldsmobile, Marquette, Buick, and ultimately, Cadillac. By the 1920s, certain General Motors products began to shift out of the plan as the products improved and engine advances were made. Under the companion marque stragegy, the gap between the Chevrolet and the Oakland would be filled by a new marque named Pontiac, a quality six-cylinder car designed to sell for the price of a four-cylinder. The wide gap between Oldsmobile and Buick would be filled by two companion marques: Oldsmobile was assigned the up-market V8 engine Viking and Buick was assigned the more compact six-cylinder Marquette. Cadillac, which had seen its base prices soar in the heady 1920s, was assigned the LaSalle as a companion marque to fill the gap that existed between it and Buick. Like Cadillac, the LaSalle brand name was based on that of a French explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.