LaSalle was a niche brand luxury automobile from General Motors’ Cadillac division from 1927 through 1940. Alfred P. Sloan, GM’s Chairman at the time, sprinkled four brands of niche cars into price mid-points – LaSalle, Marquette, Viking and Pontiac. Sloan created LaSalle as “next-best” to Cadillac.
The first LaSalles came out in 1927 and contained the Cadillac chassis and V8 engine. However, they cost less than Cadillacs, starting at $2,685. This made them an attractive option for buyers who wanted a luxurious car, but could not afford a Cadillac.
LaSalles succeeded with the public. In 1928, LaSalle sales surpassed 20,000 units, making it the third-best-selling luxury car in the United States.
LaSalles weathered the 1930s – no small feat due to the Depression underway. In 1937, LaSalle conducted a shake-up of its offerings to include a wider variety. This helped LaSalle to maintain its sales momentum.
The War and the End of Production
However, the outbreak of World War II in 1939 led to a decline in LaSalle sales. As the war effort ramped up, GM shifted its production focus to military vehicles. As a result, LaSalle ceased production in 1940.
LaSalles never reappeared after the war. GM decided to focus its resources on Cadillac and Buick, and the LaSalle brand faded away.
LaSalle vs. the Viking
As compared to GM’s other niche car, LaSalles generally sold for a higher price than Vikings. In 1927, the starting price for a LaSalle was $2,685, while the starting price for a Viking was $2,295. This price difference was due to the fact that LaSalles were built on a more expensive chassis and were equipped with more luxurious features.
In the end, LaSalles were more successful than Vikings. LaSalle sales peaked at 33,000 units in 1930, while Viking sales never exceeded 20,000 units. LaSalles were also more popular with celebrities and other well-to-do individuals.
Vikings, on the other hand, were more utilitarian vehicles. They were designed for everyday use and were not as stylish or luxurious as LaSalles. Vikings were also only available in a limited number of body styles, including sedans and coupes.
- Year Started: 1927
- Year Ended: 1940
- Origin Of Name: Named after the Explorer
- Location Sales: United States
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: General Motors
- Owner While In Use: General Motors
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Cadillac
- Naics Code: 336110
- Location Headquarters: Detroit, Michigan USA