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LaSalle was a brand of automobiles manufactured and marketed by GM's Cadillac division from 1927 through 1940. Alfred P. Sloan developed the concept for LaSalle and certain other General Motors' marques in order to fill pricing gaps he perceived in the General Motors product portfolio. Sloan created LaSalle as a companion marque for Cadillac. LaSalle automobiles were manufactured by Cadillac, but were priced lower than Cadillac-branded automobiles and were marketed as second-most prestigious marque in the General Motors portfolio.
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.
Built by Cadillac to its high standards, the LaSalle soon emerged as a trend-setting automobile. Earl was then placed in charge of overseeing the design of all of General Motors' vehicles. Later, the Great Depression, combined with LaSalle's stalling sales' numbers, caused Cadillac to rethink its companion make. Both Buick and Oldsmobile had eliminated the Marquette and the Viking in 1930, their second model year. Cadillac also saw sales of its cars losing ground, as confirmed Cadillac buyers tried to trim pennies by buying the less expensive LaSalle. LaSalle sales also were falling, from a high of 22,691 models in 1929 to a low of 3,290 in 1932.
The final 1940 LaSalles were introduced in October 1939 with, as it had in its first year, a full array of semi-custom body styles, including a convertible sedan. Harley Earl also oversaw this redesign. The LaSalle emerged with a smooth-flowing design, its trademark thin radiator flanked by a series of thin chrome slots, giving it a futuristic look. In its final year sales of the LaSalle reached the second highest level ever at 24,133.