Jack:  I don't know how many of our people will read this much info.   This presentation was made to the Delphi, (ie Fisher Body,  Fisher-Guide, Ternstedt, and a couple more names I don't remember) retirees here in Columbus.  They seemed to enjoy the info.  Most said they had no idea how extensive ACDelco was in providing parts to the supply line of GM Parts.  I also provided them the ability to go to the local ACD DDG an purchase ACD parts at a discount.  That they liked very much. 

And I am sure someone will pick out things that arn't 100% factual.  Let them go at it. I took all the info from printed letters I had  collected from several people and at one time had been printed by UMS, United Delco, SPOGM and ACDELCO.

Regards, JKH  Ottjkh!@aol.com  




MAY 1, 2007



            The start of this part of General Motors was in 1916 when Mr. Alfred P Sloan, Jr organized the United Motors Corporation.  They consolidated a group of independent accessory manufacturers  for a more efficient way to handle sales and service more efficiently throughout the whole United States.


            The original companies were:  Dayton Engineering Laboratories (Delco), Remy Electric, Klaxon Horns, New Departure Ball Bearings and Hyatt Roller Bearings.  Harrison Radiator and Jaxon Steel Products.  Both Dayton Engineering Labs and Remy Electric were competitors and in 1916 they merged to become, “Delco-Remy” and when that happened the whole group became United Motors Service, Inc of United Motors Corporation.


            In 1918 GM purchased the assets of the United Motors Corporation and Mr. Sloan became a Vice President of GM.    They changed the name of it all  to United Motor Service and formed a nation-wide distribution chain of independent service and parts wholesalers.  (Show sign). These distributors not only sold parts, but did service work on GM vehicles.


            Since warranty on a new vehicle back then was only 90 days, many vehicle owners didn’t care to drive back to a larger city where the dealer was, so it was convenient to have a UMS service outlet in smaller towns all over the United States. 


            UMS was also involved in sending mechanics who worked for all the UMS outlets and independent garages and service stations to be trained at the General Motors Training Centers.  This training for many years was free to those customers who purchased UMS products.


            UMS was the replacement sales and marketing arm for aftermarket sales for General Motors.  The “aftermarket” is a term used to designate parts made by the Original Equipment Manufacturer OR the car manufacturer supplier and then sold to and thru Distributors and Jobbers to Garages, Service Stations and Car Dealers.


            It wasn’t until 1944 that UMS became a Division of GM


            The term OEM as I said, Original Equipment Manufacturer is the description  for the Delphi plant that most of you worked for, here in Columbus.


            And remember, UMS  was a Service Division so we also had very small Distributors who  sold and serviced  not only to the general public, but handled warranty work for the GM Car Dealers with the following product lines:  Harrision Radiators, AC Speedometers and Delco Radios. (Hedrick Radiator, Ace Radio, Foreign Speedometer)


            Then in 1960 the Division’s name was changed to “United Delco” and all the manufacturing names were also changed with the word “Delco” in front of the Division name, ie, Delco  Harrison, Delco Packard, Delco Moraine.  The name “Delco” was well recognized by the driving public by that time.


            For almost 50 years most all of these parts were supplied by GM Manufacturing Divisions.  The following is a list of those suppliers:


            Delco-Remy Div. that made Delco Batteries and Starters, Alternaters and Switches.  Batteries are made in 5 plants in the U.S. and Korea.  ACDELCO is responsible for sales and distribution and warranty to all levels of distribution with Delco Batteries.


            Guide Lamp Div. that supplied all the Headlight Bulbs that were shipped and sold  thru AC Spark Plug Div.  At one time UMS sold all the headlight, parking light and tail light assemblies and lenses designed by the Car Divisions and manufactured by Guide Lamp Div.  That line was withdrawn from distribution because GM Dealers usually needed a grill and bumper and related parts, so they ordered it all from the GM Parts Division Warehouse and the distributor was faced with slow sales. 


            Harrison Radiators  for Radiators, Thermostats and Air Conditioning Condensers, and Evaporators.


            Delco Moraine Div. for Brake Parts and Fluid.


            Delco New Departure-Hyatt for Roller and Ball Bearings


            Delco Packard for Electrical Wiring Systems  and Battery Cables, Bulk Spooled Wire, Terminals and Ignition Wiring.


            Delco Products Div. for Shock Absorbers and Struts and Windshield Wiper Systems, Heater Defroster and Accessory Motors.


            Delco Radio Div. for Radios and Electronic Parts and Switches, DVD and Cassette Players.


            Rochester Products for Carburetors and Chemicals to keep your vehicle running smoothly and to assist the mechanic with cleaners, sealers and immersion solvents.


            Detroit Transmission was originally for only the Hydra-matic Transmission.  In 1963 UMS added the Buick Dynaflow and Chevrolet Powerglide transmission plus all the manual transmission parts  to that line.        .


            AC Spark Plug Div. also supplied UMS the Speedometer repair parts since we were a “Service Division” and needed these parts for warranty repairs of Speedometers.


            This was basically what UMS was composed of until it because United Delco. 


            Then after 1966 the market and new car products were changing so fast, United Delco had to hustle to keep pace with the needs of a growing line of products.  The need for the original UMS Service Distributors was dropping  and many of the Distributors became what was know as “WD’s” or Warehouse Distributors.  And they stopped doing service.  Many turned their drive in service outlets into “Jobbing Stores” and sold to all levels of trade, including discounting to the walk in retail customer.


            One of the first added lines was the Air Conditioning line of parts.  Frigidaire in Dayton and Harrison Radiator were the original designers of the GM Air Conditioning parts line.  The sales in that line are one of the largest selling in the market today.  And especially from June to October in the U.S. 


            The next line added, that today amounts to millions of dollars is the Emission Parts line of products.  This line is composed mostly of sensors, relays and switches.  Rochester Products was originally the major suppliers of these products along with AC-Spark Plug Div.   It is now so wide and varied, GM has to use many suppliers to keep up with the demand.


            The third line was New and Remanufactured Water Pumps. 


            And most of the lines will cover all vehicle makes and models, not just GM vehicles. 


            Additionally ACDELCO has a  complete line of competitive brake parts and shoes by the name of Dura Stop.  This line is made by Raybestos of brake parts and packaged for ACDELCO.  If you doubt the quality, it is also used by GM Dealers to have a better priced line for working on used vehicles. 


            If your able to do front end alignment then you can buy ACDELCO front end and alighment repair parts.  This line is supplied by Moog.  A major manufacturer of OEM parts.


            You can also purchase ACDELCO windshield wiper blades for all vehicles.


            And last, ACDELCO supplies a complete line of belts and hoses for all engines, farm and industrial.   


            Then in 1974, the AC Spark Plug Div. who for the same number of years were selling the same customers as UMS/United Delco was merged together with United Delco and the Division became know as AC-Delco.  Using the Tri-Logo and the identification of products.  You will remember this, as it had the block GM inbetween the AC red circle on the left and the Delco split circle on the right.



AC Spark Plug Div. GM


            A gentleman by the name of Albert Champion had a company in Toledo, Oh. He made Champion Spark plugs.  He decided to sell his company and do something else.  To fill his time, he did mostly traveling, but he soon became eager to get back into manufacturing of auto parts.

              He couldn’t manufacture spark plugs in Toledo since he had signed a “no compete” clause withing 100 miles of Toledo when he sold his company.  So he moved to Flint, Mi. and started a company called “The Champion Ignition Company” making of course, spark plugs. 

            He was a major supplier to GM.  Expanding his business thru WWI and in 1922 renamed the company, “AC Spark Plug Company”. (The AC standing for Albert Champion)

            He was making a quality product and in 1927 his spark plugs were in the engine that flew Lindbergh from New York to Paris.

            After Mr. Champion died in 1927, GM purchased the stock of his company and in 1933 AC Spark Plug became a Division of GM.  By then the products being made by AC Spark Plug included:  Spark Plugs, Speedometers, Air Cleaners, Oil Filters and Gasoline Filters, and dashboard Gauges. 


            Then came Fuel Pumps that eliminated the dreaded , “Vapor Lock”.  The old timers will remember will this!


            Additional line made by AC now include:  Catalytic Converters, (which ACD does not sell), Valve Lifters, Gas Caps, and PCV valves. 


            But in GM change has become a byword. 


            In 1981 GM Warehousing and Distribution Div. (GMWDD) was created with

(1), AC-Delco and  (2), GM Parts operating as separate sales activities.  (no longer Divisions)  selling products thru over 4000 Distributors.                  


            Then in 1986 it all becomes GM Service Parts Operations. (GMSPO) with restructuring warehousing, domestic and foreign sales organizations for greater efficiency.


            In 1995 AC-Delco becomes ACDELCO, written out as one word.  The TRI-LOGO is eliminated and all advertising now shows the written:  ACDELCO.


            In 2002 a major change was made in the GM Parts Distribution Program known as ACDELCO.  For several years the “Distributor” had been encouraged to support the ACDELCO program by elimination of competitive products.  Drop the Monroe Shocks and only sell Delco, drop the Wagner Brake line and only sell Delco, etc.  By doing this the more lines of products the Distributor sold, the larger discount he would receive on his total volume.  And for those WD’s who didn’t think they could put all their “eggs” in one basket, ACDELCO started termination of the smaller Distributors.  It started with those less than $500,000 annual volume.  This eliminated all the Radiator, Speedometer and Radio accounts and other small accounts.  They then went to $1,000,000, then to $2,000,000.  When they were finished there were only 97 Distributors nationally. 


            These customers were now called:  DDG’s or Dedicated Distribution Groups. 

They get maximum discounts on all lines, advertising support, field training at their place of business and an inventory return program that is more effective in the parts distribution business. 


            Who does the warranty repair for the GM Car Dealer on Radiators, Radios and Speedometers?  It can get very complicated.  Most are done by product exchange thru the dealer.  The dealer handles the warranty credits for parts and labor thru GM Parts.  The parts are then scraped by the dealer.  ACDELCO is not involved. 

            The Radio program is handled by the Dealer and they use a company here in town called Electrosound ..  They bought out Ace Radio about 20 years ago.  The main store is in Cleveland.  You can’t buy Delco Radio Parts of any kind any more;  even the small bulbs in the Radio Dial front.  So what do you do.  If under warranty, the dealer will handle it.  If out of warranty, the dealer still handles the exchange and you will pay a arm and a leg for the unit and labor just to replace a bulb.  The bulbs are not available in the aftermarket to my knowledge. 


            Thank  you for your kind attentation and have a good afternoon.


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