Charles Warren Nash

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Charles Warren Nash (January 28, 1864 — June 6, 1948) was a United States automobile entrepreneur and served as an executive in the automobile industry.

Early life

Nash was born to a farming family in Cortland, Illinois on what is now Route 38 — Lincoln Highway. His mother was Anna E. "Annie" Cadwell (b. 1829 NY - d. 1909 MI) who married David L. Nash. Other Nash siblings included Mazovia (b. 1862), George C. (b. 1866) and Laura W. (b. 1868). After Charles' parent's separation, at age 6, Charles worked as a farm-hand in Michigan as an indentured servant. He later became a shepherd to the owner of hay-bailing machinery. He then moved to Flint, Michigan where he was noticed by William C. Durant of The Flint Road Cart Company and hired in 1890 where he later became a supervisor.

In 1897, he had a chance to drive an early automobile, and became very interested in the commercial potential of this newly developed contraption.

Automobile industry

Nash co-founded Buick Motor Company with David D. Buick and William C. Durant, and in 1908 became Buick's president and general manager.

In 1910, he was hired as general manager of General Motors (GM). He took over a debt-ridden company suffering losses and increased profits to US$800,000 as early as 1911 to over $12 million by 1914, as well as secured the firms financial footing.[1] However, his reluctance to pay dividends to shareholders resulted in Nash being voted out of his position in 1915.

Nash, who took control of General Motors in 1910 from William Durant, was now fired by him when Durant regained control in 1916.

Nash then resolved never again to work for someone else. He bought out the Jeffery Motor Company in August 1916. In 1917, re-named it as Nash Motors. The first car bearing the Nash nameplate was manufactured in 1918 and sales were successful, totaling 31,008 trucks and cars by 1919.[1]

Nash is best known for responding to public demand by building a smaller, more economical and affordable cars.[2] Nash Motors was very successful marketing cars to North America's middle class. He is also recognized for lean operations in business that included scheduling production and material orders closely, carrying a small inventory, and having flexibility in meeting the changing market needs during the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s.[2]

In addition to running Nash Motors, Charles Nash was also president of the luxury car company LaFayette Motors until that company was bought out by Nash Motors in 1924.


Charles W. Nash retired in 1936. His successor at the company was George W. Mason, who was recommended by Walter Chrysler.

He lived in retirement for twelve years later and died at the age of 84 in Beverly Hills, California. His health failed at the death of his wife in 1947.[3] He died in 1948, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale.


  • 1910 — Charles Nash takes control of General Motors from William Durant.
  • 1916 — William Durant re-gains control of General Motors and fires Charles Nash.
  • 1916 — Charles Nash buys the Thomas B. Jeffery Company.
  • 1917 — Thomas B. Jeffery Company is re-named Nash Motors.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Overview: Charles Warren Nash", Motorbase, retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Charles W. Nash - 1975 Inductee" Automobile Hall of Fame, retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  3. "C.W. Nash Near Death As His Wife Succumbs". New York Times. August 20, 1947, Wednesday. Retrieved on 6 June 2008. "Charles W. Nash, one of the nation's pioneer auto makers, took a turn for the worse and was near death himself today after he was told that the wife he had married sixty-three years ago had died last night." 
Business positions
Preceded by
Thomas Neal
President General Motors
1912 – 1916
Succeeded by
William C. Durant