Durant Motors Inc. was established in 1921 by former General Motors CEO William "Billy" Durant following his termination by the GM board of directors and the New York bankers that financed GM.
Durant Motors attempted to be a full-line automobile producer of cars and fielded the Flint, Durant, and Star brands which were designed to meet Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland and Chevrolet price points. Billy Durant also acquired luxury car maker Locomobile of Bridgeport, Connecticut, at its liquidation sale in 1922; in theory Locomobile gave him a product that would compete against Rolls Royce and Pierce-Arrow. Durant Motors had a relationship with the Dort, Frontenac and DeVaux automobile name badges. The Rugby line was the export name for Durant's Star Car line. However, from 1928 to 1931 Durant marketed trucks in the US and Canadian markets under the badge Rugby Trucks. The Princeton, a model aimed at the Packard and Cadillac price point was planned, but never realized; also planned was the Eagle car line but it never made it off the drafting tables.
Initially, Durant Motors enjoyed success based upon Billy Durant's track record at General Motors where he assembled independent makes Chevrolet, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac. However when sales failed to meet volumes sufficient to sustain Durant Motors holdings, the firm's financial footing began to slip. As a result, Durant Motors began losing market share and dealers. The final models, produced under the Durant brand, rolled off the assembly line in 1931 but continued in Canada as Durant Frontenac.
The Lansing, Michigan, Durant plant on Verlinden Avenue opened in 1920. After the demise of Durant, it remained closed until GM purchased it in 1935. It restarted production for GM's Fisher Body division, later becoming the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac factory. It was finally combined with another Lansing plant to become Lansing Car Assembly. That factory was closed on May 6, 2005.
Durant's former plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey housed one of the first supermarkets in the 1930's, then was used as a cookie bakery by Burry Biscuits for many years. It was in use as a warehouse when it was destroyed by fire in December 2011.
Billy Durant died nearly broke at age 85 in 1947, the same year as Henry Ford, age 83.