Five times ugly equals GM's automotive failures

Five times ugly equals GM's automotive failures http://tinyurl.com/p7bsu7
These creations had consumers scratching their heads and heading for other dealerships
Dan Neil / The Los Angeles Times
The causes of General Motors Corp.'s descent into bankruptcy are complex, but its failures are tangible enough in a rogue's gallery of unloved and unlovely cars and trucks.
Here are five vehicles that helped push GM down the road to ruin:
Chevrolet Corvair (1960-1969): GM's answer to the first wave of European imports, the Corvair was a bold and stylish, rear-engine, air-cooled car with a slightly treacherous rear suspension that could provoke the car to spin or roll over in extreme handling. In his 1965 book, "Unsafe at Any Speed," consumer advocate Ralph Nader accused GM of cheaping out on the Corvair chassis engineering and putting buyers at risk. Although Nader's accusations against the car were debatable, he made the case that GM's product managers had ruthlessly calibrated safety by per-unit cost.
Cadillac Cimarron (1981-1988) Perhaps the lowest point in the noble history of Cadillac, the Cimarron was a tarted-up, schmaltzy, rebadged Chevy Cavalier rushed to market to compete against small premium cars from Mercedes-Benz and to help lift GM's corporate average fuel economy. It was a disaster. The car was dead-slow and unrefined (with a four-cylinder engine and either a three-speed automatic or a four-speed manual transmission) and GM had the temerity to charge about double what a comparable Cavalier cost. Tellingly, GM at first wanted to bill the car as "Cimarron, by Cadillac," but the double-talk only infuriated customers more.
Pontiac Aztek (2001-2005) The punch line to whatever joke about GM you care to tell, the Aztek began as a good idea -- a crossover model, combining the high seating and ground clearance of a sport utility vehicle with the drivability of a car -- that went astonishing wrong. It was terribly, empirically ugly, with the weird doubling of hood nostrils and headlamps that made it look as if it had been hit in the face with a shovel. The rear of the vehicle, which had been enlarged by product planners in a dubious attempt to make the car more versatile, was an awkward steel and glass bustle. The Aztek has since become a cautionary tale of design by committee.
Saturn Ion (2003-2007) The Ion was, on balance, merely representative of the widespread mediocrity of GM's small cars (Pontiac Grand Am, Chevy Cavalier) in the early part of the decade, and a time when Japanese and Korean carmakers were mounting a fresh campaign of excellence. The Ion was intended to go after Gen Y buyers who favored the Honda Civic, but between the tepid design, the palpable cheapness and almost schizophrenic use of interior materials, the Ion was passionless, a nonstarter. That it was badged a Saturn -- the brand that once meant to represent the reinvented GM -- only underscored GM's drift.
Hummer H2 (2003-present) The Hummer is not a bad vehicle. It is powerful, reliable and will climb a tree, precisely as advertised. But it was easily the most despised vehicle GM ever made and a classic example of GM's missing the pulse of the market. By building the Hummer H2 -- indeed, by setting up a division to support it -- GM unwittingly reinforced its image as an environmental nightmare and pawn of Big Oil, and that image problem certainly cost GM more than the incremental profit on Hummer sales.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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Having owned a Corvair, I'd buy another tomorrow if they still made them. The '62 Monza was a great handling car. Nader should spin out over a cliff.
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wrote in message

Agreed. I thought I would have seen the Geo and Vega and Bobcat on the list.
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I drove a Vega with about 20,000+ miles cross country (one way). It went from cream puff to oil burning heap after that trip.
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wrote:

Twenty thousand miles cross-country ? Did you head East from New York City ?
BTW Ed; I took delivery of my new KIA Spectra yesterday. Whatta car !!
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<RJ> wrote:

I bought a used 2006 Specta August 2008. 45k miles. So far it has been a good car and nothing has gone wrong - yet. For the price it is a great car. The ergonomics and engineering are excellent. It beats that crappy Corolla i rented for a week.
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To clarify, it has 20k when I started and I put 3400 on it in 5 days. It could not take the sustained highway speeds.
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You are so full of $#it your eyes must be brown. My one son owned a Vega that he ran to almost 150,000 miles. What killed it was RUST, just as it did all the Jap vehicles at the time.

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With the early Vegas you had to be careful not to overheat it. I forget what the issue was (aluminum head/cast iron block maybe?). It got fixed in later models.

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Tom W. Butts wrote:

I too was dumb enough to buy a Vega. Mid-90s Cavalier had dissimilar metals for the head and block (I think it was an iron head and aluminum block). Mine developed a cracked head and cracked intake manifold. That was the last GM I ever bought. That car was the *last* GM I ever bought. Good riddance to GM.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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On Mon, 22 Jun 2009 00:21:59 -0400, Jim Higgins

You're repeating yourself. Sober up. GM-hatred is not worth getting drunk over. I've said over many years that I suspected most GM haters are those who bought a Vega. You're the first to admit to it, even if it took some loosening up. Congratulations anyway, for your honesty. BTW, though I never cared for the Vega, or bought one, or trusted GM to be looking out for my interests, you weren't the dumb one in buying it. You weren't supposed to be the car expert. GM was. So GM was the dumb one. It was dumb to produce it, dumb to sell it, then dumb not to offer refunds for those burned by it. GM chose to betray their customers. They're paying the piper now.
--Vic
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Are you talking about the one with the aluminum-silicone block? That WAS a technological disaster.
Mercedes uses some similar technology now, but when there is a failure, it is unhandy and expensive to work with. Blocks can only be machined and honed at one or two places in the USA, I am told. (Wonder if it is the Sunnen equipment that the Vega required??)
Bill for boring the Mercedes, just a couple of years ago, was about $3500.
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There was NEVER an "aluminum-silicone block". Silicon is elemental, silicone is a polymeric compound. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevy_Vega#Aluminum_engine_block

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Oh I know that,. dude. .I am a professional chemist. That was a typo.
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Really? A typo, dude?! Perhaps you're using a Dvorak keyboard layout wherein the "period" key is adjacent to the "e" key? Otherwise the reality is that it would much more likely appear to be an error related to orthography than typography, given the aforementioned, as silicon and silicone are commonly mistaken (by dilettantes) for one another. But it really isn't the type of "mistake" one would assume from a "chemist" anymore than one would expect a linguist to muddle the spelling, definition or usage of the words "infer" and "imply", an engineer to stumble on the distinction between energy and power, a mathematician to confuse algebraic with transcendental functions or a physicist to pronounce the term nuclear as "nuke'-you-lir".
;^)
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wrote in message

*With* about 20,000 miles, RJ - *with*.

They are nice cars indeed. I've owned 2 Sonatas now (currently own), and I'm nothing but pleased with them. I suspect you'll find the Spectra to be quite the same.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@windstream.net
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On Thu, 04 Jun 2009 05:57:07 -0400, Jim Higgins

So why was it that Toyota never got the same amount of grief for their wimpy Hummer clone the FJ cruiser? Equally as much of a gas hog, just as needlessly huge too.
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