How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

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Thread: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

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    How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek
    Hemmings
    Daniel Strohl
    October 25, 2019



    Out at GM’s West Coast Advanced Concept Center in Thousand Oaks, California, Tom Peters, then the director of the ACC, took Smale’s directive to his team, which was already investigating “active outdoor lifestyle” vehicles much like the Pontiac Stinger from a few years prior. As he told TFL, he asked his team, “What if you took a Camaro and a Blazer and put it in a blender?” and called the resulting The North Face jacket-inspired sporty all-wheel-drive people and gear hauler – based on drawings by Brigid O’Kane – the Bear Claw.

    “The initial Aztek ‘Bear Claw’ concept was based on an S-series full-frame platform with four-wheel drive, an off-road wheel/tire package and an aggressively styled body featuring big flared wheel arches, a low roof and a wide track,”

    Such an attitude might have benefited the Aztek had it hewed close to the truck-based Bear Claw concept. However, as Weisman wrote, “General Motors’ culture took over from there. Design would be by committee, the focus groups extensive. And production would have to stick to a tight budget.”

    “This created some serious design challenges and forced us to move away from the original design intent,” Peters told TFL. “For example, the cowl and roof had to be raised and the body narrowed. This caused the dash to axle dimension to be raised and moved forward while the minivans small wheels and tires forced the wheel arches to become smaller.”

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    At some point while they were making all of the design concessions someone should've stepped in and stopped this from happening.
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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    Stepped in or Stepped back and looked at what was happening.

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    Such an attitude might have benefited the Aztek had it hewed close to the truck-based Bear Claw concept. However, as Weisman wrote, “General Motors’ culture took over from there. Design would be by committee, the focus groups extensive. And production would have to stick to a tight budget.”
    Short changing engineers never pays off.

    The Aztec could have been a home run, it could have made GM a segment leader in the very new crossover market. It could have set Pontiac apart and gave it a reason to exist.

    I don’t know who said it, but you can make a lot of money running a company to the ground.

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    Too much acid!

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    By the looks of those sketches this thing would have been much better had they went with a more "bold" design than what it ended up like.

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    At one point in time they were a great buy for someone like me that doesn't care about looks. Very useful size and good components. Pennies on the dollar compared to any competitors. They're never worth much when I get rid of them.

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkbill View Post
    At one point in time they were a great buy for someone like me that doesn't care about looks. Very useful size and good components. Pennies on the dollar compared to any competitors. They're never worth much when I get rid of them.
    They are also quite practical for camping, tent and all. There's still nothing like it as far as I know.



    They weren't bad, but appearances do matter and the Aztek was lacking

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    It's a shame the Aztec went from a Bear Claw to an Elephant's ear....I remember being wow'ed by the concept when it debuted,but so so disappointed when the production model hit the scene.

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    The Aztec epitomized the tagline PONTIAC - "We build excretment"

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    I wonder what would have happened if the Aztek came out the way it was supposed to and not the mess it was. Looks like it would have been very cool, but was it 10 years ahead of its time and still not have sold well? Funny how GM knew where the market was going so early, I recall that Pontiac was going to become less sports cars and more Sport Activity Vehicles/lifestyle vehicles. 20 years later says GM had read the market to a T. Funny how they knew where the market was going, yet totally blew it with Cadillac.

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    Quote Originally Posted by Self Reliance View Post
    They are also quite practical for camping, tent and all. There's still nothing like it as far as I know.



    They weren't bad, but appearances do matter and the Aztek was lacking
    With the tent on.....it looks like a condom. Sorry, first thing I thought when I saw that. Not a pretty mental picture either.

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    Quote Originally Posted by 1958carnut View Post
    By the looks of those sketches this thing would have been much better had they went with a more "bold" design than what it ended up like.
    I think it still would have been a mess, actually. Wrong size and platform. The Aztek should have been the size and looks of the Vibe.

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    Re: How the Pontiac Aztek became the Pontiac Aztek

    I went to the Vancouver international auto show and they had one of the concept aztecs there and were asking us to crawl through it and rate what we thought about it
    at that point it was/looked RWD with BIG WHEELS and a lower roof line (was a mock up with NO undercarriage / mechanicals
    the reaction was positive
    2 years later we got a minivan with a "bad" body

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