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What exactly was it that made Geo the brand no one wanted to own? Why was a Chevy Cavalier so much more attractive than a Geo Prizm or Geo Storm? Why was a Saturn an intelligent choice, but not a Geo?

I ask you because I was out of country from the year of its launch in 1989, until right about 'death time', when Chevy began offering the Geo Metro, Tracker, and Prizm as its own.

Geo Storm Wagon:


The web is rife with ridicule of the Geo brand, but try hard and you MIGHT find a fan site or two (probably an Isuzu Impulse / Geo Storm site).

How would a GEO of today fare, if say the brand was focused on fuel efficient cars and Hybrids?

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Feeling the pinch
03-23-2004 9:28 PM EST
Those making their living behind the wheel hit hard by rising gas prices
By Jim Schenke, Journal and Courier

With today's high gasoline prices, drivers' blood pressure may rise in correlation with their fuel gauges.

That's especially true of delivery workers, taxi drivers and others whose jobs involve lots of driving.

Across the country, drivers are paying anywhere from about $1.50 to more than $2 a gallon for gasoline. That's slightly higher than prices of a year ago and about 20 cents a gallon higher than prices seen in January.

Domino's Pizza delivery drivers start out at less than minimum wage in Lafayette and depend heavily on tips. On a busy night they rack up 200 miles on the odometer.

They also pay for their own gas.

Miles Nesmith, 20, of Lafayette said that unless he puts himself in something as uncool as a Geo Metro, he will spend at least half his tips at the gas pump.

http://www.lafayettejc.com/news20040323/20...080019472.shtml
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Some people may recall the Geo brand that was once available in Chevrolet dealerships. Geo was created in 1989 and rolled out with model year 1991 products. There were the small car Metro (based on the Suzuki Swift), the small SUV Tracker (based on the Suzuki Vitara), and the Prizm (based on the Toyota Corolla). The first two were produced at the Suzuki-GM CAMI joint venture plant in Ingersoll, Ontario; the Prizm was produced at the Toyota-GM NUMMI joint venture plant in Freemont, California. And it should be mentioned that just as the aforementioned vehicles have fraternal twins, so too does the Aveo: the Kalos platform, which has been available in Asia and Europe. What does building the Aveo in Bupyung do for Chevy? Well, for one thing, it provides a car that has a starting price of $9,995.

http://www.autofieldguide.com/articles/120302.html
 

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i'd say none of those reasons. the cars were, at a glance, tinny little glorified go-karts. i don't think they were actually too unreliable, but they seemed to be a joke. they were basic transportation at it's most simple. too many competing car companies (heck, even GM!) offered slightly larger, more well-appointed vehicles and much more powerful alternatives for little more money.

that said, i think the tracker (and sidekick) had a loyal, pleased following. my stepdad to this day says that his tracker (now over 300,000 kms) is the best vehicle he's ever owned. engine and transmission have never been touched, neither has the 4x4 system. air is still cold, it tows a small trailer with ease, truly feels as strong as when new. the body rotted a bit, but it was worth patching. sure it's just one example, but i've heard more good than bad tracker stories.

poor forgotten geo. i'd still take the last model of metro, though... a gold-yellow 3-dr hatch, 4 cyl, 5-speed. it'd be a sweet little ride! and does the front end of that storm wagon you posted not look like the second-last generation camaro? scary!
 

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I think reliability depends on the model. The Nova/Prizm, produced at Nummi, always had excellent reliability. The Isuzu-built Spectrum and Storm faired less well, although I'm sure they were at least average. Same for the Suzuki-built Sprint/Metro.

The cars weren't generally much more than basic transportation, so it's no wonder there's not much passion inspired by them, but did the Geo brand really fail? Were it's sales expectations never met?

By 1998, people were feeling a bit better about American made cars, so the distinction between Geo and Chevrolet was no longer necessary, but that's hardly a failing of the brand.
 

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I had a Geo Storm brand new in 1991. Beat the hell outta that car for 7 years till it finally started 2 eat alternators on a weekly basis. Being that the car had been in 2 accidents and had over 250,000 miles on it and still got up and ran with the best was a awsome thing. I have a place in my heart 4 that car, it more than won my respect.
 

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So why did GM create two small-car brands (Saturn and Geo) in the first place? It would've been just better to have one. This is how the GM lineup in my mind would be today if Geo was still here today..and Oldsmobile (my favorite GM brand forever!!!)

-Buick: "The American Lexus" - more upscale than an Oldsmobile, cheaper than a Cadillac, less prestigious than a Mercedes-Benz

-Geo: "Youth-Oriented" - make it GM's version of SCION..which is starting to catch on around the country

-Saturn: "People First" - nice, easy-going dealerships..no haggle, etc., basic cars for first-time buyers and growing families, cheaper than Chevrolet

Chevrolet: "America's Toyota" - Toyota..America's way! higher-priced than Saturn...made for people with families that are established (i.e. families with 3 kids ages 8-15, etc.)

Pontiac: "Fuel for the Soul" - slightly higher-priced than Chevrolet. Has many of the same models as Chevrolet, but completely different body with different interiors and faster engines; made for families who can spend just a little bit more than a Chevy

SAAB: "GM's Europe" - same prestige as Buick, but sportier and going head-to-head with BMW and Mercedes, same price as Buick but (as I said earlier) sportier

Oldsmobile: "Bargain Luxury" - more prestigious than Pontiac and everything lower, not as prestigious as Buick and everything higher; goes head-to-head with higher models of import cars (like the Avalon) and Chrysler, implication on luxury..not sport but the cars handle better than Buicks though, lots of styling

GMC: "Luxury Trucks" - I can't say anything for GMC...wtf are they thinking!?! What's there to differentiate the Envoy Denali and the Buick Rainier!?!

HUMMER: "Wow..." - stays the same: edgy!

Cadillac: "Breakthrough" - more prestigious than Buick...competes with high-end cars like MB, BMW, Jaguar, etc. ; combines performance of Pontiac, handling of SAAB, and a mix of interior styling from Buick and Oldsmobile

That's what I think GM would be like today if NONE of their brands were killed off.
 

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I think Geo failed for lack of clear identity, pure and simple, (hence, I chose the "pseudo-GM cars" poll choice). In retrospect, Geo seemed like a catch-all for GM's small-car partnerships and other projects that didn't fit anywhere else. It was a real hodge-podge.

Saturn may not have offered cars that were any more exciting than what Geo had to offer, but at least you knew what you were looking for when you had Saturn on your shopping list. Heck, Saturn offered only one basic model for many years, and they're only now expanding their model line-up after having established their core identity.

Of course, someone would have to explain to me how a roadster, a rebadged Chevy minivan and yet another GMT 360 variant all square with that identity, but that's a discussion for another time. :blink:
 

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my friend had a 1995 Geo Prizm and we hit the back of a BMW going 50mph with no seat belts, i walked away with only a few scratches so that lil Geo saved me, Geo is good in my book.
 

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I`ve always bean attracted to small things such as GEO. GEO is for the teanage chevy guys with less money. They're simple cars for simple peaple and there cute. My family owned a blue metro once and I liked it alot (I`m 10). For some reason I like GEO's simble. My middle name is George. so I like to have peaple call me GEO . So basicaly I like GEO.

P.S Does anyone have any pics of a storm conv? I think I saw one in Denver. :huh: And that storm wagon is realy growing on me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Originally posted by GEO4@May 7 2004, 09:53 PM
P.S Does anyone have any pics of a storm conv? I think I saw one in Denver. :huh: And that storm wagon is realy growing on me.
 

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A few years back I saw this guy pushing his wife down the road in a broken down GEO Metro. Boy, did she look pissed! I think image killed that car in a lot of ways. In a world in which you had to buy a new car to have a car at all, I think this car would have had a place but for the same money, there were just too many used cars that you could have and not have to give up so much utility and safety. If you wanted good gas mileage, there were plenty of used imports hitting car lots at about the same time and they had proven reliability also. What size were the rims on the Geo Metro? I have respect for the internal fortitude of anyone who could show up for a date in this thing. SUVs threatening to roll right over you couldn’t have played a small part in people avoiding this car either; it’s an issue with cars that are bigger still. The Tracker was kind of cool when it came out but it looked like it could just start spinning like a top on the freeway at any moment because it was so darn stubby. Looked like a cool beach toy though. In the end, I think GEO was a little more austere than Americans really wanted or even needed. A booming economy, rising wages, cheap gas, used economy imports, planet sized SUVs and Americas never ending concern for image probably all combined to make such a car a thing of the past. Don’t forget the Toyota Tercel!
 
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