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LANSING — Sometime between breakfast and lunch today, a dark red Oldsmobile Alero will roll off the assembly line here surrounded by an invitation-only audience paying its last respects to America’s oldest automotive brand.

The car will be the 35,229,218th Oldsmobile built since Ransom E. Olds established the brand in 1897, and it will be the last.

For fans of Oldsmobile and other American brands, the passing is hard to swallow.

“I understand what’s going on as far as a business decision for GM,” said Ken Nicholas, an Eaton Rapids resident who heads the Lansing chapter of the Oldsmobile Club of America.

“But it’s hard to express the affection for the car. It’s like losing your favorite sports team.”

In December 2000, with its U.S. market share still shrinking, General Motors Corp. delivered Oldsmobile’s death sentence.

The venerable brand was guilty of sluggish sales as consumers turned to imports and other brands deemed more stylish or trendy — what the company calls “business realities.”

Oldsmobile’s best year was in 1984 when it sold 1.2 million units. But despite the introduction of well-received products such as the Alero, Bravada SUV and Aurora, sales continued to dwindle.

For all of 2003, just 125,897 Oldsmobiles were sold, but by then, most of its product line had gone out of production.

In later years, the brand was labled by some as being an old person’s car, in part, because of its name. The ill-conceived ad campaign meant to assure customer’s that the brand was “not your father’s Oldsmobile” only made matters worse.

Despite its stodgy reputation, Oldsmobile was responsible for some of the most stylish and bodacious additions to automotive pantheon.

In 1925, Oldsmobile was the first to introduce chrome plating, and in 1940 was the first brand to offer an automatic transmission on a volume vehicle.

Nine years later, the Eighty Eight was launched, featuring “Futuramic” styling and Rocket V-8 power.

The first turbo-charged, fluid injected engine, called the Jetfire, was introduced in 1962 and the first air bag appeared on an Olds Toronado in 1974. Americans had their first chance to experience front-wheel drive in a 1966 Toronado.

Nicholas, who has owned dozens of Oldsmobiles, said the cars were more than just transportation.

“They were almost a member of our family,” he said. “The car went on our honeymoon, the kids came home from the hospital and family vacations were planned around them.”

The last Alero will be transported a few miles away to the R.E. Olds Museum in downtown Lansing where it will be on display from May 3 to Aug. 31 and no doubt be the center of attention of a reception under a white tent.

It is the last Oldsmobile and the final in the series of 500 commemorative cars that all wear the dark cherry red metallic paint, special badging and a medallion with its number.



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Originally posted by nsap@Apr 29 2004, 07:35 AM
The last Alero will be transported a few miles away to the R.E. Olds Museum in downtown Lansing where it will be on display from May 3 to Aug. 31 and no doubt be the center of attention of a reception under a white tent.
They couldn't even sell the last one....
 

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An entity dies due to neglect...Olds is no exception....GM is to blame :plasma:
 

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We'll miss you Olds!
 

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:angry: I BLAME GM........this is a stupid mistake. This is only to corporate greed..........WE NEED MORE MONEY !!!!!!!
 

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Olds shouldn't have gone... should have been Buick in my opinion. if GM had been serious about the product coming from Olds, it could have been different. oh well, nothing is going to fix it now. Olds joins a lot of other great American brands.. off into the sunset.
 

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Hey GM's a business and in business when a brand starts to fail, you either revive it or cut it off. They didn't do a very good job of reviving it so the only option left was to cut it off. I hate to see it go but that's how capitalism works.
 

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Olds didn't die.....It's morphing in2 SAAB.
 

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;) I am not really that disappointed with the death of Olds ;) To me, if GM was not going to revitalize it, then it needed to go. Even if they did rework it, I still don't think it would have lasted
 

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Originally posted by ibechip@Apr 29 2004, 07:43 PM
Hey GM's a business and in business when a brand starts to fail, you either revive it or cut it off. They didn't do a very good job of reviving it so the only option left was to cut it off. I hate to see it go but that's how capitalism works.
I agree with you totally. I won't be sad to see Saturn go.

Oh, wait, you're talking about Olds? The only thing that failed there was GM management's inability to recognize what they had and what they could have done with it. Instead they sunk billions into Saturn and killed a great brand after 107 years and 35 million vehicles. Shame, GM, shame. Now, keep your promise and do the same to your other failure - Saturn.
 

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I think Oldsmobile would have been a better company to compete with Lexus than Buick. They already had the Bravada for the RX330 and the Aurora for the ES330 and doesn't have as bad an image as Buick, IMO. Sad to see it go, though.
 

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Originally posted by ab348+Apr 29 2004, 06:20 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (ab348 @ Apr 29 2004, 06:20 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-ibechip@Apr 29 2004, 07:43 PM
Hey GM's a business and in business when a brand starts to fail, you either revive it or cut it off.  They didn't do a very good job of reviving it so the only option left was to cut it off.  I hate to see it go but that's how capitalism works.
I agree with you totally. I won't be sad to see Saturn go.

Oh, wait, you're talking about Olds? The only thing that failed there was GM management's inability to recognize what they had and what they could have done with it. Instead they sunk billions into Saturn and killed a great brand after 107 years and 35 million vehicles. Shame, GM, shame. Now, keep your promise and do the same to your other failure - Saturn. [/b][/quote]
They didn't sink billions into Saturn!!! Saturn has always been neglected... a poorly upkept product lineup, and not given more money for many years after the S series was introduced, only to finally give enough money to design the patchwork known as ION. I don't see billions there folks! Maybe Saturn should've died instead of Olds, but please don't take your anger out at the wounded puppy. ;)
 

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As the owner of Aleromod.com, a forum dedicated to Olds Aleros, today was a very sad day for us.

I also agree with most of you that Saturn or Buick should have gotten the axe before Olds. Some things in life just aren't fair. RIP Olds.
 

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Yeah, Olds was at one time a cool car company with the 442, cutlass, hurst cars, etc. etc. Unfortunately, all that history got thrown in the trash when GM stripped the company of its individuality. Man I want an '83 Hurst/Olds, the paint job on those kicked @ss.
 

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Originally posted by cyboexpo2002@Apr 30 2004, 01:41 AM

They didn't sink billions into Saturn!!! Saturn has always been neglected... a poorly upkept product lineup, and not given more money for many years after the S series was introduced, only to finally give enough money to design the patchwork known as ION. I don't see billions there folks! Maybe Saturn should've died instead of Olds, but please don't take your anger out at the wounded puppy. ;)
It is well-documented that Saturn has never been profitable since day one. Do you have any idea what it costs to run a division of GM? Plus, do you have any idea what the investment costs are for a dealer network, factory, design and tooling, etc.? In the words of Carl Sagan, "billllllions and billllllions". It is scary to think what GM could have done with that money. Instead, they poured it down a drain called Saturn.
 
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