Where Did the Geo Go?
March 18, 2009
To find out where the Geo went, perhaps first we should look at where exactly it came from. The Geo was actually a line of small cars developed by General Motors to compete in the compact and subcompact division. Geo’s intention for the line was to compete in the growing small import market of the late 1980’s. However, curiously enough, although, General Motors marketed the Geo, all but one was actually manufactured GM’s foreign partners like Isuzu, Daewoo, Daihatsu and Suzuki. In addition, the most popular and bestselling vehicle in the lineup was not a compact vehicle at all, it was an SUV, the Geo Tracker.
Overall the line never met expectation and sales continued to be poor throughout the lifespan of the line. Some critics attributed this to an unclear lineage for the vehicles. The public was never sure who made the brand and this murkiness may have lead to the premature demise of the line. Others feel that the line did not live up to standards set by the competition and coupled with a growing desire by United States consumers for larger vehicles like SUV’s. This could explain why the Geo Tracker was the only one of the line to move well. The line continued from 1989 to 2004 when the Tracker was discontinued in 2004.
There were five different vehicles produced for General Motors. They include the Metro, the Prizm, the Spectrum, the Storm and the Tracker.
The first of these, the Metro was produced by Suzuki and was a variation of the Suzuki Cultus. The Metro was available in North America from 1989 through 2001. Three generations of the Metro were produced including the three-door hatchback, the four-door sedan, the five-door hatchback and the two-door convertible. In a last ditch effort to improve sales, the Geo nameplate was replaced by the Chevrolet nameplate in 1998 however this did nothing to improve sales and the Metro was discontinued in 2001.
The Geo Prizm was manufactured in conjunction with Toyota and was actually based on the Toyota Corolla. While the Prizm did well at the auto shows and won numerous awards, it seemed to live always in the shadow of the Corolla. General Motors had also placed the Prizm in a problematic position of being in direct competition with the Chevrolet Cavalier for dealer space and market share. The Prizm was discontinued in 2002.
The Spectrum was the shortest lived of the Geo line and was only produced in 1989. Originally sold as a Chevrolet model, it was offered to give consumers an option besides the Metro. It was replaced by the Storm.
The Storm was a hatchback produced by Isuzu and intended to be a sporty car that was based on the Isuzu Impulse. Although the Storm actually had strong sales and the public seem to like it quite a lot, it only lasted three years and was pulled from the market in 1993.
The Tracker was the longest running model of the five and was around from the beginning in 1989 through 2004. It was intended as a mini SUV and was based on the Suzuki Sidekick platform. Offered as a hard top or convertible, the Tracker was very popular with the younger consumer and actually performed quite well.
Although there were flickers of consumer interest along the line, Geo failed to perform anywhere close to expectations and General Motors dropped the entire line for good in 2004.
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