Five vehicles that never stood out

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Sometimes a car idea just doesn’t work. It’s not always a blow to the right people who worked on the project, or the group that ended up putting the car together. Its failure could be due to missing the mark on public perception, with accountants knocking out important elements of a single idea due to cost or just bad timing in general.

We bring these examples together not to ridicule their creators, but to take a look back through the crystal-clear view that is retrospective to find out why they just didn’t woo audiences. These are vehicles that have not been driven off the field because of their appearance, their appeal to the public, or their function. Let’s call them warnings from history. Or cars that automakers have been happy to put in the rearview mirror.

Pontiac Aztec

To understand how far General Motors was from its Aztek, consider the urban legend of a dealership actually hiding its allocation of these vehicles in the far corners of its lot to be absolutely true. I saw this happen when the Aztek debuted 20 years ago. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The concept would come from a design team lazily wondering what would happen if a GMC Jimmy and Pontiac Firebird were placed in a Cuisinart blender set to maximum mash. This is a classic case of corporate group thinking, since GM at that time was known to have crashed into “branding” design elements, even if they did not match other elements of the company. car. Pontiac, for example, had to use “see-through” headrests, even though they cost a bundle and offer no additional value. This attitude permeated Aztek’s development, leading to a product that ticked all of the company’s internal targets but failed to win the hearts (and wallets) of consumers.

Renault Alliance

Franco-American relations, at least on auto boards, were at an all time high when the Alliance debuted in 1984. The car was the result of a forced marriage between American Motors and Renault , the latter providing French design specifications for a vehicle that would ultimately be assembled in Wisconsin and tailored to North American tastes. It did not work. Despite initial praise – the car won several awards, such as Motor Trend’s Car of the Year – its hissing powertrain proved largely unsuitable for this continent, and the body panels generally held up poorly in Canadian winters.

Its reliability was uneven and original French parts were often difficult to find, although I know from personal experience that a starter for a Chevrolet Chevette can be made to fit an Alliance. After only a few model years, the company made an offer Farewell and was sold in pieces to Chrysler.

Kia Borrego

In another place and time, the V8-powered Borrego would likely have taken big bites over its competition. Built on a rear-wheel-drive chassis body platform (much like the GMC Yukon), the machine was Kia’s largest SUV and was meant to attract new customers to its showrooms. However, the model was introduced at the wrong time. Through no fault of his own, Borrego appeared in 2008, in the midst of the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. With basement savings and gasoline prices skyrocketing, this otherwise thoughtful vehicle has proven to be about as popular as garlic toothpaste. It was only sold in the United States for one model year, although it remained in Canada until 2011. Today, Kia is finding the kind of success it was hoping for in Borrego with its excellent Telluride.

Lincoln Blackwood

The failure of this truck is due to a deep misunderstanding as to why people usually buy pickup trucks in the first place. Although the vast majority of these machines are used to transport air most of the time, the ability to transport objects and the picture it conveys, means a lot to many customers in this segment. We can psychoanalyze the reasons at a later date. Seeing the desires (and profits) in the stylish pickup truck market, the Lincoln team surely thought the Blackwood would be a major hit in 2001; the truck infused design cues and features from the popular Navigator onto a Ford F-150 platform. But Lincoln went too far by covering the bed with carpet, adding stainless steel to the cargo areas, and generally removing all the utility pickup trucks are famous for. It turns out that the 1% still wants see like his job, even when it isn’t.

Chevrolet Vega

Introduced as a foil to the uprising of small import cars, the Vega first received a tsunami of good press when it appeared in 1970. It looked like a mini Camaro and incorporated innovative technology like an aluminum engine block. . General Motors was so confident in its success that it designed special cars to haul the thing to dealerships, shipping Vegas on their noses in a system called Vert-a-Pac. Unfortunately, the Vega was besieged by corrosion and reliability issues, prompting callbacks to fix everything from faulty axles to issues that could cause dangerous fires. Faulty engine valve seals have caused excessive oil consumption and a litany of other issues. Before long, it was not uncommon to see examples smoking like a chimney in traffic, a highly visible advertisement that surely scared off potential customers.

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