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General Motors wasn’t the only company to have its financial frailty exposed by the 2008 financial meltdown, but it was among the corporate giants that very nearly didn’t survive the crisis. Saddled with more brands than Mike and Carol Brady had kids, it became clear that Sophie’s Choice-level decisions needed to be made.
We at Consumer Guide often let major anniversaries slip by unnoticed, instead paying undue attention to lesser milestones. In keeping with that fine tradition, we honor the introduction of the poster child for wasteful motoring. And yes — it really has been ten years since you first saw a Hummer H2.
History has been unkind to the Hummer brand, and for the most part, rightly so. It would be hard to point at any General Motors project that better demonstrated a culture of commercial crassness, environmental tone-deafness, and just plain shortsightedness.
The village of Palatine, Illinois, isn’t much worth knowing about unless you live there. A relatively contemporary Chicago suburb today, the community dates back more than 150 years, though it was best known for most of its first century as a lightly used rail stop utilized mostly by local farmers.
If you’re roughly my age—let’s say five decades into this whole life process—you’ve seen a fair number of automobile brands fade into the sunset.
I was probably most impacted by the demise of Pontiac, but I remember feeling a twinge of sadness at the deaths of AMC, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, and—no kidding—Checker.
The Chevrolet Vega was meant to be a technical and efficiency tour de force. The good-looking, lightweight little car featured a number of cutting-edge features, and was positioned to prove that the Bow-Tie Brand—and on a broader scale General Motors—was in a position to take on the low-cost and fuel-efficient imports that were starting to show up in dealerships at the beginning of the Seventies.
One relatively easy way for an auto manufacturer to spur the sales of a given model is to play around with the trim levels offered.
Americans tend to enjoy their engine cylinder counts in even numbers. Engines of 4-, 6-, and 8 cylinders have powered an overwhelmingly large majority of the vehicles ever sold in the U.S, and for good reason.
Illustrations by Frank Peiler
Since the turn of the century, U.S. car sellers have been shedding brands faster than the cable TV networks have been creating reality shows.
At a Volvo press-event dinner many years ago, I chanced into a conversation with one of the brand’s product-planning executives. We chatted pleasantly on the topic of wagons, and of the American market’s declining interesting in the body type.