Posts from ‘Isuzu’
I was pumping gas for a living in 1986, a job that enabled me to do more than my fair share of car watching. Thus, it saddens me a little to compile this list of forgotten rides.
General Motors wasn’t having an easy time getting the buying public to take its small-car offerings seriously in the 1980s. Its J-Car lineup, launched for the 1982 model year, provided all five retail-car divisions—including Cadillac—a modern entry into the subcompact arena. Sadly, the little front-drivers were plagued by quality issues and often dismissed by younger shoppers.
Where have these cars gone? There’s no hard science to this–it’s purely anecdotal–but I well remember seeing these vehicles, and I don’t anymore. They’ve seemingly vanished.
Based anecdotally on conversations I’ve had recently, a good number of people believe that many American-brand vehicles are built by foreign companies. I actually heard one person claim, “They’re all built by the Chinese now anyway.” Sadly, I was related to this person.
For those keeping score, 2014 represents a low point for compact pickups in the U.S. With the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon on hiatus, only Honda, Nissan, and Toyota currently offer vehicles in this class.
Fact: Japanese automobile manufacturers were just as willing as American makers to build fuel-thirsty trucks, they just weren’t as good at selling them. Had early versions of the Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota 4Runner sold nearly as well as the Ford Explorer, history might recall said companies less as the “green” good guys they came to be considered.
It has taken a while, but demographers seemed to have coalesced around 1985 as the year dividing the people identified as Generation Y from those we’ve labeled Millennials.
This year, American new-vehicle shoppers will snap up about half a million minivans. Now, while that may seem like a lot of people-movers, it’s worth noting that minivans accounted for more than 1.2 million annual sales as recently as model-year 2000.
Funny thing about the memory–it doesn’t let you know when things begin to fade beyond easy recall. I realized last week that I can no longer remember the name of my fifth-grade science teacher. I rather expected to remember all my grammar-school teachers on my deathbed. Looks like that plan is off.
For whatever reason, we at Consumer Guide spend a lot of time talking about ugly vehicles. Some might suggest it’s because we’re a surly group and drawn by nature to the negative side of things. I think it’s because we (car folk in general) largely agree on the best-looking vehicles. Seriously, how many car people do you know that don’t appreciate a BMW 507, a 1964 Buick Riviera, a 1963-1967 Corvette, or a Mercedes-Benz Gullwing? Nodding in group appreciation may help us bond, but it doesn’t do much to get the conversation rolling.