Posts from ‘Review Flashback!’
General Motors can lay claim to two of the most noteworthy examples of automotive downsizing. On the success side is the Impala/Caprice redesign for 1977. Leaner and more fuel efficient, the downsized big Chevys found the proverbial market sweet spot, and sold like crazy to full-size-car shoppers looking for something trimmer than they had been driving (but not too trim).
It’s always interesting to note how the passing of time changes our perspective. Ask anyone who remembers the car today, and they’re likely to tell you that the Cadillac Catera was a badly executed car that sold poorly.
In order to sell General Motors brass on the idea of building a small, two-seat coupe, Pontiac marketing types made a few interesting concessions.
By the time Consumer Guide’s review of the 1989 Chrysler Fifth Avenue was published in the Consumer Guide 1989 New Car Buying Guide, production of the car itself had already ended. A completely redesigned front-wheel-drive Fifth Avenue would be introduced as a 1990 model, marking the end of Chrysler’s run of rear-drive luxury and near-luxury vehicles—at least for a while. As noted in the review, there were still cars on dealer lots, but maybe not for long.
Not since the attack on Pearl Harbor has another nation engaged in battle on U.S. soil, at least with the U.S.
Auto industry buffs may remember the “Asian Invasion” of the early Nineties, which was not a battle of military conquest, but one for the attention of upscale car shoppers. And the battle did not involve American interests, at least not directly.
As far as automotive fads go, four-wheel steering (4WS) is one of the more technically sophisticated examples. Beginning with the 1988 model year, four American-market Japanese models were available with 4WS: the Honda Prelude Si, Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, Mazda 626 Turbo, and Mazda MX-6 GT Turbo.
By the mid-Seventies, Mercury wasn’t selling much beyond gussied up Fords. Wedged between Ford and Lincoln in FoMoCo’s family album, Mercurys were charged with drawing a customer type that was somewhat more affluent than Ford intenders, yet nowhere conservative enough to commit to a Lincoln.