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General Motors passport and Asuna, brand-wide turmoil (Part II)

GM’s 80’s and 90’s branding adventure coverage has begun last weekIn a short experiment, which was Passport. The dealer network was a fusion of brands owned or influenced by GM in the case of Passport Optima in Japan, Sweden, and South Korea. The passport lasted from 1987 to 1991 before GM turned around. In addition to frustrating unsuccessful sales channels, Geo and Saturn cars arrived during Passport’s tenure, further complicating matters. Learn a little more about GM’s Canadian dealer network.

Apart from the aforementioned passport dealers that became Saturn-Isuzu-Serve outlets in 1991, there are two major GM distribution networks across the country, from downtown Canada to perhaps elsewhere, including Regina and Vancouver. bottom. Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Cadillac have been grouped into one distribution and Pontiac, Buick and GMC have been grouped into another. These two major networks were supported by a new Saturn-Isuzu-Serve setup that sought to win more “import” buyer business (a concept that GM was obsessed with from 1984 to 2003). rice field.

Pontiac dealers were given an orphan, formerly known as Passport Le Mans, in 1992, while Chevrolet dealers sold a variety of Suzuki products (such as Spectrum) with bow tie badges in the mid-1980s. bottom. This trend continued in 1989, when cars sold as Geos in the United States were sold as Chevrolet in Canada.

Geo wasn’t introduced to Canada until 1992, but Geo and Chevrolet were quite popular when they arrived at the end of the decade. It didn’t make the Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealers very happy because the only geo they could use was a tracker badged as GMC. The dealer petitioned GM to take action, which led to the creation of a new brand, Asuna.

GM applied for a Declaration of Use in Canada on May 20, 1990, even before the passport was officially terminated. The brand itself was officially established on April 12, 1992. Asüna made a big promise to the sales staff of Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealers who desperately wanted some of the small products Geo offered.

Recall that the GM lineup consisted of a total of four units in 1993: Metro, Prism (2nd generation), Storm, and Tracker. The Prizm was the only vehicle in the second generation outfit, as the other vehicles were still in the original 80’s format. It was from this foundation that Asuna built that small lineup.

The most promising product in the new brand lineup was the Asuna version of the tracker Sunrunner. The tracker was sold in standard clothing (hardtop, convertible, 5-door) at Chevrolet dealers across Canada in 1989. The Tracker stayed under the Chevrolet banner until it was renamed to Geo Tracker in 1992, but strangely, it retained the gold bowtie logo. In fact, Canadian geotrackers always wore Chevrolet badges until the end of production for the first generation in 1998.

GMC has had its own version of the tracker with such a badge since 1989. Other than the badge, the differences were limited, but the Chevrolet Peak CL was SLE trimmed at the GMC dealer. 1991 was the final year of the GMC tracker. This is because the conversion to Asüna Sunrunner included a new badge, unlike the Chevrolet version, which was renamed to Geo.

Sunrunner was the first Asuna to arrive in 1992. Below that was the Suzuki Vitara, often referred to in other markets as the Escudo. The first generation of Geo’s most famous model, the Tracker, went live between 1989 and 1998, at which point it switched to the second generation, which was sold between 1999 and 2004. Tracker went beyond GM’s interest in the special Geo brand and existed later in its life. As a Chevrolet.

Serves as the only Asuna vehicle Not anyone What I really wanted was Le Mans, GM Canada’s favorite orphan. After spending a year as Pontiac in 1992, in 1993 the Le Mans was rebuilt and replaced by the Ashna SE and GT. The only difference between the new version was the new front clip and the slightly revised tail lamp. It arrived a year after Sunrunner entered the dealer lot. The refurbished Le Mans was never sold in the United States and proved to have a very short tenure in Asuna. 1993 was the only year. In my last entry, I talked a lot about the history of Le Mans.

The third and last Asuna was the sportiest sunfire in the group. The name of the sunfire, usually associated with Pontiac today, was first applied to Geostorm to become Asuna. The storm was restricted from Canada because the second generation model was not imported as Isuzu or Geo in 1992. Asuna’s customers received Sunfire only as a hatchback. The rarely selected wagon version was off limits.

Sunfire and Storm were the second generation of Isuzu Piazza, or, if necessary, Piazza’s rebadging. Much more modern than its predecessor, the second generation lost much of its heart and soul. It wasn’t designed by Giugiaro, it wasn’t rear-wheel drive, and it didn’t last very long. Due to sluggish global sales, Isuzu canceled the impulse only four models a year later. The storm wasn’t replaced by the geolineup, and that was when the brand had the only sport compact offered.

Geo sales continued in the US and Canada, but Asuna wasn’t very lucky. The friendliness of Canadian consumers to imported cars at Chevrolet dealers was too great for the good people of Pontiac dealers across the street to overcome. It didn’t help that a large amount of Metro and Prizm weren’t allowed to copy to Asüna at an affordable price.

The only car that survived Asuna was the Sunrunner, who drove to the Pontiac showroom in 1994. That year, GM allowed Pontiac dealers access to another geo, the Metro. Regarding the usage of Pontiac, Metro was rebranded and sold as a cheesy firefly. Pontiac Sunfire is back in 1995 as a redesigned J-body.

Unlike the Passport trademark, which GM held and renewed for some time, Asüna received less attention. After registration, it was never renewed. The Government of Canada notified GM in February 2008 that the trademark was about to expire, but the general did not respond. Asuna was removed from activity on September 18, 2008. This is the end of the passport and Asuna story. A total of seven years of brand experimentation, which almost no one remembers, is a completely abandoned history.

[Images: GM]

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https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2022/04/abandoned-history-general-motors-passport-and-asuna-total-brand-confusion-part-ii/ General Motors passport and Asuna, brand-wide turmoil (Part II)

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