HarleyEarl

Matrix & Vibe

49 posts in this topic

Around these parts Toyota is the great satan and yet GM has this joint venture with them with the Matrix and Vibe.

I have never understood it.

Toyota is major competition and yet GM manufactures cars with them.

Has GM ever explained that?

vibetd9.jpg

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My understanding was that they have a joint plant in southern California that was started in the early 80s. Toyota needed a plant in the US, and GM was keen to learn the Toyota method for producing more reliable cars, and that plant is still making the Matrix. I think I have that right anyway.

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Ok...that seems reasonable enough, but haven't they learned anything in the last twenty years?

Still seems strange to me, from both vantage points, Toyota and GM.

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It's a relationship that should have never happened, and is overdue for termination.

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And how much is GM involved?

Or is the Vibe really just a rebadged Toyota?...ugh.

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i do find it weird that it exists still...there must be some sort of tax writeoff or something for this.

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It makes you wonder what is really going on.

Are there things about this partnership we don't know?

It just doesn't add up.

Just what is this relationship between GM and Toyota?

Could be a movie here.

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The joint venture goes back to when GM rebadged the Corolla and sold it as the Geo Prizm. The 2nd generation was the most unique, where all of the exterior surfaces are unique, as well as most of the dash, and it had it's own seat coverings. The suspension, powertrains, and everything you couldn't see (plus some you could) were shared. The 3rd generation, badged as a Chevrolet, differed little beyond headlights, tail lights, front bumper, and badging. For whatever reason it was designed to switch the joint venture to the Matrix/Vibe, which are still based off of the Corolla platform. The exteriors of both generations share no parts as afar as I know, but the interiors are pretty much identical.

The 2nd and 3rd generation Prizms were clearly superior to the Cavalier which shared the same showroom floor. They road better, had much smoother engines, much higher quality interiors, and had were generally superior and more refined than the Cavalier. Let's not forget that the Prizm was redesigned while the Cavalier continued with little change.

I've ridden and drove both cars...the Cavalier is a rattle trap...noisy and unrefined...the interior is awful...both from a design standpoint and quality wise. I have a friend who has one and he would constantly have things brake on it (center console). That's not to say they are problem free, these Prizms. Like the Corollas, they had some cheap bits that should have been better constructed...the worst offenders being the door handles inside and out. The 1.6L are notorious for exhaust manifold cracks. Ours has also had the transmission replaced because the gear synchronizer failed, as well as the master and slave cylinders.

I have complained about it several times on the board in the tech section, but the reality is that since the cylinders were replaced, with the exception of the tires, the car has been issue free (oh and that exhaust manifold). It runs like a new car, and sounds better than some cars much newer than it. It gets 40 real world mpg on the highway, it has working A/C, it doesn't feel scary to drive at speed (it can get loud at 80 or so due to wind noise, but what car of that era doesn't?).

So what has GM learned? Good question...the Cobalt which replaced the Cavalier is superior in many areas (it's much more quiet on the highway, has more features, and feels more stable too (I've taken one up to 100 with no problem). Still, it falls short in packaging (the rear seat sucks, whereas the Prizm's is actually pretty roomy), the the interior feels much cheaper, and I was never fond of the way the Ecotec sounded...or the steering.

Dunno if that's info you were looking for or not.

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The joint venture goes back to when GM rebadged the Corolla and sold it as the Geo Prizm.

Before that, even...around 1985, they started badging a Corolla variation as the Chevy Nova... it was the first model built at NUMMI, IIRC.

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Before that, even...around 1985, they started badging a Corolla variation as the Chevy Nova... it was the first model built at NUMMI, IIRC.

Right, I forgot about that.

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Thanks for the info, well said.

I understand the rationale, it's not like car companies haven't had joint ventures before, but this arrangement between two competitive companies vying for the top spot, seems almost unbelievable.

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Keep your friends close & your enemies CLOSER.

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Honestly, sometimes it makes you wonder, who at GM makes these decisions?....who comes up with the idea?

'I was thinking, while soaking in the tub, why not make cars with Toyota?'....and everyone around the boardroom table, holler, bravo...fantastic idea!!!!

The founders and early leaders of GM must be turning in their graves.

Edited by HarleyEarl
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Keep your friends close & your enemies CLOSER.

There you go...

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I never really got the market positioning of the Nova and Prizm... it seemed to overlap with the Cavalier and other GM compacts. There was also an Isuzu rebadged compact (Spectrum) that more-or-less replaced the Chevette.

Another twist is that for a few years, the 2nd gen Cavalier (around 95-97) was sold in Japan as the Toyota Cavalier.

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Well, after looking at theit 80s compacts (j body) (Chevette), I could see why they gave it a try...

Hondas and Toyotas of those years (85-92) were very solid cars...and even GM knew that toward the end of the 80s....

Granted they didn't set the sales chart on fire, but I still see quite a few Prisms out there, some with plenty of miles...

And the Vibe has done pretty well....

I see two reasons here:

1. They get to see how Toyota does cars (building them)

2. They can pick off a few shoppers who otherwise may not have chose a GM car at all. Knowing that Toyota had a hand in their car might help them sleep better at night.....

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Well, after looking at theit 80s compacts (j body) (Chevette), I could see why they gave it a try...

Hondas and Toyotas of those years (85-92) were very solid cars...and even GM knew that toward the end of the 80s....

Granted they didn't set the sales chart on fire, but I still see quite a few Prisms out there, some with plenty of miles...

And the Vibe has done pretty well....

I see two reasons here:

1. They get to see how Toyota does cars (building them)

2. They can pick off a few shoppers who otherwise may not have chose a GM car at all. Knowing that Toyota had a hand in their car might help them sleep better at night.....

True enough...I know a guy with an early '90s Prizm that has over 350k miles....still looks decent inside and out. One thing you have to give Toyota credit for, I think, is that they do know a thing or two about building durable small cars and small engines....

Edited by moltar
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This relationship has outlived those with Isuzu, Suzuki, and Subaru. Perhaps PCS can provide the rationale of the continuing relationship, though it does provide GM with a lot of things:

- Continuing knowledge of the Toyota way of building vehicles

- A very high mileage vehicle that attracts people who may not otherwise purchase another GM vehicle

- Use of a factory that Toyota may otherwise want for the Corolla or Tacoma, currently built at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, or for the Prius

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True enough...I know a guy with an early '90s Prizm that has over 350k miles....still looks decent inside and out. One thing you have to give Toyota credit for, I think, is that they do a thing or two about building small cars and small engines....

True. And keeping their cars from rusting apart....

While the Js kept running (the engines lasted for quite a while), you usually had to junk them due to rust.... :(

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True. And keeping their cars from rusting apart....

While the Js kept running (the engines lasted for quite a while), you usually had to junk them due to rust.... :(

:rolleyes:

I still see a lot more J-cars from the '80s than I do Corollas around here, although truthfully they did sell quite a few more. There is one thing that GM (and Chrysler, for that matter) have learned to do well, and that is make solid bodies. I still see a lot of Hondas and Toyotas from the late '90s starting to dissolve to dust, proving that Japan still has some learning to do. Nobody does salt like Ontario does.

Before anyone continues beating on the Cavalier too much, please realize that the '03-'05 last generation was set apart from the rest. Under Lutz's stewardship, they received the 2.2 ecotec, a revised suspension, brake upgrades and a new fascia. The biggest problem with the last generation Cavaliers (from '95 onward) was the woefully ugly interior, particularly the potato sack seats. I will give credit where credit is due: the material weathers the test of time very well, but probably because the owners are afraid of sitting on them.

Although the final 3 years of the Cavalier lacked the quiet tuning of the Cobalt, the engine and suspension improvements changed the entire nature of the beast. For $h!s and giggles, I remember taking a '03 Cavalier and a '03 Corolla (borrowed from our sister store at the time) for a, ahem, shall we say 'spirited' test drive. No competition. The Corolla actually experienced 'cowl shake' on the horrible roads of eastern Toronto. (The dealer I used to work at was the envy of the nation because it was adjacent to Pharmacy Ave., which still ranks as one of the f'ing roughest roads on earth, thanks to the truck traffic and total lack of attention this city gives to anything to do with cars or roads.)

Back on topic, the auto industry has always been very incestuous. Parts companies make parts for many competing makes. Ford and GM have cooperated on many projects (notably the current 6 spd auto), BMW has 'borrowed' GM trannies (as has Jaguar and others over the years), OnStar has made its way into other companies. With the way that higher up executives flit from company to company, there always has been a lot of DNA transfer.

But I, too, have wondered why GM continues the relationship in this factory. Surely anything to be learned has been learned (or not) by now.

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:rolleyes:

I still see a lot more J-cars from the '80s than I do Corollas around here, although truthfully they did sell quite a few more. There is one thing that GM (and Chrysler, for that matter) have learned to do well, and that is make solid bodies. I still see a lot of Hondas and Toyotas from the late '90s starting to dissolve to dust, proving that Japan still has some learning to do. Nobody does salt like Ontario does.

Before anyone continues beating on the Cavalier too much, please realize that the '03-'05 last generation was set apart from the rest. Under Lutz's stewardship, they received the 2.2 ecotec, a revised suspension, brake upgrades and a new fascia. The biggest problem with the last generation Cavaliers (from '95 onward) was the woefully ugly interior, particularly the potato sack seats. I will give credit where credit is due: the material weathers the test of time very well, but probably because the owners are afraid of sitting on them.

Although the final 3 years of the Cavalier lacked the quiet tuning of the Cobalt, the engine and suspension improvements changed the entire nature of the beast. For $h!s and giggles, I remember taking a '03 Cavalier and a '03 Corolla (borrowed from our sister store at the time) for a, ahem, shall we say 'spirited' test drive. No competition. The Corolla actually experienced 'cowl shake' on the horrible roads of eastern Toronto. (The dealer I used to work at was the envy of the nation because it was adjacent to Pharmacy Ave., which still ranks as one of the f'ing roughest roads on earth, thanks to the truck traffic and total lack of attention this city gives to anything to do with cars or roads.)

Back on topic, the auto industry has always been very incestuous. Parts companies make parts for many competing makes. Ford and GM have cooperated on many projects (notably the current 6 spd auto), BMW has 'borrowed' GM trannies (as has Jaguar and others over the years), OnStar has made its way into other companies. With the way that higher up executives flit from company to company, there always has been a lot of DNA transfer.

But I, too, have wondered why GM continues the relationship in this factory. Surely anything to be learned has been learned (or not) by now.

As much as we'd all like to believe rust is somehow afraid of American cars, that's not the case. There's equal number of rusting vehicles from every manufacturer. I'd be happy to snag some photos if you require proof.

I see just as many of not more Corollas than Cavaliers around here...but I can tell you which one I see more of in the junkyards.

Finally, the `03 "refresh" was far too little too late. the Cobalt should have debuted in `03, and havebeen redesigned by now.

Edited by Dodgefan
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Before that, even...around 1985, they started badging a Corolla variation as the Chevy Nova... it was the first model built at NUMMI, IIRC.

Had an 86 Nova many years ago... an obnoxious litte turd of a car.

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As much as we'd all like to believe rust is somehow afraid of American cars, that's not the case. There's equal number of rusting vehicles from every manufacturer. I'd be happy to snag some photos if you require proof.

I see just as many of not more Corollas than Cavaliers around here...but I can tell you which one I see more of in the junkyards.

Finally, the `03 "refresh" was far too little too late. the Cobalt should have debuted in `03, and havebeen redesigned by now.

:rolleyes:

Considering the J-cars outsold the Corollas 2-1 right up until their last year, I would hope you would see more of those in the 'junkyard,' as you put it.

The trouble with counting junkers is that the stats are meaningless without original registrations to compare against. Desrosiers Marketing (Canada's JD Powers) did just that in 2000, and were confounded to explain why far more pre-1987 GM's and Fords were still on the road as compared to the imports from the same years, as adjusted by the numbers sold basis. Those were real, hard numbers: far fewer 'imports' were still on the road 13-5 years after being sold than were the 'domestics.' Of course, those were Canadian numbers, but since our winter's are generally harsher and we use proportionately more salt, I would say that our weather would tend to mercilessly weed out the junkers.

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:rolleyes:

Considering the J-cars outsold the Corollas 2-1 right up until their last year, I would hope you would see more of those in the 'junkyard,' as you put it.

The trouble with counting junkers is that the stats are meaningless without original registrations to compare against. Desrosiers Marketing (Canada's JD Powers) did just that in 2000, and were confounded to explain why far more pre-1987 GM's and Fords were still on the road as compared to the imports from the same years, as adjusted by the numbers sold basis. Those were real, hard numbers: far fewer 'imports' were still on the road 13-5 years after being sold than were the 'domestics.' Of course, those were Canadian numbers, but since our winter's are generally harsher and we use proportionately more salt, I would say that our weather would tend to mercilessly weed out the junkers.

Once again, no car is immune to it, foreign or domestic. Ventures for example: I've seen more than few with severely rotted rockers. That's the point I'm making.

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Japanese cars, with their THINNER sheet-metal are MUCH

more prone to rot-through, & as such I hate to disagree

but I def. see WAY more Japanese cars with fist-sized rust

holes in the rockers/rear 1/4s and doors.

Again, all things being equal. model year and such esp.

Unfortunately your poor high-miliage Shadow is not a good

example of a solid domestic.

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