Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
01Malibu

Which car led to the death of Oldsmobile

48 posts in this topic

There is a similar post on the Saturn board. I am going to say that the 1985 Oldsmobile 98 was the model. I had one. I finally got 147 K miles but I had to spend money on a computer, transmission, steering, fuel pump and the door locks finally all locked up.

This car was too small and poorly put together. By the 1991 model, the 98 was obscure. I had a 1988 Cutlass that was very dependable other than the poorly constructed dash and doors.

I think the 88 was actually a better car than the 98 and seemed to hold up longer. I wonder how many 1985-1990 Oldsmobile 98s are still on the road.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a car, a person. Ron Zarella. John Rock would have saved, had to leave due to family needs, then Zarella wrecked it through his selling cars like toothpaste failed scheme.

Note too, at Olds' demise, they had some of the better cars out there, Intrigue, Aurora....

Just didn't get the message out and had time to suceed. Kind of the same dela Saturn is in now with the Euro cars they are getting. Too little too late.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 1985 Oldsmobile 98? Are you kidding me? Look at sales numbers for the Cutlass Supreme, say from the 1980s through the early 90s. Huge hit. If anything, it was the stale products of the early 1990s that did Oldsmobile in. Think Cutlass Ciera, Oldsmobile 88, Oldsmobile 98, the 1997 "Cutlibu," and the Silhouette. The Ciera was on the market, virtually unchanged, for ten years. The 98 and 88 were very close in size and nearly identical to the Buick Park Avenue and LeSabre. The Cutlibu was a Malibu with a different front bumper and extra plastic on the rear. The Silhouette was a close on the Trans Sport/Montana and Lumina APV/Venture.

Ciera, 98 and 88 all skewed to an older demographic, and the lack of freshness coupled with geriatric styling kept the brand from maintaining and increasing sales. The Aurora, Intrigue, and even the Alero brought some much-needed youthfulness and upscale interiors along with much better suspension tuning and overall driving dynamics, but the lack of promotion and impatience with the new lineup on the part of GM CEOs led to the brand's demise. Almost everyone involved regrets the decision to fold the brand as the sales evaporated and failed to materialize at other GM divisions, and Oldsmobile commanded pricepoints Saturn could and can only dream of.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ciera, 98 and 88 all skewed to an older demographic, and the lack of freshness coupled with geriatric styling kept the brand from maintaining and increasing sales. The Aurora, Intrigue, and even the Alero brought some much-needed youthfulness and upscale interiors along with much better suspension tuning and overall driving dynamics, but the lack of promotion and impatience with the new lineup on the part of GM CEOs led to the brand's demise. Almost everyone involved regrets the decision to fold the brand as the sales evaporated and failed to materialize at other GM divisions, and Oldsmobile commanded pricepoints Saturn could and can only dream of.

Yes, the preponderance of dull fogiemobiles led Olds by the mid-90s to truly be OLDsmobile... the Aurora and Intrigue brought some freshness to a stale brand, but it was too late--the brand's image was by then that of dull cars for old folks..kind of the brand for the 'squares'.

Edited by moltar
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about lead the demise, but I think one of the last nails in the coffin was renaming the mid sized car Intrigue instead of keeping the Cutlass name. That name carried 30+ years of solid history with it, bad marketing move. Instead of modernizing the Oldsmobile brand, it was remade into something unrecognizable by its core of loyal buyers. They left.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Intrigue would've fit into the Saturn lineup nicely.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 1986 Taurus and Accord and 1987 Camry led to the death of Oldsmobile. GM let its mid size cars get stale by the mid 1980's. Also, large car buyers shifted to SUV's, hurting the 88 and 98. Charts of car sales show that Oldsmobile hit its peak in 1984 and the decline started in 1985, from which Oldsmobile never recovered.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO, keeping the old A body Cutlass Ciera around forever, hurt them badly. Sure, older people loved them, but in long run, brand became 'staid' and young buyers seeing all the old boxy Cieras in the mid 90's didn't help. The Intrigue was to late, Aurora too expensive.

GM should have killed all A bodies and brought out lower end W body models in 1991 for Olds/Buick. Instead of waiting til 1997-8 for a new Century/Intrigue, by then GM lost many buyers to imports.

Edited by Chicagoland
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know about lead the demise, but I think one of the last nails in the coffin was renaming the mid sized car Intrigue instead of keeping the Cutlass name. That name carried 30+ years of solid history with it, bad marketing move. Instead of modernizing the Oldsmobile brand, it was remade into something unrecognizable by its core of loyal buyers. They left.

I can agree with this. Had the "Cutlibu" been named "Ciera" it would have been the car for the "old guard" of buyers. That car IMO should not have been produced, at least in its half-assed form. Had it been given more distinctive styling and more interior differentiation from the Malibu, maybe it would be a different story--but it should have been called "Ciera" as it replaced the Ciera in the lineup from a positioning standpoint.

Intrigue being called "Cutlass" certainly would have helped things, and it was a damn good car. I forget the trim level (GLS?) that debuted the 3.5L, but that could have easily been called "Cutlass Supreme" without any problem--and it would have been true to its name: the supreme, sportiest version of the Cutlass.

I don't have a problem with any of the other new names, though. Alero was much better than the previous names for that segment of car in the division, and Aurora did not need to be bogged down with perceptions of "Eighty-Eight" or "Ninety-Eight." Those two are IMO the most boring, unimaginative names in modern history, and it truly boggles my mind that they lasted as long as they did.

The 1986 Taurus and Accord and 1987 Camry led to the death of Oldsmobile. GM let its mid size cars get stale by the mid 1980's. Also, large car buyers shifted to SUV's, hurting the 88 and 98. Charts of car sales show that Oldsmobile hit its peak in 1984 and the decline started in 1985, from which Oldsmobile never recovered.

I don't have a problem with the 88 Cutlass Supreme. That was a good car, and it did a good job for the 10 years it was on the W platform. Several of my friends in HS had convertibles, and they loved them.

Really, IMO the death of Oldsmobile was due to trigger-happy management closing the doors on the division two weeks after the new, stylish GMT-360 Bravada debuted. The new Aurora was getting rave reviews, the Intrigue was holding its own in the press, and while the Alero needed to be updated, that would have been within another year to year-and-a-half.

Granted, I LOVE my Aurora, but I honestly don't see how the brand was really given any chance to rebuild. GM isn't shuttering Saturn before the completion of its product renaissance, but it did that to Oldsmobile. And all the money GM lost in the dealership buyouts? That's the cost of stupidity--as far as I'm concerned, I wish they'd lost even more money on that deal.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can agree with this. Had the "Cutlibu" been named "Ciera" it would have been the car for the "old guard" of buyers. That car IMO should not have been produced, at least in its half-assed form. Had it been given more distinctive styling and more interior differentiation from the Malibu, maybe it would be a different story--but it should have been called "Ciera" as it replaced the Ciera in the lineup from a positioning standpoint.

:withstupid:

Intrigue being called "Cutlass" certainly would have helped things, and it was a damn good car. I forget the trim level (GLS?) that debuted the 3.5L, but that could have easily been called "Cutlass Supreme" without any problem--and it would have been true to its name: the supreme, sportiest version of the Cutlass.

:withstupid:

I don't have a problem with any of the other new names, though. Alero was much better than the previous names for that segment of car in the division, and Aurora did not need to be bogged down with perceptions of "Eighty-Eight" or "Ninety-Eight." Those two are IMO the most boring, unimaginative names in modern history, and it truly boggles my mind that they lasted as long as they did.

:withstupid:

Although I think if the Aurora was going to have a "traditional" Oldsmobile name, it would have been "Toronado."

Really, IMO the death of Oldsmobile was due to trigger-happy management closing the doors on the division two weeks after the new, stylish GMT-360 Bravada debuted. The new Aurora was getting rave reviews, the Intrigue was holding its own in the press, and while the Alero needed to be updated, that would have been within another year to year-and-a-half.

[...]I honestly don't see how the brand was really given any chance to rebuild. GM isn't shuttering Saturn before the completion of its product renaissance, but it did that to Oldsmobile. And all the money GM lost in the dealership buyouts? That's the cost of stupidity--as far as I'm concerned, I wish they'd lost even more money on that deal.

:withstupid:

An excellent post overall, Croc. :cheers:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kind of a tech question, but when I was younger and there weremore 80's Cutlasses around, more than a few of them would suffer stalling problems (this was early to mid 90's). Was that a known issue?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vapor lock?

(Thats my new favorite answer to an unknown car problem)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vapor lock?

(Thats my new favorite answer to an unknown car problem)

I used to think that was why my Mustang would die after approx 1 hr or 50 miles of driving. Turned out to be a clogged fuel filter.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although I think if the Aurora was going to have a "traditional" Oldsmobile name, it would have been "Toronado."

An excellent post overall, Croc. :cheers:

Thank you. As for Aurora--new car, new mission. Plus, can you imagine the kvetching from all the hobbyists if GM debuted a FOUR DOOR TORONADO?!?! ZOMG!!

The original Aurora was inspired by the Toronado, mainly the rear taillights. Other than that, I've never seen the similarities. Also, Toronado was a pretty damaged name at that point--sales were incredibly disappointing in the late 80s and early 90s--I would not have saddled the Aurora with that baggage, personally.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When the 2nd gen Aurora came out, it was hailed as the best GM car that was also about to be discontinued.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When the 2nd gen Aurora came out, it was hailed as the best GM car that was also about to be discontinued.

No. Your timeline is mixed up. The 2nd gen Aurora had been on sale for a year prior to the announcement of Oldsmobile's discontinuation. The Bravada launched concurrently with the announcement to shutter the brand.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No. Your timeline is mixed up. The 2nd gen Aurora had been on sale for a year prior to the announcement of Oldsmobile's discontinuation. The Bravada launched concurrently with the announcement to shutter the brand.

Whatever, then when it was announced that Olds would be closed the cars was hailed that way.

Here, I got it right this time.:

2003 Aurora

What Edmunds.com says

The best soon-to-be-discontinued sedan on the market.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cutlibu, Silhouette and the stagnation of the Ciera were the beginning of the end...

Their early-mid nineties cars like the 98 and 88 were actually quite good.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you. As for Aurora--new car, new mission. Plus, can you imagine the kvetching from all the hobbyists if GM debuted a FOUR DOOR TORONADO?!?! ZOMG!!

Point taken. As for the hobbyists, it would have been the same story as with the Dodge Charger: they would have would have learned to live with it.

I remember that I have an issue of Car and Driver that dates back to the summer of 1992 that had an artist's rendition of the Aurora that was spot on. Among the names being thrown out for the car was Anthem and Toronado. Car and Driver seemed to believe Anthem would be the name for the flagship Oldsmobile.

The original Aurora was inspired by the Toronado, mainly the rear taillights. Other than that, I've never seen the similarities.

I believe the "valence panel" between the headlamps was another Toronado-inspired cue.

oldsmobile-toronado-1967a.jpg

aurora_p.jpg

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 166K miles I got off of the 88 Cutlass was far less expensive than the 141K I got off of the 1985 Regency 98! Just thinking about the 98 causes me to lose sleep! That car was devil possessed. I miss the 88 model except that the door locked and I got rid of it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cars that killed Oldsmobile:

1. Anything with a diesel.

2. The downsized 88/98 (I had one of the smaller 88's, a great car but too small and not classy looking)

3. The 1988 FWD Cutlass Supreme.

4. The 1989+ Cutlass Ciera (if there was ever a car in need of an update, this would have been it)

5. The Achieva. It never Achieved much.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1st gen Aurora...

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the car, but the way GM handled the marketing of it and the Intrigue (No names on the cars, no ads, new Oldsmobile symbol that no one knew, etc.) killed the division. It was too much change and not enough info. As usual, GM did a piss-poor job of informing the consumer that 1) anything aside from appearance was different and 2) that this was actually a GM vehicle with merit.

I also think the UAW had a HUGE hand in killing Oldsmobile. From what I recall, Oldsmobile was showing some real signs of life around 1998, but when the strike crippled GM, Oldsmobile was hit the hardest and demand NEVER recovered because the buzz and buyers had passed the division up by the time supply caught up. (a la new Malibu, in some ways)

It's too bad GM phased out Oldsmobile.... It, like ALL other aspects of GM, had such GREAT potential that the company cannot see for it's own collective ignorance.

What's really bad is that GM failed to learn from it's mistakes as SATURN is now in the very same situation... Excellent products, failed leadership.

MARK MY WORDS: Buick will be the next victim of this ignorance. GM will change the line up overnight, forget to tell the customer that anything has happened and then abandon the division while they scratch their heads and say "It just isn't providing the return that we expected."

This also shows the realtive STRENGTH of Pontiac, in that the brand has been able to outlast both of these divisions with 50% of the investment from parent company GM. (Yet, for some reason, it's getting it's balls cut off now)

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe the "valence panel" between the headlamps was another Toronado-inspired cue.

oldsmobile-toronado-1967a.jpg

aurora_p.jpg

Ehhhhhhh...that's a bit of a reach. Really, even the taillight design is reaching for me. The biggest similarity I see between the original Aurora and the Toronado is that they both were platform mates with the Riviera.

The 2nd gen is very clearly an Aurora redesign with many of the same cues, same overall shape, but cleaner, less space-age styling. Yet looking at it and a Toronado...nothing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0