Abandoned History: General Motors' Passport and Asna, Total Brand Confusion (Part II)

We started our coverage of GM’s Eighties and Nineties branding adventures last week, with the short-lived experiment that was Passport. The dealership network was an amalgamation of GM-owned or influenced brands from Japan, Sweden, and in the case of the Passport Optima, South Korea. Passport lasted from 1987 through 1991 before GM changed directions. In addition to axing an unsuccessful sales channel, Geo and Saturn cars had arrived during Passport’s tenure and made things more complicated. Let’s learn some more about GM’s Canadian dealership networks.

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Abandoned History: General Motors' Passport and Asna, Total Brand Confusion (Part I)

In the Eighties and Nineties, General Motors of Canada decided to try new distribution strategies for its imported cars. Like in the recent Dodge Colt series, General Motors had its own captive import cars and trucks that were manufactured by other brands. But because of dealership arrangements in Canada, GM took things a step further than Chrysler and established a separate distribution network for its imported wares. The efforts lead to the thrilling Passport and Asüna brands for the Canadian market. First up, Passport.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Compact Japanese SUVs From 1991

Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we considered three-door Japanese SUVs from 1989. In this edition, we move forward a couple years in history and down a size class. Up for grabs are compact SUVs with removable roofs, all of them Japanese.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Isuzu Amigo
The family tree of the Isuzu Faster pickup, best known in North America as the Chevrolet LUV, developed a thick branch of models that included some decent-selling SUVs. The two-door Amigo was the first of these to hit our shores.Here’s a high-mile example spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.
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How The Honda Passport Got Its Name

It ceased being fun working at American Honda around the summer of 1993. Most of our senior managers in the sales division had recently been fired. In May, the New York Times published the first story about our executives soliciting bribes from dealers. The Justice Department was snooping around our US headquarters in Torrance, CA. The year before, our geniuses in Japan had dropped the ground-breaking CRX two-seater and stuck us with the dull del Sol. Over at Acura, our Honda Division castoffs were busy trying to figure out why the tepid 5-cylinder Vigor was not selling.

We were still stuck in the Civic-Accord-Prelude-del Sol mode. “We will never build trucks,” our execs had often proudly proclaimed. Now we found ourselves caught flat-footed as we followed the success of the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner SUVs. We needed a sport-ute yesterday, and it would take us a minimum of four years to develop one. We did what any self-respecting, high quality, loved-by-its-customers car company would do in this situation.

We called Isuzu.

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  • SCE to AUX One world government would solve this problem.
  • Master Baiter [list=1][*]Add a HUD.[/*][*]Improve ride quality.[/*][*]4680 cells.[/*][*]Improve rearward visibility.[/*][*]15 year battery warranty.[/*][*]Improve front-end styling. [/*][/list=1]
  • Ajla "cutting the number of components involved in the production and for the car’s interior."This is like Calista Flockhart going on a crash diet.
  • SCE to AUX "...as soon as late 2023"I'll hold my breath. TSLA has fallen a lot lately, so this news is timed to fix that.
  • Tassos Most of these are utterly unnecessary. Winter tires especially, they cost $, take too much space to store, and if you have a good set of all season tires, you sure do not need them. I have driven in MI for 45 years, never had winter tires, the last 20 years I drove only RWD cars, and still never needed them. If you own a flagship German car, like I did for many years, air filters can be very expensive. I tried to replace mine this fall, but they asked 4 times what I paid for the exact same part overseas (I own identical 2007 and 2008 E320 Diesels). You can always roll down a window by 1 inch or less in the winter and refresh your cabin air. Wipers are rarely used during winter, you can clean the snow with your scraper, use wipers only when it rains hard. I keep mine for at least two years. Microfiber towels may be good. I never used them. Are they washable in the washing machine? ANd how 'cheap' are they exactly?