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The Demise of the Geo Prizm

In 1989, General Motors decided to produce small cars to compete with the growing import market then. The Michigan-based car manufacturer sold these small cars under the brand Geo. The vehicles under this brand were sold at Chevrolet dealerships although during the 1997 model year though the remaining vehicles in Geo's lineup joined that of Chevrolet. Finally, due to the reduced demand for compact vehicles, the production of Geo vehicles was discontinued in 2004. While the brand may have been discontinued, the brand was known to have produced vehicles with higher quality than its Chevrolet cousins.

One of the most famous Geo car models is the Prizm which was introduced in 1989. The Prizm is one of the results of the partnership between Toyota and General Motors. All Prizms were assembled at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. Owing to Toyota's involvement, the Prizm was designed based on the Toyota Sprinter and is considered as the upper scale version of the world's best selling car model - the Toyota Corolla.

In 1993, the Prizm underwent its first redesign. During this model year, the Geo Prizm was designed to offer more room inside the vehicle. Aside from the revisions inside the compact sedan, a new engine was offered in the form of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. While a new engine and a new roomy interior were the result of the redesign on the Prizm, its other parts such as the exterior remained relatively unchanged. It still has that conventional body styling and easily recognizable Geo headlights. In 1998, the second redesign of the Prizm was done.

Since the Prizm is nearly identical to the Toyota Corolla, it is expected that they would have at least the same value in the market. Unfortunately though for the Prizm, the auto industry gave the Toyota Corolla a higher value. This may be due to the fact that the Toyota Corolla is the best selling car model in the world and it has proven its reliability in the market.

Another reason for the demise of the Prizm is cannibalization. This means that a vehicle in the same lineup as the Prizm is driving the car buyers' attention away from the Prizm. The Prizm is competing with the Chevrolet Cavalier during its later years in the U.S. auto market. While the Prizm is seen as having better quality than the Cavalier, it was placed lower than the Cavalier in Chevrolet's lineup offering. This in-house competition coupled with the declining demand for compact cars led to the demise of one of Geo's more popular car models.

About The Author Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.
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