The second generation of the Infiniti G20 was released in 1999 after a hiatus. The car was redesigned but still appeared similar to the previous model. The styling was meant to be more sedate and was in line with the Infiniti design language at the time. The only engine choice was still a four-cylinder engine, and there were better options on the market (via Car Gurus).
For all intents and purposes, the Infiniti G20 was a lackluster effort by Infiniti to sell a compact sport sedan. Consumers were more interested with competing models than anything Infiniti had to offer. The competition for a compact sedan was raging at the time. Infiniti would have success later on with the G35 sedan and coupe.
What happens when you try to sell a Toyota Prius as a Lexus model? You get the Lexus HS. The car was a disaster for Lexus for many reasons. Consumers weren’t keen on the styling for one reason. The performance wasn’t in line with what you’d expect from a car in this price range either. The luxury features were also a bit lacking when you compare the car to other models in the same price range (via Motor Junkie).
The folks at Lexus had hoped the HS would be a winning combination of luxury and economy. In reality, the car was just something that no one actually wanted. Hybrid car buyers are already picky, and the Lexus HS didn’t fill that void that buyers were looking for. Instead, the HS ended up being a fairly short-lived model for the brand.
The Maserati Bi-Turbo was another failed attempt at a luxury car brand to create an affordable offering. The first thing you notice about the Bi-Turbo is that it was short and stubby. The car didn’t do much in terms of performance, and buyers couldn’t get over the sights. Another thing that the Bi-Turbo did wrong was the interior volume (via Car Gurus).
For a car in this price range, interior space was at a minimum, and that’s never a good thing. The Bi-Turbo could have been a winner for Maserati, but instead, it was a dud. The maintenance issues and lack of refinement caused the car to fail. These days, the Bi-Turbo has become a collector’s item due to its novelty appeal.
The Cadillac Allante was probably one of the worst failures for GM in its history. The sport coupe was supposed to compete with the likes of BMW and instead failed to draw an audience. The performance was subpar when you compared it to other models on the market. The styling was also a significant departure from what Cadillac shoppers were used to (via Every Auto).
The Allante wouldn’t last long on the market before GM pulled the plug. Traditional Cadillac buyers weren’t looking for a convertible like the Allante. GM had to try and position the car to sell to a younger demographic, and that didn’t work either. The Allante was lacking in almost every aspect that you could think of.
In the latter part of the 1990s decade, Cadillac was in a steep decline. Competition from other luxury car automakers had made the brand prehistoric to consumers. The top brass at Cadillac believed a compact luxury car would be the way to entice consumers. Thus, the Catera was born out of a necessity for a small car offering (via Motor Trend).
The problem with the Catera was that it was simply a rebadged European model. The reliability was scarce at best, and the styling was lackluster. Competing against the likes of BMW and Lexus, the Catera, but couldn’t cut the mustard. The car was universally panned by the automotive press for its lackluster styling and lack of performance.
The Cimarron is one of the worst Cadillac models ever made. For some reason, the car was based on the Chevy Cavalier compact car. The car didn’t enthuse consumers, which was obviously a bargain basement offering. Cadillac could have done better, but the Cimarron didn’t offer much luxury (via The Drive).
The Cimarron would go on with various revisions for almost a decade, but the car never managed to become a success for Cadillac. GM believed consumers would overlook the fact that the car was a rebadged Cavalier, but that never happened. The evidence that it was nothing more than a Cavalier was enough to ruin the reputation of the car.
The Cadillac XLR was an attempt at Cadillac to sell a high-performance sports car. Based on the Corvette, the XLR was everything you’d want out of a high-performance coupe. The XLR had the same 4.4 L 443 HP V8 engine, which was more than adequate enough. But the styling was a drawback for most car shoppers, as it appeared to be more of a stretched-out CTS (via Road and Track).
Sales for the XLR were low, and there was a lack of advertising for the model. There were also many issues with the electronics in the vehicle. Cadillac has a history of failing with sport coupes, and the XLR was the latest failure. There were much better sport coupes on the market than the XLR at the time of its release.