Taking a look at this minuscule monstrosity makes you realize why GM went into bankruptcy in the first place. What an odd and useless car the HHR SS panel van was (via Motor Biscuit). It’s almost like a rogue designer got loose with the authority to authorize a project. The HHR itself was the PT Cruiser a full eight years too late. Couple that with the obscure and useless design of a miniature panel van, and you have what we have here.
The HHR SS Panel Van didn’t offer anything sensational in terms of performance. Why GM would even put it on the market is beyond us. Car shoppers around this time were more concerned with fuel economy than a unique panel van. Had the HHR hit the market an entire decade before, GM might have had a hit on their hands.
If there is one nameplate consumers yearn to revive, it’s the Caprice. Chevy’s full-size sedan offering had a loyal following. The Caprice PPV that hit the market in 2010 was not sold directly to consumers (via Auto Trader). The captive import from Australia was sold to police departments, and the car was based on the Pontiac G8.
The styling was lackluster and performance wasn’t breathtaking like enthusiasts had hoped for. Chevy sort of threw the Caprice nameplate in the wind with this generation. The former Caprice model used to have personality, the new one didn’t have any. In fact, it had that “generic” Chevy feeling that the brand had in the 2000s. Sadly, the Caprice was not the hit that GM had hoped for, and it was phased out with the Chevy SS in 2017.
After the Chevy Metro was phased out in 2001, the brand needed a subcompact car. The Aveo was brought into the mix and was based on a Daewoo model. The car advertised having a stellar interior room in a small package (via The Truth About Cars). That wasn’t entirely true, and the Aveo didn’t sell in the numbers the brand had hoped for. Reliability was questionable, as were initial safety ratings for the small car.
The Aveo would stay in existence for a while, ultimately being phased out with the Sonic. But when it comes to forgettable compact cars, the Aveo was about as forgettable as you can think of. There were much better models, including the Honda Fit. Chevrolet has since abandoned the compact car segment altogether as GM moves toward crossover vehicles.
Elon Musk sprang new life into the electric car segment when Tesla became more successful than any other electric automaker. Naturally, GM was passed up due to incompetence when the company abandoned the EV1. The Volt was an attempt to take Tesla’s market share (via Shift). Sadly, car shoppers didn’t resonate with the bubble-shaped Chevy model. Ultimately, there’s more to an electric car than simply being electric.
Chevy missed the memo when it came to styling and versatility. The fact that the Volt was partly gas-powered meant you still had to deal with the maintenance issues of gas-powered cars. The Volt was a costly failure for General Motors and the Chevrolet brand. Now, GM is working on new and more advanced electric car technology.
The folks at GM needed a way to sell more trucks, but customers were getting frustrated with the gas mileage. The Silverado Hybrid came along to change things up a bit. Unfortunately, the hybrid drivetrain used in the truck didn’t improve the mileage all that much (via (GM Authority). The Silverado Hybrid didn’t get much better gas mileage than the ordinary model. That meant buyers paid a premium for some hybrid badging, and that’s about it.
The Silverado Hybrid didn’t last long before it was phased out altogether. Consumers were not buying the quickly thrown together hybrid product. The Silverado Hybrid was not the dream truck many environmentalists had hoped for. You will seldom see a Silverado Hybrid on the road today. The awkward truck model didn’t sell well, and consumers weren’t sold on it.
Another failed attempt at a supersized hybrid was the Tahoe Hybrid. The Tahoe Hybrid hit the market in the midst of the economic recession of 2008. Consumers weren’t looking for gas-guzzling vehicles anymore, and it put a dent in GM’s business (via Car and Driver). The company had to act quickly, and thus the Tahoe Hybrid hit the market. Aside from the abundance of Hybrid badging, there wasn’t a ton of actual improvement.
The gas mileage was not that much better than the regular Tahoe. But the cost was thousands more, and the truck was limited. The body kits and insufficient off-road capability limited the Tahoe Hybrid to pavement duty. Sales numbers for the Tahoe Hybrid were lackluster at best, and the SUV was ultimately a failure.