Geo (automobile)

Geo was a brand of small cars produced by General Motors as a subdivision of Chevrolet from 1989 to 1997. The company was formed by GM to compete in the small import market of the mid 1980s. After the 1997 model year the remaining Geo models were given the Chevrolet name. Fading sales during the 1990s resulted in the last vehicle of the former Geo line, the Tracker, to be discontinued in 2004.

Geo models were manufactured by GM but in partnership with three Japanese automakers. The Prizm was produced at the GM/Toyota NUMMI assembly plant in Fremont, California, the Metro and Tracker were produced at the GM/Suzuki CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. The Spectrum and Storm, were manufactured by Isuzu in Japan.

The Geo Metro is a small economy car that was produced from 1989 to 2001 model years. Initially offered in three and five-door hatchback models and  a Canadian only 4-door notchback sedan. A convertible model was available in 1990, but was discontinued after 1993. Original Metros came with three-cylinder engines that produced a startling gas mileage of 53 MPG (city) and 58 MPG (highway). The Metro was redesigned in 1995 and featured a four-cylinder engine, standard dual airbags and optional anti-lock brakes. The four-door sedan replaced the five-door hatchback. The three-cylinder engine remained in the base hatchback. In 1998 the Metro, now a Chevrolet, was redesigned again with a more powerful engine. The Metro hatchback and the three cylinder engine was produced for the last time in 2000.  All 2001 models were four-door sedans that were sold to fleets only.

The Prizm is a compact four-door sedan that was  the successor to the Chevrolet Nova. It featured a five-door hatchback model  offered through 1991. The Prizm consistently won awards but was always outsold by the Toyota Corolla. It also competed against the Chevy Cavalier for market share and dealer floor space. The Prizm was sold from 1989 through 2002 and came in either the base model or the upscale LSi version. From 1990-1992 a sporty GSi model was produced, equivalent to the Corolla GT-S.

The Spectrum was a subcompact model sold as a regular Chevrolet model from 1985 to 1988. When Geo was formed in 1989, the Spectrum was renamed as a Geo. The Geo Spectrum was only sold in 1989 and was replaced by the Geo Storm hatchback.

The Storm had a sporty appearance and was the most powerful of the Geo line. It was available in a two-door fastback or a three-door hatchback version. It entered the lineup in 1990 as a base model or in GSi trim, replacing the Spectrum. The base model featured either a 3-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission. The GSi models featured either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic, with better handling, a rear spoiler, bucket seats, and a more powerful DOHC engine. In 1992, the Storm was restyled, with the GSi gaining a bigger 1.8 liter DOHC engine. Partly because Isuzu discontinued their car line to concentrate on SUVs and pickups, the storm was no longer produced.

The Geo Tracker SUV was introduced in 1989 as a low cost alternative vehicle in place of a Jeep. Originally offered as a two-door vehicle in either a convertible or fixed hard top model in base or LSi versions. The 1989 and 1990 models were offered with a 5-speed manual transmission and four-wheel-drive. In The two-door hard top was discontinued and a four-door version was produced in 1996. The four-door featured a 95 hp engine and an optional four-speed automatic transmission. From 1989 to 1998 the Tracker was a Geo brand and from 1999 to 2004 marketed under Chevrolet, thus becoming the longest lasting Geo model. It was completely redesigned for the 1999 model year and in 2005 it was replaced by the Chevrolet Equinox.

Image Caption: Geo Tracker Convertible. Credit: IFCAR/Wikipedia (public domain)