General Motors consistently ranks as one of the largest automobile manufacturing companies on the planet. While GM might be best known for its subsidiaries brands here in the US, where Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, and Buick dealerships are common, the large corporation also includes international holdings in foreign companies including Holden, Baojun, Jiefang, and Wuling.
Much of GM's success simply comes down to having been around for over a century, since William Durant first founded the company in 1908. But over the years, GM has experienced its fair share of ups and downs, though the 1990s and 2000s were definitely a downswing for the company, with longstanding subsidiaries Pontiac and Oldsmobile, as well as Saturn, being shuttered for good.
The 90s, especially, were a rough period for every Detroit manufacturer. Luckily, few people can even recall most of the failures of that era. Keep scrolling for 19 GM cars from the 90s that no one remembers today.
19 Chevrolet Lumina APV
Chevy struck out big time with the Lumina APV, though it shouldn't have come as a surprise that making a strange van and then naming it after a boring sedan would not be a recipe for success. Minivans were on the rise in the 1990s, but not thanks to models like the Lumina APV, that's for sure.
18 Oldsmobile Aurora
The Oldsmobile Aurora was supposed to revive Oldsmobile but in reality, the model may have hastened the brand's demise. Long and swoopy on the outside, with just a bit of luxury on the inside and a boat-like ride, the Aurora just couldn't attract buyers who were trending towards imports during the 1990s in a big way.
17 Chevrolet Cavalier
This Chevrolet Cavalier probably looks familiar to anyone who ever had the unfortunate luck of owning one of these cars. Flat tires and hood up, as someone tries to figure out what exactly is going to go wrong next. GM had to adjust their lineup to compete with the smaller cars flooding the market, but the Cavalier was in no way a competitor to the likes of Honda, Toyota, or Nissan.
16 Pontiac Grand Am
Absolutely no one remembers the fourth generation of the Pontiac Grand Am that sold from 1992 to 1998. Of course, no one really remembered the second or third gens, either, since the model had transformed from a big, beefy rear-wheel-drive land yacht to a tiny, front-wheel-drive commuter car. And things didn't get better with the fifth generation, either.
15 Pontiac Trans Sport
GM tried many times to sell rebadged versions of their cars under different make and model nameplates. Most of the attempts were abysmal failures, like the Pontiac Trans Sport, which was just a Lumina APV with a different name. People hated this minivan so much that one owner just cut their losses and chopped the whole top off the monstrosity.
14 Cadillac Catera
Cadillac may have released the quintessential car of the 1990s: the Catera. Look at that bland design, absurd lighting, and the target consumer in the period advertising picture above. Everything about the image of the Catera made gearheads in the 1990s look forward to the 21st century, even if it meant a Y2K-related disaster.
13 Buick Regal
The fact that Buick hasn't gone the way of Pontiac, Saturn, and Oldsmobile is definitely a surprise, though in reality, Buick helps to keep GMC and Cadillac dealers in business in the US and is an extremely popular brand in China. But the Buick Regal of the 1990s contributed greatly to Buick's overall decline in America.
12 Buick Roadmaster
The Buick Roadmaster was an enormous barge of a vehicle, especially in station wagon form. Of course, few cars could match the Roadmaster when it came to taking the whole fam on a road trip, though not if the whole family insisted on looking good on their vacation. At least the kiddos would enjoy the rear-facing seats, from which they could beg other cars to rescue them.
11 Oldsmobile Achieva
GM's designers truly had a rough decade in the 1990s. Just look at the Buick Achieva, above. It's no wonder no one remembers this car—just looking at it is an exercise in boredom! Anyone who owned an Achieva like this would be better off digging those wagon wheels out of the ground and hitching up the horse when they want to ride into town.
10 Pontiac Sunrunner
Pontiac typically tried to make their cars sound interesting by bestowing cool names on boring models. Case in point is the Sunrunner, a little SUV that could give the original Kia Sportage a run for its money in cheap build quality. The Sunrunner pictured above might be one of the last of its kind still able to drive, though, from the rust, it appears its days are number, too.
9 Saturn SL1
The Saturn SL1 sounds like a booster rocket that NASA used to launch satellites into space in the 1990s, but the reality is much, much less cool. Saturn was always a bottom-of-the-barrel attempt by GM to attract younger consumers through marketing rather than actual solid car-making, and the SL1 was a perfect example of why that business model didn't last.
8 Chevrolet Corsica
Corsica is a small island in the Mediterranean famous for its organized crime and for being the home of Napoleon Bonaparte. Naming a vehicle after the famous, yet diminutive, island would be great if the car was small and powerful beyond the expectations created by its exterior. Unfortunately, the Chevy Corsica had a dreadful interior and drivetrain that perfectly matched its terrible exterior.
7 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo, meanwhile, is the sight of one of Formula 1's greatest races and a luxurious city in the nation of Monaco on the coast of the Mediterranean. Again, naming a car after the location should set consumers up to have certain expectations met. But again, GM did an awful job with the Chevy Monte Carlo of the 1990s, producing a blob-like coupe that looked anything but powerful or luxurious.
6 GM EV1
Elon Musk has taken the world by storm with his Tesla electric vehicles and the immense level of earned press his antics bring the company. But with the EV craze in full swing, many average car buyers who might be considering switching to electric power probably don't remember GM's EV1, which was released way back in 1996.
5 Chevrolet Impala
General Motors has a long history of shelving popular model names, only to reintroduce them later on cars that completely lose the spirit of the originals. The original Chevy Impala of the 1950s was long, sleek, with fins and chrome and everything that made cars from the 50s so great. But when the Impala returned in 1994 after a nine-year hiatus, it was everything that was bad about 1990s-era cars.
4 Chevrolet Beretta
This classy gentleman pictured above may be the only person on the face of the planet who actually remembers the Chevrolet Beretta. The Beretta was a coupe that shared just about everything with the petite Corsica sedan and other GM L Platform models. To no one's great surprise, this model was just as disappointing as the rest.
3 Geo Prizm
Geo was another attempt by GM to rebadge cars and sell them as if they weren't piles of junk. Especially in the case of Geo, though, it was hard to fool consumers. The Prizm was Geo's four-door commuter car and was really a Toyota Sprinter with different logos on the front and rear. Unfortunately, the Geo version was built in Fremot, California, and not in Japan.
2 Geo Tracker
The Tracker was sold under both Chevrolet and Geo badging during the late 1980s and 1990s. But the true story is that the Tracker was a Suzuki Sidekick, not a real GM model. The tiny, lightweight SUV was cheap as cheap could be, and if it look similar to the Pontiac Sunrunner, that's because that model is yet another attempt to rebadge this underwhelming product.
1 Geo Metro
The Geo Metro may be the most well-known model on this list, even if it deserves to be forgotten forever. The Metro will go down in history as one of the cheapest cars ever made, famous for having no style, no power, and no amenities—in many ways, the Geo Metro is GM's version of a Yugo, which should not be a point of pride for anyone.
Sources: Wikipedia, Jalopnik, and Car and Driver.