Old Red Letters Spectacle Technology Words

The Aztek Conspiracy

What if Gen­er­al Motors brought out the, pret­ty ugly, Pon­ti­ac Aztek just to spite its cus­tomers? It’s sub­se­quent suc­cess has made Amer­i­ca a worse place to live in.
Pic­ture a time when Cher’s “Believe” was the num­ber one sin­gle in the Unit­ed States. While every­one else was ready­ing for the new cen­tu­ry, Gen­er­al Motors was try­ing to fig­ure out a way to kill its lux­u­ry-sport brand, Pon­ti­ac. In a secret war on qual­i­ty, they sim­ply couldn’t just stop build­ing them. Too much tedious expla­na­tion to the unions. They need­ed a plan to kill the name off clean­ly and qui­et­ly. Enter the Aztek.
Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show as a 2001 mod­el, it was GM’s first for­ay into the still-infan­tile crossover mar­ket. It was tar­get­ing toward “the younger gen­er­a­tion,” and required a mile-long options list includ­ing strange, out­doorsy things like an inte­grat­ed tent, cool­er cen­ter con­sole, and tail­gat­ing acces­sories. In oth­er words, any­thing a Sub­aru owner/road cycling enthu­si­ast dreams of at night. As it turns out, the Aztek hit the nail right on the part that is hit with a ham­mer on a nail. It was even endorsed by J.D. Pow­er and Asso­ciates. Of course…there was a mas­sive prob­lem. The thing looked hor­ri­ble.
The orig­i­nal 1999 con­cept was real­ly an ear­ly embod­i­ment of what all crossovers strive to be. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, some very bad design deci­sions led to the actu­al pro­duc­tion car look­ing as if it had facial recon­struc­tion surgery per­formed by an intox­i­cat­ed man off the street. While most would have you believe it was sim­ply a chain of mis­takes that led to the looks, I think dif­fer­ent­ly.
This was the peak of GM’s anti-cus­tomer men­tal­i­ty. The qual­i­ty, reli­a­bil­i­ty and dura­bil­i­ty of their prod­ucts sank to their low­est trough in the four years the Aztek was pro­duced. Odd­ly enough, it seemed to be exempt from all the neg­a­tives. It was reli­able, rel­a­tive­ly well-made, and quite durable. There is still a large enough num­ber tear­ing about the mid­west­ern Unit­ed States that I have to cope with at least two or three sight­ings dai­ly. And that was exact­ly their goal. Not only was the Aztek the weapon that mur­dered Pon­ti­ac, its exis­tence is an act of revenge against the pub­lic by GM.
Two func­tions then, both accom­plished. One can only imag­ine how many sighs, feel­ings of dis­gust, baby cries, etc that muti­lat­ed face has elicit­ed over the years. Some­one even had the audac­i­ty to decide on the Aztek as the offi­cial pace car for the 2001 Day­tona 500. Don’t look it up.…you’ll vom­it.