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Hagerty Employee

4 canceled vehicles that deserved a second chance

The automotive industry is brutal. Dollar signs drive design decisions every day, and if a product doesn’t continue to satisfy bean counters and board executives, it’s tossed aside regardless of the cult that might follow the nameplate to its grave. 


Today we both celebrate and mourn the loss of several models that were axed before they could be polished or refined to the full extent. Read the full article on

174 REPLIES 174
Pit Crew

You forgot the Cadillac CTS wagon. Great looking car and wonderful to drive.

More than the VW, the PT Cruiser had a huge following, was very successful until the DC execs couldn't figure out an encore! The occupant packaging was superior in class and offered an alternative to the silly CUV wanna-bes.
I'm sorry, but it was NOT true that the LX platform owed its roots to Mercedes! The LH RWD was the genesis of the line. The 300 came from that start and the 4 subsequent variants. Sadly, ALL of the variants ae so long in the tooth that I fear that the French will kill what has made everyone tons of money by not updating the platform. And I do NOT mean electric anything, either! When there are winds, storms, hurricanes, brushfires and they shut off electric power to large sw2aths of the population, you EV will be a boat anchor at best!

Thanks Hagerty, nice way to start a debate.

I love reading the opinions of all these arm chair 'experts' on what the industry did 'wrong'.
the best so far is the individual who suggested that GM should have kept Pontiac and killed off Buick.

Hmmm, let's see about that: of the 10 Best car selling brands of any country of origin for 2020 #8 is Buick. Have any idea why?

GM knows their own history in China and Pontiac had none.

The Lincoln Town Car, on a real frame, all stainless exhaust and more, real comfort ride, engine that goes an easy 400 grand, tranny the same, they just don't make 'em like they used to.
Intermediate Driver

The only thing the Aztek missed was the horn didn't play "la cucaracha". Otherwise a perfect replica of "The Homer".

But then Pontiac had a real thing for that plastic siding "cladding" at the time. I specifically did NOT buy one of their minivans of the same era because of the cladding. Great place to trap moisture and rot the sheet metal.

Definitely a "Oh, did I forget to mention that on my resume?" moment.
Pit Crew

Back in mid 90's when I was single I bought a 2/3 years old, low mileage Stealth R/T with rear spoilers, pop-up headlamps, leather seats, the works. I used to take it clubbing with my cousin. It was definitely a head turner for the chicks, competing with Nissan 300 Z's and Corvettes! 😄 Drove that car to Orlando and back no problem, but it blew an engine in AC Expressway when my cousin pushed it to the limit! Ended up fixing the engine by a Dodge Dealership, but the car was just not the same afterward. I had to sell it to a young kid graduating from Medical school. He fell in love with it after driving it and said he wanted it despite his GF keep saying will think about it! 😄 I had good memories with that baby!

As both MB and Fiat discovered, never too
soon to unload a
Moorpoor product.

My choice is the Magnum. Sad to hear that CJD may be also killing the Charger as well as the Chrysler 300s models. Leaves a big gap in the performance and styling of cars. Have had the 5.7L Hemi and am still impressed with my 300s's ability to get out of it's own way and pass with ease. I know everything is Eco and EV but sure love the sound and fury of a good strong V8 be it Hemi, small or Big Block.
Intermediate Driver

We have a 2005 Dodge Magnum SXT with only 72,xxx kms (app: 42,000 miles) and has never seen snow or salt being stored in a warm shop from November to April. Have tried to sell several times but the Dodge is still under appreciated, imho. Just put a new AC Delco battery (the original is ok but weak), and new Michelins and the car is like new again. When put on the hoist for regular maintenance in our shop there is no rust to be found even on the exhaust. We bought this in 2005 as a retirement gift and use it for long hauls. Being 16 years old it is now being accepted at some car cruises. Love the Magnum and will continue to cruise in style.
happy motoring everyone

The Magnum would have been interesting had it received the upgrades the later Charger/Challenger cars received. The interior was horridly bad to me in the Magnum. I looked at one as the idea of a fast wagon was appealing to me. A few minutes after sitting in it I said nope.

3000GT VR-4 was a great car but the reality is the Supra Turbo, 300ZX Turbo and RX-7 were better cars. The Eclipse GSX was a roomier car. If they had given that car a full Lancer EVO spec motor it would have made the 3000GT even less relevant.
Intermediate Driver

I would have helped if Pontiac had put in some of the consideration they wasted on the interior on the exterior. The Aztec has a reputation of being one of the ugliest vehicles to hit the road. The long nose borrowed from the minivan underneath was a major turn off. There was not much that could be done to gain traction with such an ugly duckling.
New Driver

The Aztec always reminded me of an “Angry Toaster”. But the Magnum was sublime

It will never happen, but they should build a Hellcat Widebody Magnum. It would be the world’s greatest wagon, and they would sell a bunch.

New Driver

Owned Phaeton last year offered in US. FANTASTIC VEHICLE! Appreciate difficulty selling in VW dealership. Owned Jag, Benz , BMW, Lexus. That VW was favorite of those.

Dear God not the Aztec, this vehicle did more damage to Pontiac`s reputation ( just plain ugly.....sorry Aztec fans ) then any other vehicle they ever produced. Because of designs like this (and the 2004 GTO....over sized Caviler), the Aztec was the beginning of the end for Pontiac. I never forgave GM for not having the vision to change it`s way`s and continue the Pontiac line ever in bankruptcy.
New Driver

I’ll be the first inline to preorder a V8 Magnum RWD and manual transmission.
This will be the best competition for the Outback with more power and Fun(R) Wheel Drive
Intermediate Driver

1.Never even knew there was such as a VW Phaeton. Saw one sitting on a lot a while back whilst sitting at a stoplight about two months ago Thought it looked pretty good....could only see the VW badging at the time. Looked it up later and it seemed nice.
2.Always liked the Mitsubishi....still do....also heard about problems later in life. Always thought it had too much trick stuff for the average guy to keep in good order.
3.Pontiac Aztek always has and always will look like a motorized version of my first-ex.mother-in-law...nuff said.
4.Dodge Magnum....was and could be a LOT of things to a LOT of folks go-getter, soccer ball bus, weekend hardware store stuff getter, auxiliary fire, rescue, police vehicle....and most importantly.... HOTROD ! Dress her up or dress her down...she could still go to the ball. I vote for the Magnum.

New Driver

I like the Magnum. But, they should offer it with a detachable rear cover (and filler section) as a Standard Shift V8. Other than that, Toyota should restyle the Prius to look like the ole' 240Z and turn the auto market on it's head.

I would hardly call a 14 year model run a canceled failure in regards to VW's Phaeton. I believe VW made a bold statement throwing their Phaeton into the same arena as their Autounion rival Audi.

I agree, the Mitsubishi and the Magnum deserve a come back. I'm not so sure about the VW, I suspect it would get the same reception as before, nobody wants a VW that is priced like a Mercedes or BMW. They did get their use out of the engineering that was involved. The Aztek? They were not pleasant to look at, but judging by some of the offerings from highly regarded car makers like Lexus and BMW, ugly is in these days. Maybe the Aztek was just ahead of its time. And the AWD did work pretty well in the snow, it certainly was up to more than just a wet driveway.

Aztec - GM's biggest mistake was in thinking that Gen X was interested in camping. Magnum - don't know about the rest of the country but in urban California they quickly lost their appeal when they became the official ride of real life gangsters. You saw them all over the inner city but seldom outside it. Mitsubishi 3000 GT - the Achilles heel of the car was those turbo intercoolers mounted inside the front bumper. Even a small accident would result in a very expense repair. And generally speaking, much of the change in the market was driven by the changing needs of Baby Boomers. We got tired of cute little cars that were cramped and hard to get into and switched to the SUV, aka the living room on wheels.
Intermediate Driver

Whatever the VW Phaeton's virtues, it just looks like a great big Jetta. If they're not too expensive to maintain they might be a screaming luxury bargain for those who aren't interested in showing off. A quick search turned up a 2004 with 140,000km at less than $9k. Looked in pretty good nick, inside and out.

I think the second-worst problem of the Phaeton, behind the pricing of a VW, was the very bland styling, even by luxury car standards.

A cousin had the Mitu. It was a great looking car, but had a lot of mechanical issues.

I kinda liked the Magnum, but did not like the sloped-down rear section of the roof. If it had been a more conventional-looking wagon, I might have bought it. Also, the vertically challenged side windows of the car let too little light in, and cut visibility.

Aztek? died a well-deserved death. It was an embarrassment to the once-proud Pontiac name.

Intermediate Driver

We loved our Dodge Magnum and would buy another in a heartbeat. That car was pure beast (yes we had the hemi) and a manual option would be freaking awesome.
Pit Crew

The Phaeton. None of the rest deserve to be resurrected. Drove a Magnum once - absolutely no road feel handling: could not be sure which direction the front wheels were pointed... in snow, it was a disaster. Tried to be a multi-purpose vehicle, but did nothing well. Aztec was the butt-ugliest Pontiac of all time, maybe the ugliest car ever built by GM. 3000GT looks good, but if you can't maintain it easily, you aren't going to be using it as a daily driver.