In a company with as many automotive offerings as the old General Motors put forth, it was somewhat inevitable there’d be considerable model overlap. One rather poignant case of this was the GMC Envoy, Chevrolet TrailBlazer and Oldsmobile Bravada triumvirate.
So similar were these three vehicles, General Motors actually held a joint press conference for them at the introduction of the second generation of the Envoy, upon which the other two vehicles were based. Or was the Envoy based on those other two vehicles? Who knows? It’s really difficult to keep it all straight.
That press conference stands out in bold relief from all the other press conferences we’ve attended, because in the middle of the event schedule, all the GM executives present were called into a closed-door meeting. When they emerged, it was announced GM’s senior management team was pulling the plug on the Oldsmobile brand. This, less than one hour after a then-enthusiastic Oldsmobile representative (who came out of that meeting fearful for his job by the way) had just sung the praises of the Bravada version of the Trailblazer, Envoy and Bravada triplets.
Those genuinely curious about why the old GM didn’t make it need only examine the dollars spent producing that press conference only to have to tell us one of the vehicles we were covering at the conference was essentially — stillborn.
That, plus that uniquely GM penchant for producing interiors seemingly designed by Fisher-Price (makers of those fabulously plastic PlaySkool toys), sloppy handling, and rather indifferent build quality; hamstrung what could have been a very nice mid-size SUV.
Envoy lasted for two generations before the plug was eventually pulled on it as well.