The problem with Detroit is that they never really wanted to create a car that people want to drive. It may sound strange to say that, but the truth is they created cars that engineers want to build. But we don’t care about these engineers.- Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, in a New York Times piece on the impending death of the PT Cruiser.
This, in a nutshell, is a good piece of the problem with Detroit and the Big Three. They haven't built cars people want to drive, whether the flaw is engineering, efficiency or the drive for profits (as with the SUV). The PT Cruiser falls into the same category as the original (Morris) Mini, the Citroen 2CV, the original VW Beetle and a host of others. They were quirky, frequently underpowered, and uninteresting mechanically, but they had character and an appeal the Big Three (particularly GM) seems unable to comprehend and unwilling to attempt.