Wednesday 12th February 1992
General Motors of Canada Ltd announced a new marque, the Asuna, as a counterpart to Geo. It was one of two successors to the Passport marque, which had a similar intent. Preceding the Asüna marque, Passport sold a Korean (Daewoo) made badge engineered Opel Kadett E known as the Passport Optima (which hit Canadian shores in 1991) as well as a selection of Isuzu cars and SUVs. General Motors Canada changed its branding strategy in 1988, disbanding Passport (the Optima was rebadged as Pontiac LeMans). Isuzu was grouped together with Saab and GM’s new, import-fighting Saturn division to form Saturn-Saab-Isuzu dealerships. The Geo marque was introduced in Canada in (model year) 1992, offered at Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealers (who had been selling the Geo marque’s products as Chevrolets from 1988 until the marque’s introduction). Sales of Geo vehicles were relatively successful, prompting Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealers to request GM Canada to provide a lineup of similar “import” vehicles. Asüna was created to fulfill this demand.
The Pontiac LeMans model name was dropped altogether in favour of trimline designations, selling as Asüna SE in base trim hatchbacks and sedans, and as Asüna GT as a higher trim hatchback. The Asüna lineup was rounded out by the Sunfire and Sunrunner taking the GMC Tracker’s place in the Pontiac-Buick-GMC lineup.
Asüna sales could not match Geo’s, and the Asüna marque was eliminated in 1994. The SE/GT and Sunfire were dropped from the GM Canada lineup and Sunrunner was rebadged as a Pontiac.