Where Did It Go Wrong?
Compact, affordable and electric, the G-Wiz could have been a big success, instead, it's gone down in automotive history as one of the worst cars ever built. Here are four reasons why.
Compactness on its own, isn't necessarily a huge asset
Diminutive dimensions can certainly be a benefit when you're negotiating your way around city traffic (and into city parking spaces), but on its own, it's not really enough to make a car a good city runaround. A great city car needs to be nippy as well. It needs to have what it takes to make the most of opportunities as they occur, whether that's a space opening up on the road, or squeezing adroitly into the tightest of parking spots. The G-Wiz was certainly small, but it was't remotely nippy, in fact it was so sedate that it was often compared to milk floats and golf carts.
Affordable depends on your point of view
While the G-Wiz was about as cheap as you could possibly get for a new car, it really didn't take much in the way of financial genius to work out that you could get a whole lot more for your money by looking at other options. If you were simply looking for a cheap and cheerful way to get around a city without having to rely on public transport, then any decent moped would have been at least as good a choice as the G-Wiz and probably a whole lot cheaper, even new. If you specifically wanted, or needed, a car, then the second-hand market had plenty of options with better performance and similar (or lower) prices.
It was openly unsafe
The G-Wiz was never actually, officially, sold as a car. It was sold as an electric quadricycle. While marketers tried to spin this as a positive in that it meant that you could drive it with just a CBT, rather than needing to pass a driving test, the automotive press were quick to point out that this also meant that the G-Wiz was exempt from the sort of safety tests proper cars were expected to pass in order to be legally sold. This might not have been a problem if the build quality of the G-Wiz had inspired confidence in its safety, but it was so bad that it was far from unusual for there to be gaps big enough to let the rain through.
Public transport was better
In cities, there is usually some sort of public transport available at any time of day or night, so having your own transport is really about comfort and convenience and perhaps, depending on your situation, a certain degree of safety. Unfortunately for the G-Wiz, it was so small that even a solo driver could feel like they were being squashed in and it was so low on power that carrying anything more than a basic handbag or light rucksack was just asking far too much of it.