As soon as the exit of the Oldsmobile Achieva, a brand new model by the name of Oldsmobile Alero came into picture before the turn of the century as the re-entry model of the Oldsmobile to the small car market. The first Alero model year was based on the 1997 concept car shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit at the same year.
It its first year in 1999, the Alero redefined the Oldsmobile compact car. As the Achieva looks more like a big body car in a small wheelbase, the Alero came in more stylish and true to its class vehicle. A cleaner and better design gave the Alero its similarity to Aurora, Oldsmobile's flagship model. It was offered in three trims: GX, GL, and the GLS, all came in coupe and sedan. The Alero GSL housed the 3.4L OHV V-6 rated at 170 horsepower at 4,800 rpm. The both the GX and the GL model offered the 2.4L DOHC four-cylinder engine that can produce 150 hp.
What made the Alero different from other Oldsmobile was its style and design. It has some adaptation to the features of Aurora and Intrigue but with more rounded fenders and quarter panels, and a low front end and a high rear deck contour. Their primary market directly targeted the American buyers of Japanese vehicles such as Honda, Toyota, and Nissan.
After a year and with a good share in the market competing against Dodge Avenger, Chrysler Sebring Coupe, Honda Accord Coupe and Toyota Solara, the Alero became the best-selling Oldsmobile passing the Aurora and Intrigue. This year made the GL model divided into three levels: 1, 2, and, 3. The three child-seat anchors on the rear parcel shelf was an addition at this year.
The 2001 Alero gave the GX its power windows, cruise control and a standard CD player while the GL3 was dropped. The GL1 received that keyless entry and the GL2 had redefined suspension and rear spoiler. By the end of the year, the GM announced the phase out of all present Olds models, but the Alero had another year of production. By 2002 and 2003, the Alero adds more feature and power to the model including the XM satellite radio. The 2004 Oldsmobile Alero was unchanged as Oldsmobile production decreased. GM added 5-year 60,000mi Protection plan to the 2004 Alero.