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GM to pull the plug on Pontiac

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Doomsday101, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors is preparing to announce that the Pontiac car brand, once marketed as GM's "Excitement division," will be killed off, according to a source familiar with the decision.

    An official announcement is expected Monday. GM spokesman Jim Hopson declined to comment on Pontiac's fate, saying the automaker has no announcements to make at this time.

    In its most recent "viability plan" - which will be updated to reflect this new brand cut - Pontiac was not named as one of GM's four "core brands." Those are Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. But Pontiac was also not to be killed or sold off, as were Saturn, Saab and Hummer.

    Instead Pontiac was to continue on as a "niche brand" focusing on just a few models.

    That was already a step down for Pontiac which in 2008 was the third-best selling brand behind Chevrolet and GMC. That year the brand sold more than Cadillac and twice as many vehicles as Buick. Cadillac is a high-profile - and high profit - luxury brand while Buick is a hugely popular brand in China and is seen as resurgent in the United States.

    In 2005, GM (GM, Fortune 500) vice-chairman Bob Lutz referred to Buick and Pontiac as "damaged brands" during a conference at the New York Auto Show. That set off speculation that one or both of these brands was doomed.

    With a focus on affordable luxury, Buick's hopes have been revived by models like the popular Enclave crossover SUV. Improvements in Buick Quality, which earned a top ranking in a recent J.D. Power dependability survey and a public acknowledgement by President Obama, have also helped Buick keep its place in the shrinking pantheon of GM names.

    Pontiac performance
    Pontiac's association with performance dates back to the late 1950s and early 1960s. Pontiac cars were designed with wider bodies for cosmetic reasons and the wheels were pushed out to match. This "wide-track" design became a selling point and was advertised as giving Pontiac cars a distinct cornering advantage over other cars.

    But the idea of Pontiac as a performance brand was solidified in 1964 with the creation of the Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO. That car quickly evolved into, simply, the GTO and is often credited with creating a new class of American car, the muscle car.

    Under Lutz, plans were formed to bring back some actual excitement to the Pontiac brand, which hadn't seen much since the Firebird - a flashier Pontiac version of the Chevrolet Camaro - ended production in 2002.

    One strategy floated for Pontiac was to sell only, or mostly, rear-wheel-drive cars. That would set it apart from other GM divisions, and most cars sold in America. Rear-wheel-drive is associated with performance brands like BMW.

    Unfortunately, the re-introduction of the Pontiac GTO name on a performance coupe imported from Australia didn't result in big sales. So far, the Pontiac G8, a rear-wheel-drive four-door sedan also imported from GM's Australian Holden division, hasn't been a sales success either, despite good reviews.

    Pontiac's most popular products remain the G6, a decent but unexciting midsize car available as a sedan, coupe or convertible, and the Vibe, a small wagon shared with Toyota, which sells it as the Matrix.

    Any plans to return Pontiac to the heavy-horsepower days of the '70s ended as gas prices rose and Congress prepared stricter fuel economy rules for the industry.

    Those pressures resulted in GM quietly introducing the Pontiac G3, which had been sold in Canada only. Once again, Pontiac was selling a rebadged Chevrolet product, this time the Korean-built Aveo subcompact car.

    Pontiac's current role in GM seems mostly to be to support GMC and Buick by providing a brand under which Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealers could sell non-luxury cars, filling out what then becomes a full-line showroom.

    The brand-channel strategy now makes it easier for GM to phase out the brand because it would cause less harm to dealers, independent business protected by strong state franchise laws. When GM phased out Oldsmobile in the early 2000's, it cost GM more than $1 billion to buy out the contracts of Oldsmobile dealers who were left with nothing to sell.

    This time, most Pontiac dealers will have other products to sell.
  2. Jarv

    Jarv Loud pipes saves lives. Zone Supporter

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    Wahoo ! Camero won the firebird - camero wars !
  3. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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  4. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    damn, that does look sweet

    but taut, athletic design? don't you think that's going a little overboard? I mean are you going to do hurdles with it? lol
  5. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe. :lmao2: They took the 1969 design and sleeked it out a bit but that is a nice car with a 426 V8 on the SS model
  6. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Unbelievable.

    Never in a million years did I think there would be a day that Pontiac didn't exist.

    [IMG]
  7. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    After Smokey and the Bandit most guys wanted that car. Pontiac never followed it up with an exciting car. Then again most cars lack excitement.
  8. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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  9. ChldsPlay

    ChldsPlay Well-Known Member

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    That's until you put it next to a Challenger, then not so much.

    And it in no way resembles a 69.
  10. Joe Realist

    Joe Realist No Kool-Aid here!

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    I have a 2001 Grand Prix GTP. Sorry to see you go Pontiac.
  11. ajk23az

    ajk23az Through Pain Comes Clarity

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    I had a 79' Trans Am and a 03' Grand Prix GT. Both really good cars.

    I'm sad to see it go also.
  12. the kid 05

    the kid 05 Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds

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    by hurdles you mean running over the import cars then yes ;)
  13. ChldsPlay

    ChldsPlay Well-Known Member

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    Stupid little cars and their lame spoilers and fart can exhausts.
  14. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    The interior of the new challenger is so Fisher-Price, I love the outside though.

    That's the problem with most domestic cars like this, the outside looks great but the inside is plain vanilla or worse, completely plastic.

    At least they tried on the Camaro interior.

    My first car was an '81 Camaro Z28 with a 406 small block and T-Tops, that was a lot of fun driving around the suburb I grew up in. :)
  15. ChldsPlay

    ChldsPlay Well-Known Member

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    I love the interior of my car, with the steering wheel possibly being the exception. It is simple but high quality. I had an '06 Mustang and it was cheap as hell, definitely fisher-price. The Camaro interior looks pretty bad IMO. I'll take the Challenger interior every time. Actually I think I'd take the Mustang interior over the Camaro interior as well, especially the 2010 Mustang.
  16. Rogah

    Rogah Well-Known Member

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    :lmao2: :bow:
  17. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Getting lost in all of this, is this debt swap to creditors and the union leaves the common stock shareholders with only 1% of the company. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.
  18. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    Eh, I don't know about all that. I'd take either the Camaro or the 2010 Mustang over the Challengers interior, but I like the Challengers exterior the most.

    I was about 5 seconds from buying a white Challenger as my first car, so I've always loved the look of the car. But the interior of the new version is just too generic. From the instrument panel to the stereo to the shift lever, just looks like it could be in any other Dodge car.
  19. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    Given the state of Pontiac the last what, 20 years or so, I say good riddance. Too much money to rehabilitate the lineup and the brand image, just cut it off and focus on the brands that don't have these problems (or don't have them as bad as Pontiac does).
  20. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    Yeaa....nobody cares about that. :laugh2:

    I'm just glad I don't have to see a new Solstice...ever.

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