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GM to pull the plug on Pontiac

Astranomical

Ecotec just kicked in yo
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GM to pull the plug on Pontiac car brand - Apr. 24, 2009

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

"There was a time, a long way back now, when you knew exactly what Pontiac stood for," said Kevin Smith, editorial director for the automotive Web site Edmunds.com.

The GM unit's identity as a performance brand 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 lack of focus as a brand may finally have brought its demise, said Smith. "That's just death in a marketplace where there's so much competition and so much quality," he said.

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.
Will be interesting to see what happens...I personally hope they don't pull the plug on Pontiac. I'm assuming it will mean the end of Holden's US Export program. :rip:
 

Reaper

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Whilst it is not exactly a denial, GM have responded to the claim. Reading between the lines it appears to be a denial without being categorically pinned down as such.

"Contrary to media speculation, General Motors has not announced any changes to its long-term viability plan or to the future status of any of its brands. GM is continuing to review its restructuring plan to go further and faster and best ensure its future success. Additional information will be released as any decisions are finalized said GM in a statement," the automaker said in the statement titled "Pontiac Statement Re: Media Speculation"
BREAKING: GM Issues Official Statement on Pontiac Death Rumors - Carscoop

 

greenfoam

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My wifes little brother wanted to buy a G8 in Mexico for his first new car, since I've been talking Holdens with him ever since he was a kid and he's obsessed with them. So he went into the local Pontiac dealer and they said UNABLE. They wont be comming to Mexico. So now he's going to be sensible and get a Honda:p
 

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My wifes little brother wanted to buy a G8 in Mexico for his first new car, since I've been talking Holdens with him ever since he was a kid and he's obsessed with them. So he went into the local Pontiac dealer and they said UNABLE. They wont be comming to Mexico. So now he's going to be sensible and get a Honda:p
??? Just take a trip over the boarder and drive one back???

Reaper
 

travs_g8gt

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Yeah, it is sad if it is true! I just bought my G8 GT and now it looks like the end for Pontiac. I hope GM can keep its importing deal with Holden even if it closes Pontiac, maybe rebrand the G8 as a chevy or Buick.

You guys build a great car, it has gotten great reviews here in all the car magazines. I get stopped all the time with people asking about it. I hope the VE's successor makes it over to our shores somehow!!!
 

kuzman89

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Almost wish our VE's looked like there pontiacs, love the front, looks abit BMWish but still love it.
 

greenfoam

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??? Just take a trip over the boarder and drive one back???

Reaper
Nah there's heavvvvy import taxes on cars, even on used ones they make it so expensive it's almost impossible. Not sure why they do that protect the local car dealers maybe?, Cars are sooo cheap in the US and expensive in Mexico. Same as everything really, I'm sure there's a long standing under the table US policy to keep the Mexicans poor for the US advatange that also comes into play with these things
 

mcrow5

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Almost wish our VE's looked like there pontiacs, love the front, looks abit BMWish but still love it.
i reckon the front of the pontiacs looks crap, so boring imo.

it'd be sad to see holden pull out of america, but im sure we can export somewhere else.
 
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