Jump to content
Forums Gone... but not forgotten!

Tired of these Ads? Register Today!

  • Welcome to Forever Pontiac

    Welcome to Forever Pontiac, full of great ideas for Pontiac performance, maintenance, or for peer-to-peer assistance from Professional and DIY mechanics. Also, compete in our Pontiac monthly competitions. Please register if you'd like to take part.

Sign in to follow this  
Ringo64

GM deleting Pontiac from its Lineup

Recommended Posts

GM deleting Pontiac from its Lineup

by Jim Morrissey (aka Ringo64)

With this being the first article written on here, I thought that the topic of Pontiac being killed off would be interesting place to start because this is how this website came to be founded. As well, this has not been brought up in a thread in the brief history of this forum. It has been brought up in spurts here and there but never a full blown topic. I feel I have a very typical Pontiac fan view but it varies when I'll bring in some different aspects, especially in governmental views.

As we all know Pontiac was "officially" gone on June 1st, 2010. That being one of the last days that dealers could still market and do their thing with Pontiac as an official brand and blah blah blah... but lets go back to the beginning. General Motors was facing tough times in the latter of 2008, going through a rather bunch of radical turns and twists. Fast forward a bit (we all know this sad story) to just before 2009. GM went to the United States Government, among others, for a little help. As was the trend about this time due to the hard times all companies were facing, which I personally can understand and am one of the people who don't really have a feel on this because I do believe GM would have been alright if they did not go for the "bailout" but would have to of made even more drastic measures to ensure their longevity, yet I did not want to find out (if you know what I mean). Well through this process the US government wanted GM to come up with a plan on how they would use the money to see if it was worth their while to invest in them.

General Motors came up with a plan that would involve selling or killing off Hummer, Saturn and/or Saab. At this point I could see these coming from a mile away and totally agreed with this plan. Hummer was a dead weight at this gas concision time and overall a ridiculous endeavor for GM to get involved with in the first place. Saturn was the only company I am sad to have to seen go out of these three, it was really showing incentive in the last few years and I came very close to buying a Saturn Ion myself. Saab really was its own beast and no matter how much I liked its potential I never really saw it as a part of GM very well. After GM formulated this plan a long with crunching numbers on how long it would take to repay the money lent, etc... They came back to the Government of the United States, in my opinion kind of in a cocky manner, which didn't play out too well. In the so called "meetings" GM failed to "woo" the government with their plan.

Here is where in my honest opinion the Government went wrong: I can fully understand that if you're investing in something you want a say in what is going on in the company and to make sure it will be a good investment and have good returns BUT this is the government and unless the plan provides anything but a negative return then I don't really see it necessary to stick your nose and tell people what isn't going to work in an auto industry.

With the "FAIL" of GM's old plan, the US government poked its head in where it didn't belong. The government's main focus seemed to be on fuel efficiency, which was and is a big deal at this point in time. With this I felt that seeing how Pontiac is the "Excitement" brand and brings power to the market, it wasn't really felt as a brand that the people would want (if gas prices were going to rise). Thus giving it the boot would also have to happen. This wasn't really said by the government but I feel it was a hinted and GM read them perfectly and announced on Monday, April 27, 2009 that it would also be killing off the great Pontiac.

pontiac-phase-out-2010.jpg

In wrapping this piece up, I'll try and give some reason on why my bias seems so. Apart from my love for Pontiac cars, I also have love for Pontiac as a car company. Buying the car, maintaining the car and anything I needed for it, Pontiac has always been on my side and I've been ever so happy to deal with them. If Pontiac wasn't phased out, I would definitely of bought Pontiacs for the rest of my life because they start me off on the right foot. Apart from being such a good company to me they have also been in third to Chevy and GMC in sales for the past two years and have cars with very good MPG.

In example, my 2006 G6 GT averages about 31mpg HW and 26 mpg City and still brings a lot of pickup to the table. The 2008 G8 GT gets 15mpg city and 24 mpg HW which is pretty damn good in my opinion for a V8, in comparison it beats trucks by a significant percentage yet Chevy AND GMC are still around. I could also quote in the Vibe, the G3, the Solstice but I figured this gets the point across.

In closing, GM could have definitely chose another route in cutting cost and benefiting themselves. IE cutting GMC, GMC has the same trucks and SUVs as Chevy just rebadged and not at a lower cost either, same cost as Chevy. Honestly that's ridiculous, Pontiac had some rebadged Chevys BUT sold them at a lower price (IE the Camaro was sold as the Trans Am and was less in price). GMC would have been the best road because you are not cutting your largest known brand (Chevrolet), cutting your luxury brand (Cadillac), cutting your best seller over seas (Buick) OR cutting your excitement brand (PONTIAC). All this makes sense to me, the consumer and as me the business man because if you're going to have separate brands have them do different things, not THE SAME and sell them for THE SAME.

Overall I feel with GM being around longer I hope it will remember Pontiac as we do and give us a feel of the good old days somewhere down the road with (if they continue the Camaro) a special Firebird WS6 edition every couple years or just something to help us that are struggling without our favorite brand.

Please feel free to comment on this! The objective behind this wasn't to take an impartial approach because well we're on a Pontiac forum :( . This are how this whole deal went to down to me and how it felt. There was a lot in here that I condensed to make it readable otherwise this would have been 5 pages so there is a lot of jumping but it is very readable and easy to follow if you know what I'm talking about :( . Hope you all like it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tired of these Ads? Register Today!

Very good Jim! I like it a lot. I do agree with you on the fact that GMC should have been the one cut instead of Pontiac because logically it would have made sense.

Though, I do also see GM looking at it as the perspective of Pontiac was a bigger line and more money was going towards Pontiac than GMC because there were more cars in the Pontiac line up than GMC.

Also, your comparison:

In example, my 2006 G6 GT averages about 31mpg HW and 26 mpg City and still brings a lot of pickup to the table. The 2008 G8 GT gets 15mpg city and 24 mpg HW which is pretty damn good in my opinion for a V8, in comparison it beats trucks by a significant percentage yet Chevy AND GMC are still around.

I'm not sure if getting rid of Chevy AND GMC would have been a good idea. Chevy is like an American icon just as much as Pontiac was.

Also, cars are going to have lower MPG than Trucks, that's just a common sense thing, but we can't just go out and get rid of all the trucks, how are you going to haul anything?? lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, cars are going to have lower MPG than Trucks, that's just a common sense thing, but we can't just go out and get rid of all the trucks, how are you going to haul anything?? lol

lol I wasn't really saying we should get rid of trucks or Chevy but just stating that if fuel efficiency was a big deal that it was why didn't they look into better technology in trucks? We could always advance our technology in car hauling like the El Camino and the UTE too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh ok. lol

MMmmmm Ute. Now there's something I think would have done well, especially with the power behind it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cant get rid of chevy, chevy IS GM

GMC is stupid all it is, is rebadged chevy trucks and SUVs, i dont see the need to make two exact same things

There will come a time when performance isnt a dirty word, and we are over this whole thinking green bullshit. When that time comes maybe Pontiac returns

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as we all want to see Pontiac return, sadly, I think what's done is done.

GMC should have been cut, but GM's higher ups just have it imbedded into their heads that trucks are 100% necessary because it's "American", and the majority of the buying public is too stupid to realize that their GMC Yukon is just an overpriced Chevy Tahoe, and that they're the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I understand all the sentiment that has been stated here, cutting GMC would have done little to reduce GM's costs - which was at the heart of the government bailout concerns. Yes, most full size GMC trucks are re-badged Chevy's. However, in the retail/wholesale market, GMC's cost more and hold their value a little more. GMCs are considered a little more luxious than a Chevy. So it means more profit for very little investment dollars since Chevy carries the bulk of the tooling/engineering costs. So the only added cost of building a GMC are those parts that differienate a Chevy from a GMC -like badging and front grills, etc.

My sources inside GM still maintain it was the government, and not GM, who demanded that Pontiac get killed. Essentially, GM had too much cost structure for the government's liking. So killing a whole brand seemed easy (to the government).

Don't expect anything with a Pontiac name on it anytime soon. Assuming for a moment that GM finally goes IPO and issues their own stock and the government is finally out of GM's shorts AND GM wants to bring back Pontiac. First the earliest GM can issue an IPO according to most reports is November and realisticly will be closer to 1st or 2nd quarter 2011. Once the government is out of the way and we, the American taxpayer, are paid off, then the decision has to be to bring back Pontiac.

So the next decision is what should Pontiac's basic customer focus should be. Should it come back as a niche performance brand? An upscale/re-badged Chevy (again)? Limited or special editions only? Also, all out performance will be frowned upon by the "infinitie wisdom" of Congress, the EPA, and other tree hugger organizations. So the cars have to be "green" too.

Once the market plan is established and car projects are green lighted from a funding perspective, it takes 2-4 years to design, test, and put a new car into production. The 2004 GTO was one of the quickest programs in GM history but it still took over 2 years to get the Monaro tooled up to meet US safety and emission standards, get through government testing, and of course make the subtle styling changes to make the Monaro a Pontiac.

Forthermore, there is lead time required to get a car into a plant for production. The plant that will build these Pontiacs will also need lead time to either add another line, or modify the existing line to accomodate the new Pontiac models.

So in all, this is 3-5 year process. Now add to the fact that there is nothing going on in any of the old Pontiac design studios at the Design Staff building in Warren, MI. This means that GM has no formal plans to bring back Pontiac anytime soon. So don't start that 3-5 year clock just yet.

In the words of an old Saturday Live skit - "Spanish General Francisco Franco is still dead! Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I understand all the sentiment that has been stated here, cutting GMC would have done little to reduce GM's costs - which was at the heart of the government bailout concerns. Yes, most full size GMC trucks are re-badged Chevy's. However, in the retail/wholesale market, GMC's cost more and hold their value a little more. GMCs are considered a little more luxious than a Chevy. So it means more profit for very little investment dollars since Chevy carries the bulk of the tooling/engineering costs. So the only added cost of building a GMC are those parts that differienate a Chevy from a GMC -like badging and front grills, etc.

My sources inside GM still maintain it was the government, and not GM, who demanded that Pontiac get killed. Essentially, GM had too much cost structure for the government's liking. So killing a whole brand seemed easy (to the government).

Don't expect anything with a Pontiac name on it anytime soon. Assuming for a moment that GM finally goes IPO and issues their own stock and the government is finally out of GM's shorts AND GM wants to bring back Pontiac. First the earliest GM can issue an IPO according to most reports is November and realisticly will be closer to 1st or 2nd quarter 2011. Once the government is out of the way and we, the American taxpayer, are paid off, then the decision has to be to bring back Pontiac.

So the next decision is what should Pontiac's basic customer focus should be. Should it come back as a niche performance brand? An upscale/re-badged Chevy (again)? Limited or special editions only? Also, all out performance will be frowned upon by the "infinitie wisdom" of Congress, the EPA, and other tree hugger organizations. So the cars have to be "green" too.

Once the market plan is established and car projects are green lighted from a funding perspective, it takes 2-4 years to design, test, and put a new car into production. The 2004 GTO was one of the quickest programs in GM history but it still took over 2 years to get the Monaro tooled up to meet US safety and emission standards, get through government testing, and of course make the subtle styling changes to make the Monaro a Pontiac.

Forthermore, there is lead time required to get a car into a plant for production. The plant that will build these Pontiacs will also need lead time to either add another line, or modify the existing line to accomodate the new Pontiac models.

So in all, this is 3-5 year process. Now add to the fact that there is nothing going on in any of the old Pontiac design studios at the Design Staff building in Warren, MI. This means that GM has no formal plans to bring back Pontiac anytime soon. So don't start that 3-5 year clock just yet.

In the words of an old Saturday Live skit - "Spanish General Francisco Franco is still dead! Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow."

The biggest reason Pontiac was killed off was those who buy and drive foreign crap which choked the demand down. I belong to a Pontiac club I helped start 20 years ago and many members who have an old GTO.. whatever, tell me stories of how they bought an acura or some other non American choice which is really why Pontiac is gone. Your choice of a toyota,removed my choice of a 2012 G8.

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can thank media sources for promoting the idea that imports are superior to domestics no matter what.

I've run into so many folks who automatically assume domestics are just crap, and are designed to fall apart after a certain age/mileage. Then they look at me funny when I say my Pontiac has +140,000 miles, and is almost ten years old, and it still looks and drives wonderfully, and cost of repairs and maintenance has been minimal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
' date='May 31 2011, 11:53 AM' post='54829']

You can thank media sources for promoting the idea that imports are superior to domestics no matter what.

I've run into so many folks who automatically assume domestics are just crap, and are designed to fall apart after a certain age/mileage. Then they look at me funny when I say my Pontiac has +140,000 miles, and is almost ten years old, and it still looks and drives wonderfully, and cost of repairs and maintenance has been minimal.

:blink: I absolutely can't stand the media...

Anywho, every time I show my car to someone who hasn't seen it before they go :blink: when I tell them it's over 5 years old. They always think it's brand new, unless they know Pontiac was killed off.

My thing on this is cars are built pretty much the same, it's not like we're using duct tape over here to hold stuff together instead of bolts and welds :lol: . It's how you take care of your car which makes it last.

Then finally when some import companies are having issues with their "quality" the media looks the other way and still praise them but heaven forbid the big 3 have an issue. :lol: I'm gonna stop talking about how much I hate the media... :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest reason Pontiac was killed off was those who buy and drive foreign crap which choked the demand down. I belong to a Pontiac club I helped start 20 years ago and many members who have an old GTO.. whatever, tell me stories of how they bought an acura or some other non American choice which is really why Pontiac is gone. Your choice of a toyota,removed my choice of a 2012 G8.

.

I couldn't agree more. While the Japaneese and other Asian manufacturers did their homework in the 80s and 90s to significantly improve quality (anyone remember Dr. Deming?), the fact that it was 'media sport' to villify the Detroit 3 on their quality issues (which did exist - no doubt about it) and blassey styling. The idea of 'Buying American' never got out of the midwest or why that is important.

We have lost 2 or more generations to import manufacturers and their supposed superiority. Ask Toyota how it feels to be #1 these days. I would wager that the statistically differences in quality between the foreign and domestic automaker is or is at least approaching 'statiscally insignificant'. In other words, a couple of defects per 1000 cars (or thousandth of a percentage point) either way is not going to change dramatically effect the car's quality. Clearly domestics have had some catching up to do but I would venture to say that this gap is now statistically small and only counts for J D Power bragging rights year over year. In fact, I would say this gap has been small for years, the publilc is just now figuring it out even though the Detroit 3 having been trying to say that for years.

As for the Pontiac owners that drive Acuras, I would be curious to know why they purchased one. Perceived quality again? Price? Styling? Performance? I always consider an Acura, Infiniti, or a Lexus as an excuse to buy an expensive rice rocket in luxury clothing.

I am not ashamed to admit I am an 'Buy American made' RWD car bigot. I am not interested in FWD cars even though my wife drives an Aztek (its her car, she loves it, she drives what she wants - end of story). I am aging baby boomer who thinks rear wheels should power a vehicle. Ever time I see someone refer to a 'world class car' like a Bentley, BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, or a Mercedes, it is always a RWD car they are talking about. I never hear Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti refered to as 'world class' in the same sentence.

So going 'green' seems to be the anti-thesis of 'performance' in the press these days. Must make the tree huggers very happy. So high mileage, small, jelly bean styled cars are the wave of the future unless Americans tell the car companies (via their wallets) that they want performance and/or luxury RWD cars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

Tired of these Ads? Purchase Enhanced Membership today to remove them!
×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.