Edmunds: GM To Hit the Kill Switch on PontiacBy Bill Visnic April 24, 2009
Pressured on all fronts to right-size its business in order to stave off a bankruptcy that's likely to happen anyway, General Motors Corp. next week is likely to announce the latest casualty in its crash-dive restructuring: its lost-in-yesteryear Pontiac division.
Edmunds.com's Inside Line , like AutoObserver a part of the Edmunds.com organization, reported yesterday that a source at GM indicated the company is likely to announce on Monday that it will fold Pontiac, a name that has been part of the GM empire since 1926.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg today also reported GM will shelve Pontiac, which achieved its true prominence in the 1960s when it introduced the GTO in 1964, a car widely credited with beginning one of Detroit's most beloved marketing and engineering phases -- its muscle-car era.
In earlier discussions of its restructuring, GM spoke stridently of retaining Pontiac as a satellite brand offering a few specialty models. Although sales have not been encouraging in the current depressed U.S. market, Pontiac's Australia-sourced G8 sport sedan has enjoyed a certain amount of critical acclaim for its blend of performance and affordability, and the Solstice two-seater is eye-catching as either a roadster or a coupe, despite compromised packaging and utility.
But Pontiac's main problem has been an outgrowth from the root GM problem: too many badge-engineered products that over the years drifted erratically from the brand's successful performance-car heritage. Mainstream sedans such as the current G6 and the Vibe hatchback have no real reason for wearing Pontiac garb, much less crossover vehicles (Torrent) economy cars (the stillborn G3) and now-discontinued minivans.
It appears, however, GM has made a case for keeping its GMC truck division, which typically is found paired with Pontiac in many markets. The company had proposed consolidating GMC and Buick into one showroom, along with Pontiac. Now with the removal of Pontiac from the equation, sources are indicating GM is making the case to federal overseers to retain GMC, which reputedly is a profitable unit.
1. Pontiac Solstice wowed when introduced, but the bloom faded when its performance packaging deficiences were understood.
2. Pontiac said last year it would import the G8-based sport truck, a new-age El Camino revival, but soon shelved the idea.