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UPDATED Put Pontiac Out Of Its Misery?

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Phase Out Pontiac to save Buick and GM:

Can Pontiac adjust? Or more importantly, can the public adjust to the new image of Pontiac? Pontiac has called itself the brand that drives excitement, but truthfully, it lacks any such excitement. I mean:the Grand Prix as a performance car? Come On! It is a masked vehicle most youths would never want, the stodgy, yet elegant in my opinion, Buick LaCrosse. These days the brand uses hyperbole to sell,and not in a limited amount, I mean calling a V6 a powerful engine is normal, but saying sleek styling, performance bred engines, is over the top!

The main reason Pontiacs arent selling is the fact that they are no longer performance cars, the current Pontiac lineup has nothing unique about it. Couldnt you buy a Chevrolet version of the Grand Prix or Grand Am? Even the popular Solstice has a rebadge, the Saturn Sky, and some say it will be the car that saves the division, but they said that about the Olds. Aurora, Olds is in the retirement home. Also, you cant say that Pontiac is upscale, they still have a few shreads of performance left in them, including the bare, bland interiors of the muscle cars, and the front ends that have defined Pontiac since the days of the 59 Bonneville. But whats the point? The GTO looks like a normal Pontiac sedan from afar, but upon inspection, it is a differnent vehicle!

The styling is what makes it look like a run of the mill Pontiac, if it had been styled in a retro fashion, ala.the Ford Thunderbird, it would have appealed to buyers, but GM couldnt give some life to the famed muscle car! The G6 looks very much like a Cobalt with a changed front fascia and rear, which did justice for the Firebird, but the Firebird had a differnent engine! Cant these engineers and bean counters learn that rebadges 80s style never work? Platform sharings goes back to the 30s, when Ford and GM discovered the economics of using one platform, with modifications for cars. The Pontiac Cheiftain and Chevrolet Bel Air were similar in body and platform, but had differnent engines and other details that would make one compelled to buy a Pontiac over another GM marque! If GM could relive those days in certain practices, GM could actually rival the weakening Toyota and the stronger Korean automakers. Some say killing Pontiac would close assembly plants and dealers, why not have these branches become dealers for other brands, and produce other cars, as in more than just Cobalts and G6s? I say, kill Pontiac.

Pontiac was created to be below the now defunct Oakland brand, but above Chevy. When Pontiac began outselling Oakland, Oakland was phased out and Pontiac replaced Oakland. But nowadays, whats the differnence between a Chevrolet and A Pontiac? The front fascia, and the rear spoiler! Is it worth keeping a division that only has that going for it? Also, Pontiacs semi, well, lets face it, little or no sucess is coming at the expense in marketing dollars and repairs of a more deserving brand:Buick. It needs an image change because its customer base of elders is eroding, or should we say, following the brand because of the mindset, its old, its damaged, just lets let it die.

Buick, along with the strong Cadillac division, is on the other hand the car for growing China! The two brands are the most popular in China and Asia, and you dont see Pontiac breaking the sales charts in China, one of the biggest auto markets in the world. So whats the point of having a brand thats sucessful on none of GMs major sales regions? All Buick Needs is a rehab in North America, and it will join the likes of Chevrolet and Cadillac in GMs favorites list.

If Pontiac goes, some argue, GM will have lost an important part of itself. But honestly,in an abstract way, its been phased out. Yes, I said it has been phased out, why? One, it no longer is associated with performance in this generation, nor is Buick associated with luxury in the U.S. and Canada. Two, it is no longer unique, or somehow radically differnent. But the real depressing thing is that after the last true performance car, the Firebird, left what remained was a shell of Pontiac, a dying brand, almost saying OH! Just kill me! Which new Pontiac has associations exclusively with the brand. The Aztek? Nope, its a bad association. The Grand Prix? Nope, just a Pontiac badged Monte Carlo. So, to put it simply:None.

What to do with the platforms Pontiac uses? Turn the G6 into the Buick O4X, an edgy Buick with Acura performance and luxury. The Solstice could become the Buick Bengal, it would make the perfect American Porsche when made into a luxurious ragtop and coupe! The Torrent could have its frame used for the Hummer H4, and the vibe could become a Chevy.

Also, if Buick is the sucessor to Pontiac, turn the Firebird or GTO, into a Camaro based Buick Regal GNX.

If it isnt Pontiac who gets the Axe,who will? GMC cant because it is sucessful as the Buick of trucks, above Chevrolet, but below Cadillac. Hummer? Not yet, but honestly, it only makes up 1% of GMs revenue. Same with Saab, so maybye it should be 2 brands who take the walk to the retirement home. Of Course, Saab could be sold to Chrysler, or even BMW, maybye reborn as an independent company. But like other GM joint ventures, it could use GM platforms under license, while GM uses the Eco Tech engines, or it could buy the Eco Tech engine from Saab after the sale.

Bottom Line:Pontiac has to go. Good bye old friend. :(

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I wouldn't even dare respond to this one!

[ Runs into underground fallout bunker and hides]

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I am in an armoured Humvee, with heat seeking missiles(for the flames :P ), and a gattling gun.

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I didn't realize that WWIV had already broken out on another thread. Now I am typing this from my bunker and the time release doesn't go off for another 3 months!

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Do some spellchecking and re-read your arguments. Also, when you're arguing to dissolve an entire brand, which will undoubtedly cost thousands of people their jobs, send dealers into a $h!-slinging frenzy, and cost GM billions of dollars in the apex of the greatest company-wide renaissance in corporate american history, you may wish to consider future product plans and a few other minor things as well.

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GMC, thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts down. There's no easy solution to this problem.

I used to think that ridding Pontiac was a good idea too. But the only result I foresee is lost sales and opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, Pontiac has never been a straight-out, balls-to-the-wall performance nameplate. Sure, it's had the Trans Am and a number of very powerful offerings in the 1960s. But for every fuel injected 1957 Bonneville sold many lesser Star Chiefs were delivered. Same with GTOs and Tempests, Firebirds and Sunbirds, etc. The nice but not total-performance G6 vies with the equally tepid Grand Prix for sales dominance at Pontiac, not the outgoing GTO. In modern history, Pontiac has been a middle of the road brand with a sprinkle of sport or performance.

Yes, Pontiac and Buick and Chevrolet share a lot of common mechanicals. What still distinguishes them, though, is styling. Just ask yourself, how would you feel pulling up to a family barbecue in a G6 versus a Malibu? Do you think people would look at you differently? Don't discount the power of vanity. Styling plays a HUGE role here, and unique styling is still something that is within the economics bounds for high-volume platforms like Epsilon and Zeta.

So, Pontiac will pull in buyers simply on styling. What else? One word: distribution. The fact that any given Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealer occupies several acres of dirt on "Auto Row" will draw buyers in. And dealers advertise too. Most importantly, Pontiac/Buick/GMC salespeople need to feed their families. Personal selling is very important in this business and GM has more feet on the street than anyone.

So, Pontiac has an excellent dealer channel, sporty styling, good value and in some cases outstanding performance. Could Chevrolet do all this? Sure. But the Pontiac brand name and dealers are already in place. To give that up would only forfeit sales.

The only reason I see for axing Pontiac or any other brand is if GM cannot make profits with that brand.

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It's been said over and over by the people in the know. It will cost more to kill the brand then to consolidate Buick,Pontiac,and GMC into one lineup.

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Yes, Pontiac and Buick and Chevrolet share a lot of common mechanicals.  What still distinguishes them, though, is styling.  Just ask yourself, how would you feel pulling up to a family barbecue in a G6 versus a Malibu?  Do you think people would look at you differently?  Don't discount the power of vanity.  Styling plays a HUGE role here, and unique styling is still something that is within the economics bounds for high-volume platforms like Epsilon and Zeta.

184422[/snapback]

Very well said and quoted for truth. Or even better, would you buy a bloated Camry or Accord, than a G6 or Mazda 6? Edited by ToniCipriani

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GMC, thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts down.  There's no easy solution to this problem.

I used to think that ridding Pontiac was a good idea too.  But the only result I foresee is lost sales and opportunities.  Contrary to popular belief, Pontiac has never been a straight-out, balls-to-the-wall performance nameplate.  Sure, it's had the Trans Am and a number of very powerful offerings in the 1960s.  But for every fuel injected 1957 Bonneville sold many lesser Star Chiefs were delivered.  Same with GTOs and Tempests, Firebirds and Sunbirds, etc.  The nice but not total-performance G6 vies with the equally tepid Grand Prix for sales dominance at Pontiac, not the outgoing GTO.  In modern history, Pontiac has been a middle of the road brand with a sprinkle of sport or performance.

Yes, Pontiac and Buick and Chevrolet share a lot of common mechanicals.  What still distinguishes them, though, is styling.  Just ask yourself, how would you feel pulling up to a family barbecue in a G6 versus a Malibu?  Do you think people would look at you differently?  Don't discount the power of vanity.  Styling plays a HUGE role here, and unique styling is still something that is within the economics bounds for high-volume platforms like Epsilon and Zeta.

So, Pontiac will pull in buyers simply on styling.  ....

The only reason I see for axing Pontiac or any other brand is if GM cannot make profits with that brand.

184422[/snapback]

Yes, someone who knows the real car biz.

No, the old GTO's did not have 'unique sheetmetal' as some expected with the 2004-06. Only the 1968-72 Goats had different front faces than the LeMans/Tempest/T-37. [Yes they used different names on the same body/paltfrom back then]

No, Pontiac was not 'born a performance cars only division'. Some young kids think Pontiac's first car was the 64 GTO!!

No, Pontiac as a name brand should NOT be phased out. Too much equity, even if they call products "the GMC Pontiac", the name still works. If anything the brand was in worse shape in 1953, and 1981.

Edited by Chicagoland

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