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The Future of Pontiac - Autoweek

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Next-Gen Pontiac Performance
Brand wants to add muscle but wrestles with CAFE standards
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20XX Pontiac G6 Sketch by Zulehan
Link to Original Article @ AutoWeek | Published 07/30/07, 12:08 pm et


AT A GLANCE:
FUTURE PRODUCT PLANS
2008
G8 debuts

2009
Solstice coupe debuts

2010
Possible G5 redesign

2011
Solstice restyled, re-engineered

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General Motors wants to transform Pontiac into its "affordable performance" brand with a new lineup of rear-wheel-drive cars.

But the CAFE debate has thrown those plans into turmoil.

G5: General Motors might replace Pontiac's entry-level car with a redesigned model, possibly as early as the 2010 model year. Rear drive has been mentioned for the next G5, as Pontiac moves away from front-drive cars.

The bottom line: The current G5 may remain in Pontiac's lineup one or two years longer than originally planned.

G6: "What do we do now?" also might be the question for the next-generation G6.

The first plan was to restyle and re-engineer the G6 on GM's new Epsilon 2 front-wheel-drive vehicle architecture, debuting for the 2010 model year. But that plan was canceled in the past year when GM executives decided that the brand's cars should all be rwd to further distinguish Pontiacs from Chevrolets. The Pontiac Solstice is rwd, as is the Pontiac G8 sedan that goes on sale in January.

So the next-generation G6 was shifted to GM's new global rwd vehicle architecture, called Alpha. The redesigned G6 had been slated for the 2012 model year with assembly in the Oshawa, Ontario, plant. The rwd G6 is larger and heavier than the current fwd model.

But with the push in Congress to dramatically boost CAFE standards, the rwd G6 program was put on hold. Later, it was put back on track pending the resolution of the CAFE debate by Congress and the Bush administration. It appears to be on hold again.

Grand Prix: GM will discontinue the Grand Prix at the end of the 2007 model year. Expect most of the last Grand Prix models to be sold to daily rental fleets.

G8: The 2008 Pontiac G8 will be the first car sold in the United States developed on GM's global rwd vehicle architecture. The car is essentially a Pontiac version of the redesigned Holden Commodore, which was developed by GM's Australian subsidiary. The G8 will be assembled in Australia; U.S. sales begin in January.

The G8 shares much of its sheet metal with the Commodore. Unique to the G8 are the hood, front fascia, grille and headlights. The fascia and bumpers had to be engineered to meet U.S. specifications.

The base G8 will have a 261-hp, 3.6-liter V-6; the GT model will have a 362-hp, 6.0-liter V-8.

The G8 is intended to be Pontiac's flagship sedan, eventually replacing the Grand Prix. But it will be one step up in terms of price, starting at around $25,000.

GTO: Some within GM want to add a sporty, high-performance coupe to the Pontiac range, a spiritual successor to the GTO and Firebird. There is no time frame for such a car, and at this point, neither the GTO nor Firebird name likely would be used.

Solstice: A fastback coupe is scheduled to be added for the 2009 model year. Higher-horsepower engines are planned, but a V-6 is not. GM likely will re-engineer and reskin or restyle the Solstice for the 2011 model year.

Torrent: The Torrent crossover ends production in January 2010, leaving Pontiac with a car-only product line. The Torrent's replacement shifts to GMC, with production set to start in the first quarter of 2010 as a 2011 model.
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The Solstice Targa starts production in 2009. The Torrent isnt quite dead....just moving to GMC.

Edited by Chris_Doane
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I'd much rather see a proper coupe than a targa. I've loved the coupe since the concept debuted.

Oh well.

Maybe the next gen.

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Old news, at least for me! :P

I wonder why :smilewide:

That RWD G5 idea is interesting. I'd like to see a RWD range to take care of what today are the G5 and G6. Sorta like having a NG RWD G6 that is between present day G5 and G6 sizewise and then have a larger RWD car on Zeta, the G8. Add multiple body styles to each range and you'd have a nice lineup of RWD cars :AH-HA_wink:

Edited by ZL-1
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I'd much rather see a proper coupe than a targa. I've loved the coupe since the concept debuted.

Oh well.

Maybe the next gen.

+1. There is no comparison for a sports handling coupe.

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The remake of GM's performance brand will also include the demise of the Torrent, while the G5 will be replaced with the RWD Alpha platform by 2010 – unless CAFE standards put those plans on hold.

Why does RWD imply poor gas mileage? I can understand if mileage slightly decreases... but not so much as to let "CAFE standards put those plans on hold."

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Why does RWD imply poor gas mileage? I can understand if mileage slightly decreases... but not so much as to let "CAFE standards put those plans on hold."

Because the media is still stuck in the good old days of the seventies, when RWD = Less economy. Actually, the economy gap between the two has been almost diminished, when you see similarly powered and same weight FWD and RWD cars.

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A targa presents a problem that a full coupe doesn't: where to store the top while traveling, especially if you're on a summer weekend jaunt and need load space for your bags. I'd rather have a full hatch coupe as close to the original concept as possible. Still, I'm glad GM is investing in continuous development of the Kappa platform. Can't wait to see the production version.

Maybe they'll make a Special Edition targa in black with gold snowflake wheels, tan leather seats, and a screaming chicken hood decal. Kidding, but it could be sideways cool. :AH-HA_wink:

Edited by ocnblu
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So basically the G6 is almost doing the same thing as the new Malibu. Moving up in size and sucking up the sales from the Grand Prix move. Except that the G6 is going RWD.

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That looks skimpy....

I hope the current G6 doesn't have to carry Pontiac on it's shoulders until 2012 without an MCE because if it does the division is toast.

The most recent articles I've seen say that the G6 will be sold along side the Alpha Pontiac, much like the rumors of both an Alpha based Saturn as well as the Aura that we heard.

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For Pontiac to succeed they have to become a rear drive version or Mazda/Nissan/Acura. $22-35,000 price range, offering more performance and aluminum trim, sporty style interiors. They can do it with 3 basic models and varients also, and Pontiac should be 0% fleet sale, I know that will be hard for them since the Grand Prix is 78% rental sales and the G6 is about 30%, but they have to give that up. All Pontiacs should be DOHC (aside from the V8 in the G8) and 6-speed transmissions.

Solstice coupe/convertible is doing well, they got that right, just needs updated as years go by.

G5/G6 whatever they call it should be sedan and coupe (with a backseat) and sized close to the 3-series and A4. I suppose they could do a convertible of this too, since the other brands don't have a 4 seat convertible aside from Saab. The G5/G6 should price around $23-30,000 (a lil more if there is a convertible), it will overlap the solstice, but it is a different kind of car Base engine should be a 4-cylinder + hybrid or the the 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder. They can't put rental grade 4 cylinders in Pontiacs anymore, they have to offer something special. I'd like to see a 2.8L DI V6 with and without turbo, it could offer good mileage and power and be used in the base Cadillac BTS as well as the GXP Pontiac sedan.

G8 we'll see how it is, personally I think it is rather big, and the GTO was a bust. I fear that could happen again due to the blandness of Holden styling not selling here, and the G8 sucking gas and for $35,000 there are smaller, faster, sportier cars that get 4 mpg more. The G8 really only competes with the Charger RT and 300C, so it has that going for it, very few rear drive sedans of it's size for that price.

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G5 is going to go RWD? And fight what? Right now I see it going against the Scion Tc and such. I guess it could be the REALLY poor man's BMW 1. It needs to die and Buick should get a small RWD car. They need it. Pontiac Doesn't.

Pontiac has to be the poor man's BMW, not this racy image with subprime product. And that includes good RWD cars.

G8 is a good 5 series competitor.

G6 needs to be as good as a 3er.

NG GTO needs to be a good value priced 6er.

Solstice is already doing a good job in it's niche.

You see where I'm going? They just don't need a value 7er. Leave that for Buick's Park Avenue, if it ever comes.

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there are smaller, faster, sportier cars that get 4 mpg more.

Some people don't want a subcompact car at a fullsize price and do not want to sacrifice spaciousness and cargo room.

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GM needs to clear out overlap, so the G6 should die because the Aura and Malibu are better.

I'd give one last try with Pontiac and give them a small rear drive sedan/coupe, sales volumes will drop, but profit could rise, and if that little rear drive car is great, they'll sell 150,000 a year.

GM complains about CAFE and other standards, well they need to get creative with how to make horsepower. They need to forget about 3.5-3.9 liter pushrod V6s that make 210 hp, a Civic Si makes 200 hp from a 2 liter engine. The Solstice GXP motor shows they know how to do it, Pontiac needs to focus on smaller cars, fun to drive and high tech DOHC engines with variable valve timing, direct injection, etc. So many young people like the import tuner style cars, and actually prefer a high revving 4 cylinder over a V6. They need to go high tech, that should get the younger people in the door.

Plus with the Camaro and other cars, GM has a ton of V6 and even V8 midsize - near large cars. I'd love to see Pontiac make smaller cars than the Malibu/Aura and with 2.0 turbos making 260 hp and make them totally different from the rest of the GM cars.

If that doesn't work within 10 years, the brand probably should die.

Edited by smk4565
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Some people don't want a subcompact car at a fullsize price and do not want to sacrifice spaciousness and cargo room.

Not a subcompact, the Alpha sedan (whatever they call it) should be about 182-183 inches long. That is about 5 less than the G6 is now, but with a rear drive platform and less front and rear overhang the interior space should be the same. The 3-series is only 180 inches long, yet is offers only 1 inch less legroom than the CTS.

They have the G8 for rear drive, full size fans. And GM has the Malibu and Aura in the midsize range. GM currently has nothing semi small and nice, not 1 car (I am not counting the Vette and XLR). But they have about 10 sedans over 190 inches in length. Average car price is $28,000 now, A CamCord is about 20-29,000. I think a G5 priced 23-29,000 would still be an average priced car. If the base car is a 2.0 turbo, with 260 hp and 22/32 mpg, with 17 inch rims that is a pretty awesome deal. They have to give up on make a ho-hum 4-banger, with a 4speed auto, plastic wheel covers, all plastic interior like the base G6 is now.

Lots of smaller sized cars sell well, the 3-series, Jetta, Mazda 3, are examples. If Pontiac makes a great looking sporty car it will be a hit. If they rehash another midsize rental looking sedan they will keep going downhill.

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I have a question concerning parts replacement for the G8 will they have to shipped from Australia if so that would bring up some bad situations waiting on parts.

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