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Northstar

Pontiac's back on the right track

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Pontiac still isn't where I'd like it to be in terms of product offerings, but after I took a step back and thought about where they are rather than where I think they should be, I realized they've really come a long ways, even in the last 2-3 years. In MY 2004, Pontiac had the following vehicles: Aztek, Bonneville, GTO, Grand Am, Grand Prix, Montana, Sunfire, and Vibe. Of those models the only ones to offer any sort of performance version were the Bonneville GXP (which was damn near $40k), GTO, and Grand Prix GTP. In addition, the Aztek, Bonneville, Grand Am, Montana, and Sunfire were all out dated and really weren't competitive vehicles. If you look at Pontiac's lineup for MY 2006, they have the following vehicles: G6, Grand Prix, GTO, Montana SV6, Solstice, Torrent, and Vibe. They still have some fat to cut in the SV6 and maybe Torrent, but the lineup is much improved. Here's a look at all the bright spots for '06: G6 GTP coupe/sedan: Even though the G6 GTP isn't at the top of it's class (in terms of performance), it still offers 240HP and a 6-speed manual (on the coupe), along with 18 inch wheels, premium 8-speaker sound system, Stabilitrack, and some other pretty nice standard features for a now Red-Tag-price of $21,760.70. Add leather (which includes heated seats), sunroof, and side impact air bags (three pretty common options, I would think) and you're still under $24k at $23,985.51. That's quite an improvement over the outgoing Grand Am GT with 175hp that would MSRP at over $25k on some occasions. GP GXP: It offers 303HP, 18 inch wheels, HUD, Stabilitrack, and a performance-tuned suspension for $26,239.83 with Red Tag pricing. Add some common options like leather, XM, upgraded radio, and side curtain air bags (sunroof was part of a $3200 package), and you're under $28k at a Red Tag price of $27,815.69. Where else can you get the performance that the GP GXP offers for under $28k and still be able to haul a family around? GM used to want nearly $40k for the Bonneville GXP which offered a lot less performance. GTO and Solstice: I think they speak for themselves. Maybe the GTO could use more aggressive looks, but no one can argue that it's a performance bargain, and maybe the Solstice could use more power, but it's coming next year. The Montana SV6 just needs to go, and the Torrent needs the 3.9L standard to make it acceptable. The Vibe is okay because it sells pretty well. What I would like to see Pontiac do is move the Grand Prix to Sigma Lite, offer a performance version of the Vibe (move it to Delta if you can't make a performance version based on the Toyota platform), restyle the GTO, drop the Montana, and drop the Torrent at the end of its lifecycle. There's still work to be done, but Pontiac has come a long way in just two model years.
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The future of the Grand Prix and GTO is the big question. Some have even posted doubts about the Vibe's future. Only the Solstice and G6 seem solid for now. Ted's chart shows the Torrent going to GMC when the Equinox is redesigned around 2009.
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I've posted the idea a couple times that Holden and Pontiac split the bill for the "Beta" chassis that the concept Torana was on. Make the top engine the TT3.6, make the Ecotec a base, put optional AWD, standard RWD, and you'd have a good Firebird. That way there's no confusing it with the Camaro, or the GTO. If you want, you could even move the Vibe to the chassis, for something a bit sportier than Delta.
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I agree, Pontiac is back on track, with attractive, non-tacky vehicles. Next up: second gen modern GTO and full-size sedan. And don't forget the G6 convertible and GXP and Solstice GXP and hardtop. Torrent can stay if it gets more power, imo. SV6 can go NOW and Vibe needs to go on Delta. Of course I'd still love to see a Kappa four seater slot in under G6 at the entry-level.
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I agree, Pontiac is back on track, with attractive, non-tacky vehicles.

I have no idea why I'm quoting this. :wacko:
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Torrent isn't going anywhere, it is selling, and crossovers are a hot segment. But, the Firebird name is gone for good.
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the Vibe could still be a useful car. Simply give it some more power, a little more sporty appearance, and you got competition for mazda3
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I like your optimism and thoughtful recognition of the truth, northstar. Pontiac has upgraded their machinery in useful ways, it hasn't been eintirely noticed yet. there is more work to do yet, though.
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