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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Buick is profitable; Pontiac was not SUSAN DOCHERTY, VICE PRESIDENT, U.S. SALES, GENERAL MOTORS CO., DETROIT

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"Buick is profitable; Pontiac was not"
SUSAN DOCHERTY, VICE PRESIDENT, U.S. SALES, GENERAL MOTORS CO., DETROIT

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OCTOBER 26, 2009 - 12:01 AM ET

To the Editor:

Regarding Robert E. Cherney's Oct. 19 letter, "Why kill Pontiac? Why keep Buick?": I'd like to assure your readers that phasing out Pontiac was one of the most difficult decisions of my career but also one of the most necessary.

Pontiac had been unprofitable for several years. A team, many of whom were passionate about the brand, tried in vain to save Pontiac and make it profitable -- but none of the scenarios proved viable.

We kept Buick in the General Motors family because it is highly profitable and will grow with new models for the next few years, giving Buick an offering in several sedan and crossover segments.

The Enclave is already a market success, with 50 percent of the buyers brand new to Buick. The 2010 LaCrosse is performing well, attracting younger buyers and those who are trading in imports like Lexus and Acura. And the 2011 Regal, a mid-sized sport sedan, arrives in U.S. dealerships in the spring. The Regal is already a hot seller in China and is based on the highly successful Opel Insignia, the 2009 European Car of the Year. A little further down the road, there will be a compact sedan and a small crossover joining the family.

We feel confident that we chose to save the right brand and that Buick has a bright future ahead of it.
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While I believe Buick is profitable and Pontiac was not... the part where I have to raise the :bs: is the "we tried in vain to save Pontiac".

G3? G5? no refresh of the G6? Torrent? Those were just lazy lazy lazy....

I'm not Pontiac lover... but geeze at least be intellectually honest.

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Maybe because Buick was still selling a W-body vehicle, which was paid for 20 years ago? Still selling cars with a 3.8L? Buick had nothing that wasn't shared with another division, and paid for mostly by the other division. Pontiac had some unique cars, like the GTO, G8, Solstice, and even the Vibe, which aren't shared with any other GM brand in the US, except the Sky. Buick had an Epsilon, a W-body, and 1 of the 4 Lambda clones. I bet Pontiac would have still been making money too if their only cars were a W-body Grand Prix, and Eplison G6, and a Lambda clone too, but that wouldn't make it a BETTER brand. GM always makes decisions based on right now, and not 2 or 3 years from now or longer. Then the market shifts and GM is always caught with it's pants down.

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And I bet the only reason Buick is profitable, is because of Lambda. I wonder if Chevy trucks were split from Chevy cars, if Chevy cars would even be profitable in the past few years.

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And I bet the only reason Buick is profitable, is because of Lambda. I wonder if Chevy trucks were split from Chevy cars, if Chevy cars would even be profitable in the past few years.

Cobalt and HHR have always sold reasonably well. Aveo was top selling in it's class there for a little while. Malibu (the current one) has been exceeding expectations, and even Impala retail sales are up..... so I'm betting Chevy cars would be profitable.

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And of course GM is going to defend it's decision. The brands numbers could be manipulated any number of ways. How has Buick been profitable, even when GM was losing billions? Does that mean Chevy or GMC was losing billions, while Buick was making money? I doubt all those losses came from Saturn, Hummer, and Pontiac. Just like everyone says of Wagoner, that their research was done to justify their decisions, while ignoring what doesn't support it, I see this as being the same.

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Cobalt and HHR have always sold reasonably well. Aveo was top selling in it's class there for a little while. Malibu (the current one) has been exceeding expectations, and even Impala retail sales are up..... so I'm betting Chevy cars would be profitable.

But they sell well at what price? GM wasn't able to make money on any small cars, so I doubt GM was making on Chevys small cars. The only ones that helped were probably the Malibu, because they sell for a decent price, and the Impala, because even though they are discounted a lot, they are so outdated that everything was paid for so long ago.

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We have :deadhorse: many times before.

Pontiac really only sold FLEET vehicles.

Same goes for the rest of GM. Pontiac still has a stronger brand image than Buick. The only difference is that Buick still has some loyal buyers that haven't died off yet, that will buy any crap with a Buick emblem on it. And those buyers have money. But what happens when those buyers are gone?

And if you want to dispute that, then why else would a 3.8L 195hp Buick sell? The better car would have been a G8, with the 3.6L. Buicks buyers will die off. Pontiac would have still been bringing in buyers. Remember, perception lags behind reality. Pontiac was building up better perception with the Solstice, GTO, and G8, just to be killed before anything good could come of it.

Edited by CaddyXLR-V
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I want to see numbers. We're not afraid of numbers. Heavy numbers will be fine... I want to know EXACTLY where every cent of Pontiac losses were. GM is owned by the government... do I need to file a "Right to know" request?

I think they can only prop up Buick by adding the China profits... I also feel that Pontiac's losses due to small car sales translates into another awful secret... Chevrolet is not profitable.

Pontiac was turning the corner and was winning converts. Pontiac had the youthful eye, compared with Chevy and Buick. GM has taken its future around back and shot it in the head. Without Pontiac helping to bring in new customers to BPG, BG will be gone in ten years.

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Maybe because Buick was still selling a W-body vehicle, which was paid for 20 years ago? Still selling cars with a 3.8L? Buick had nothing that wasn't shared with another division, and paid for mostly by the other division. Pontiac had some unique cars, like the GTO, G8, Solstice, and even the Vibe, which aren't shared with any other GM brand in the US, except the Sky. Buick had an Epsilon, a W-body, and 1 of the 4 Lambda clones. I bet Pontiac would have still been making money too if their only cars were a W-body Grand Prix, and Eplison G6, and a Lambda clone too, but that wouldn't make it a BETTER brand. GM always makes decisions based on right now, and not 2 or 3 years from now or longer. Then the market shifts and GM is always caught with it's pants down.

Very good points, the same argument was made for Buick in 2000 when they killed Oldsmobile. They claimed Buick was profitable then as well, and perhaps it was because of W-Body, 3800, 4-speed, platform sharing, etc. Oldsmobile on the other hand was using more expensive DOHC engines, newer body styles, Bose stereos, more technology, etc. Now 8 years later, GM is putting DOHC in all their cars, and wants a 3 tier lineup, they had it with Chevy-Olds-Cadillac and blew that chance.

This is another BS statement from Docherty, and further evidence that GM management has no credibility. GM lost $80 billion over 5 years, yet Buick is profitable? So Chevy, Cadillac, Saturn, Pontiac lost say $82 billion, but Buick made a positive $2 billion to cut losses to $80B, I don't think so.

I'd like to see GM post revenue and profit statements for each individual brand, because given what Docherty said, the "New GM" shouldn't include Chevy or Cadillac, if only Buick is profitable. I still don't know why GM loves Buick so much, it has a 20 year history of shrinking and has become a brand with very little appeal. Buick is a distraction from strengthening Chevy and Cadillac. Instead of working on the LaCrosse, GM could have done the ATS, Cruze or a new Impala, all of which are more important. Likewise with the Enclave, the Traverse is more important and should have come first.

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Last time I checked, we have quite a few loyal Buick customers on C&G that are not near death. Far more than loyal Pontiac customers. I wouldn't consider myself a loyal Pontiac owner as I have only owned one and it is my first and only car. Last time I checked, there are only 4 people on C&G who owned a Pontiac built since 2000. Me, PCS, Camino, and WhiteKnight.

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Same goes for the rest of GM. Pontiac still has a stronger brand image than Buick. The only difference is that Buick still has some loyal buyers that haven't died off yet, that will buy any crap with a Buick emblem on it. And those buyers have money. But what happens when those buyers are gone?

And if you want to dispute that, then why else would a 3.8L 195hp Buick sell?

Come on now, give credit where it is due, the Lucerne had a 3.8L, 197 hp engine.

To your point, the Mercury Grand Marquis is another car that people buy, even though it is dated crap, because they are used to that type of car. But when that older generation is gone, Buick, Mercury, Chrysler, etc are in trouble.

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Last time I checked, we have quite a few loyal Buick customers on C&G that are not near death. Far more than loyal Pontiac customers. I wouldn't consider myself a loyal Pontiac owner as I have only owned one and it is my first and only car. Last time I checked, there are only 4 people on C&G who owned a Pontiac built since 2000. Me, PCS, Camino, and WhiteKnight.

I owned a 2001 Sunfire...ha ha...since then I've also owned a 95 Buick Regal, and currenlty have a 2003 Grand Cherokee, but I think what it comes down too is GM made a decision, executed it, and people need to quit whining and quit looking for justification because it just doesn't matter anymore. I miss Pontiac as much as the next guy, in fact it was my favorite GM brand in theory. The G8 and Solstice were very nice cars, but you can't prop up an entire division on two cars that sell in low volumes. The G6 was no longer competitive, and the brand only sold in NA. I think that this topic has been beat to death, and we should all just move on and hope that GM can become a more competitive and profitable company that bulids better products.

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And if you want to dispute that, then why else would a 3.8L 195hp Buick sell? The better car would have been a G8, with the 3.6L. Buicks buyers will die off.

Because the numbers lie. The 3800 in the Lucerne, while no speed demon, was quite capable of hauling the car around quietly and efficiently. The rental Lucerne with 219hp I had last month swallowed 9 desktop PCs, 11 flat screens, plus accessories and my luggage in the trunk and returned 28mpg @ 75mph.... silently. On the trip back, I got nearly 32mpg with an empty trunk. The engine is so smooth and silent that I was driving for about 20 minutes @ 75 in 3rd gear and the only reason I noticed it was the "instant MPG" readout was unusually low. 66Stang can back me up on this one, he was in the car with me when I took it up to 80 and dropped it into 3rd. There is no audible nor visceral difference... the only change you see is the needle on the tach swing up.

Add in the fact that it's not ugly like the Avalon and Maxima, and not RWD like the 300, and that translates into decent sales.

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Wait, I know GMTruckGuy has a G6 so that roughly makes 6 people now. Also, to be honest I don't know how old WK's firebird is.

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Wait, I know GMTruckGuy has a G6 so that roughly makes 6 people now. Also, to be honest I don't know how old WK's firebird is.

Ahhh count me in there... I have gotten two Pontiac's since 2005! :smilewide:

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Because the numbers lie. The 3800 in the Lucerne, while no speed demon, was quite capable of hauling the car around quietly and efficiently. The rental Lucerne with 219hp I had last month swallowed 9 desktop PCs, 11 flat screens, plus accessories and my luggage in the trunk and returned 28mpg @ 75mph.... silently. On the trip back, I got nearly 32mpg with an empty trunk. The engine is so smooth and silent that I was driving for about 20 minutes @ 75 in 3rd gear and the only reason I noticed it was the "instant MPG" readout was unusually low. 66Stang can back me up on this one, he was in the car with me when I took it up to 80 and dropped it into 3rd. There is no audible nor visceral difference... the only change you see is the needle on the tach swing up.

Add in the fact that it's not ugly like the Avalon and Maxima, and not RWD like the 300, and that translates into decent sales.

And I got 34mpg in a 2000 Chevy Malibu with 2 people in the car, a trunk full of luggage, and 2 15 inch subwoofers and their box which weighs 105lbs, while driving an avg speed of 85mph. Lets bring back the 3.1 for the 2010 Malibu!!!

The only reason the Lucerne 3.8L sells is because older people buy them, who never drive faster than 10 under the speed limit, and take 20 seconds to get to 60 anyway. Those buyers will be gone soon. I bet Buick will go with them.

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Wait, I know GMTruckGuy has a G6 so that roughly makes 6 people now. Also, to be honest I don't know how old WK's firebird is.

Have you looked at the polls of how many people owned Pontiacs compared to Buicks here? Go look at them.

Look at the one that says what brand people here would consider for their next car also. If I remember correctly, Pontiac was the choice over Buick by more than 4 to 1.

And I had an 05 GTO. You need to do some more research, because there are a lot more people who owned Pontiacs here than 6.

Edited by CaddyXLR-V
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Here we go again...

Yes, IMO if Pontiac had to go, then Buick should have went too.

And GM keeps feeling the need to defend it's retarded decisions, so I feel the need to point out how retarded their decisions are.

Edited by CaddyXLR-V
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I'm tired of hearing from this ditz, Docherty. I'm voting her off the island. She thinks nobody's watching her?
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Cause GM really needs 2 volume brands with identical cars.

So what happens when Chevrolet gets a zeta sedan? They will only be missing a kappa, but they will have a +1 of a Camaro. Pontiac had no leg to stand on.

Grey hairs are a much more desirable market than fleet services.

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I'm tired of hearing from this ditz, Docherty. I'm voting her off the island. She thinks nobody's watching her?

She isn't to hard on the eyes either, kind of Cougar-ish.

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