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Lutz Says Pontiac G8 Not Entirely Dead, But Destination a Dilemma

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Lutz Says Pontiac G8 Not Entirely Dead, But Destination a Dilemma

By James M. Amend

WardsAuto.com, Feb 13, 2010 1:27 PM

Special Coverage

NADA Convention & Exposition

ORLANDO, FL – General Motors Co. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz suggests the ill-fated Pontiac G8 sports sedan may not be destined for the graveyard after all.

The G8, a tightly sprung rear-wheel-drive car featuring a lively 3.6L V-6 as standard equipment, or optional high-powered 6.0L and 6.2L V-8 engines with an available 6-speed manual transmission, won over enthusiasts for its value but was killed along with the Pontiac brand last year.

Over the course of some 18 months on sale in the U.S., the GM Holden Ltd.-built G8 sold 35,623 units, according to Ward’s data. The car promised such potential that GM considered adding a version with a pickup bed after a G8 Sport Truck concept bowed to good reviews.

Reviewing the sedan in 2008, Ward’s editors gushed over its proportions, tunable suspension and V-8 availability for less than $33,000.

But with GM’s bankruptcy last year came difficult decisions. GM chose to kill Pontiac as part of a strategy that jettisoned four brands and kept Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick and GMC.

There was initial talk of using the G8’s underpinnings for the next Chevrolet Impala, but then-CEO Fritz Henderson lamented such a move would recall GM’s disastrous days of badge engineering. New corporate fuel-economy regulations also helped put a stake into the heart of a RWD drive Impala.

However, recognizing an opportunity, GM will start sales next year of a Chevy Caprice using the G8’s platform for the law-enforcement sector.

Hope remains for Pontiac G8 elsewhere at GM.

Lutz jokes at a J.D. Power & Associates conference here on the eve of this weekend’s National Automobile Dealers Assn. meeting that GM is taking the G8 “out of the hands of the violators and (putting it) into the hands of the enforcers.”

But he also once again confesses his fondness for the car and reservations about it disappearing from GM’s lineup. The question is what to do with it.

“Where are you to put it?” Lutz asks Ward’s after his speech, reflecting the dilemma facing the car’s placement in another division when it was engineered specifically as a Pontiac.

As a Chevy, the G8 probably would bite too deeply into Impala sales. It doesn’t carry the luxury attributes necessary to become a Cadillac, and GMC is for trucks.

That leaves the 106-year-old Buick division, which at this point in its renaissance does lack a RWD sedan and has the performance heritage to sell such a car.

Lutz says stay tuned. “Right now it’s a police car. Down the road, it might be something else,” he says. “But it’s too early to talk about.”

However, it’s not too late to snap up a G8. Ward’s data shows 96 units remained on dealer lots at the close of January.

LINK:

http://wardsauto.com/home/lutz_pontiac_g8_100213/

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Once the Commodore gets redesigned, yes it makes sense for it to become a Buick or a Chevy and return to NA.

Edited by ZL-1
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Instead of pinning the car to only one division, how about spreading variants around all four divisions? Hang in there while I play armchair CEO for a moment.

  • Chevrolet = "Caprice": SWB Zeta sedan, Impala replacement and Taurus/Charger competitor. Unique sheetmetal all around. Traditional N/A V6 and N/A V8 engine options.
  • Buick = "Invicta": LWB Zeta sedan, indirect replacement for Lucerne and Pontiac G8, direct replacement for Chinese Park Avenue. Chrysler 300 competitor. Unique sheetmetal all around. TT-V6 engines only. High design appeal.
  • GMC = "Sprint": Zeta Ute platform, 2-door and "Crewman" bodystyles. Design inspired by the Denali XT concept. Replaces Canyon.
  • Cadillac = "ZTS": LWB Zeta sedan, premium suspension and chassis tuning. Unique sheetmetal all around and very high technology and features content. Supercharged V8 engine only. Low production values.

Simple right?

If Holden gets a new Alpha-based Torana, it could be brought over to the US to slot in below a Zeta Buick as a NG Regal or Regal supplement.

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At this point, this just makes me tired...

I'm with you on that.

meant to rep that post up rather than down. hit the wrong button. sorry.

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Chevy makes the most sense, but I'd have absolutely no issue sending it to Buick.

Buick has the heritage and people keep complaining about the brand's lack of cajones these days... so why not give it a mean RWD-Machine to tide over the enthusiasts and the people who still want this car?

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It should be a Chevy, it really should have been a Chevy in the first place. The Impala was lame in 2008, they should have replaced it then. Buick already has a car the size of the G8, and one bigger as long as the Lucerne is around. The G8/Commodore isn't really a luxury car, it is better poised to take on the Taurus and Charger, thus it should be a Chevy.

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It should be a Chevy, it really should have been a Chevy in the first place. The Impala was lame in 2008, they should have replaced it then. Buick already has a car the size of the G8, and one bigger as long as the Lucerne is around. The G8/Commodore isn't really a luxury car, it is better poised to take on the Taurus and Charger, thus it should be a Chevy.

The LWB Zeta Caprice/Statesman is a luxury car, you're forgetting. It's already being sold in China as the Buick Park Avenue, so this is where the speculation about the car wearing a Tri-Shield badge stems from. Buick NA and Buick China are globally aligned, so what China gets, NA gets as well.

Regardless of what badge it does wind up wearing, I don't see the Commodore reentering the U.S. market as a rebadged captive import again. I think GM really wants to make it a unique model for the North American market.

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Make it a Buick and call it a GNX. Who cares about the engine?

Make it a Chevrolet and call it a ... Chevelle. ... Why care either way if it could do GM the benefit of doing the right thing?

GM has been on the right course for months now. I don't think having the car under either brand is going to be a bad choice. ... BUT first it has to actually get the pass.

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chinese park avenue would make sense but it would need awd option to be fully competitive. the g8 should simply be the impala. call the current impala 'classic'. problem solved.

gm is over thinking this. the park avenue would sell decently (20k units at least). the g8 as impala would sell more units at retail than the current impala. then they could fleet the snot out of the classic.

no one gets hurt.

Edited by regfootball
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GM should just kill the car since most of you will never buy it and half of you will be mad because it has the wrong name on it.

I would think as long as it was RWD and had a powerful V8 with a tuned suspension you guys would be happy that it is here no matter what grill is in it.

The way I look at it is as A Chevy it would be good and as a Buick it would get some more upgrades but still be the same car. I just don't understand the Buick phobia with the direction Buick is now going. They are becoming the company Pontiac should have been a real Euro car contender with real performance but still affordable. Lets face it the Insignia is what the G6 should have been all along.

The only one here with a legit beef is Camaino for Chevy as if it is a Buick it would kill what little chance for a El Camaino there is.

In this world economy ands green think of many this kind of a car is a dying breed and you had better take what you get while you can. If not you had better be happy with the V6 Alpha.

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Chevrolet dealers do not need any more cars to inventory at this time - Spark, Aveo, Cruze, Orlando, new Malibu, and eventually an Impala replacement (guessed to be Epsilon II-based) already consume the dealer's lot (not to mention all the truck, SUV, crossover, & commercial models too). Buick-GMC dealerships are looking for non-truck product to sell; it totally makes sense for Buick to get this product (and their service & parts dept's already are used to dealing with the Zeta/Commodore platform). Buick is now attempting to cover the Pontiac, Oldsmobile & Saturn customer with their product, and it makes sense for Buick-GMC dealers to get new product to sell. As much as I love my Pontiacs, and have been a Saturn customer in the past, Buick is now the focus for me & the wife for new cars (she loves the new LaCrosse and I admire the new Regal, especially the GS showcar). Between the new Buick baby Enclave & Delta II-based car, and the possibility of the GMC Granite going into production, that's still not enough new product for them compared to a chevy dealer. I'd like to see a Commodore-based model lineup (coupe, sedan, wagon) for Buick, and a Ute-based 2- & 4-door (a'la GMC Denali XL concept) for GMC to replace the Canyon.

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The LWB Zeta Caprice/Statesman is a luxury car, you're forgetting. It's already being sold in China as the Buick Park Avenue, so this is where the speculation about the car wearing a Tri-Shield badge stems from. Buick NA and Buick China are globally aligned, so what China gets, NA gets as well.

Regardless of what badge it does wind up wearing, I don't see the Commodore reentering the U.S. market as a rebadged captive import again. I think GM really wants to make it a unique model for the North American market.

They could bring the Statesman here and try to go after the Genesis, but could they keep it to $40,000? And GM in their twisted thinking wouldn't want the Statesman here because it would compete with the STS/DTS, but cost less. And also, how lame would the XTS look, if Buick had an equally nice car, but with rear drive and a V8 for less money.

Although who says the car needs a V8, whether it is a Chevy or Buick, a 300 hp V6 is enough power. The $45,000 CTS has that, the $55,000 STS has that. So it should be more than enough for a $30-35,000 Chevy or Buick.

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Chevrolet dealers do not need any more cars to inventory at this time - Spark, Aveo, Cruze, Orlando, new Malibu, and eventually an Impala replacement (guessed to be Epsilon II-based) already consume the dealer's lot (not to mention all the truck, SUV, crossover, & commercial models too). Buick-GMC dealerships are looking for non-truck product to sell; it totally makes sense for Buick to get this product (and their service & parts dept's already are used to dealing with the Zeta/Commodore platform). Buick is now attempting to cover the Pontiac, Oldsmobile & Saturn customer with their product, and it makes sense for Buick-GMC dealers to get new product to sell. As much as I love my Pontiacs, and have been a Saturn customer in the past, Buick is now the focus for me & the wife for new cars (she loves the new LaCrosse and I admire the new Regal, especially the GS showcar). Between the new Buick baby Enclave & Delta II-based car, and the possibility of the GMC Granite going into production, that's still not enough new product for them compared to a chevy dealer. I'd like to see a Commodore-based model lineup (coupe, sedan, wagon) for Buick, and a Ute-based 2- & 4-door (a'la GMC Denali XL concept) for GMC to replace the Canyon.

You and SMK got it. If Buick got it the issue is the Holden Calais competing against LaCrosse. It could compete quite well against the Hyundai Genesis. The other thing is if Buick North America mimics Buick China, the Holden Statesman /Caprice would be a nice asset and would be the way to go. They would have to do things to make it different from Chevrolet Caprice Police Car.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW_vswLEN3Y

You cannot give every new GM car to Chevrolet.

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Personally, I still think GM should try to cash in on the "New Coke-Old Coke" effect. Bring it back as a Pontiac G8 (by GMC) or LeMans, Bonneville, etc.

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The reason I want it to be a Chevrolet is affordability. If it is a Buick I am interested but most likely would NOT be able to afford it. Really it is a no-brainer make it a Chevrolet "SS". I think its all but confirmed unless internal emails at GM are wrong.

Edited by gm4life
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The reason I want it to be a Chevrolet is affordability. If it is a Buick I am interested but most likely would NOT be able to afford it. Really it is a no-brainer make it a Chevrolet "SS". I think its all but confirmed unless internal emails at GM are wrong.

I think that is the plan now but things can change fast as we know. Changing market conditions are the prime factor. This is not going to be a high volume car and the need to balance thing to fit it where the most profit lies.

Either way I only expect a V8 car and it to be over $30K. It will be G8 GT range or more.

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I think that is the plan now but things can change fast as we know. Changing market conditions are the prime factor. This is not going to be a high volume car and the need to balance thing to fit it where the most profit lies.

Either way I only expect a V8 car and it to be over $30K. It will be G8 GT range or more.

That is exactly what I am betting on.

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But...

I don't want a Buick.

I have never cared for the styling cues and have zero interest in any "near-lux" cars from anyone. Gadgets and wood trim do nothing for me - never have.

Chevrolet is the last bastion at GM for me - nothing else will do.

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