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New small Pontiac has huge mission

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By Richard Truett Automotive News / August 15, 2005 DETROIT - The just-launched Pontiac Solstice roadster has a lot riding on its pumped-up shoulders. General Motors Vice Chairman Robert Lutz expects the $20,000 roadster to kick-start the much-needed rejuvenation of Pontiac. And, he says, GM must create more cars like the Solstice if the company is going to reduce incentives and rebuild market share. John Larson, general manager of the Pontiac, Buick and GMC divisions, thinks the Solstice will be a milestone car for GM. "We believe this vehicle has the potential to become a complete automotive icon, like the GTO or Corvette," he says. That's a huge responsibility for a small car to carry, but the buzz from early buyers suggests it may be justified. GM invited buyers of the first 1,000 Solstices to Detroit on Aug. 5 for a kickoff party that saw the first Solstice delivered to a middle-aged couple from Idaho. All 1,000 buyers chose the Solstice on looks and price alone, without the benefit of a test drive or even seeing one up close, in the metal. Many said they hadn't owned a GM vehicle in years. Nick Fuduloff, 45, a firefighter from Pennsylvania who drives a Nissan SUV and a Toyota sedan, said he had never before bought a car without taking it for a test drive. But he isn't worried about quality issues with the Solstice, he said. "It seems like they took their time on it," Fuduloff said. Jeff Maki, 40, a chemist from Grand Rapids, Mich., said: "As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with it. I went to the dealer in November and put my name on a list." Holly Johnson, 46, a registered nurse from Pennsylvania, plans to park her Toyota Avalon and keep it as a second car when she takes delivery of her Solstice. Before the GM event, she had never sat in a Solstice. "It fits!" she shrieked after settling into the driver's seat of a silver Solstice on display in the lobby of the GM headquarters building. "I think the quality will be good. The last GM car I had was a good one," she said. The Solstice is the first car of its type from GM. No other GM division has ever built a two-seat, four-cylinder, rear-drive convertible. Speaking to the crowd at the launch event, Larson said GM officials have been paying close attention to what potential customers were saying about the Solstice. "There's been an emotional connection between Pontiac and the customer that is unique to this vehicle," he said. "We intend to keep that relationship just the way it is and grow it even further." GM is trying to whittle down a backlog of nearly 10,000 orders for the car. Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson said GM expects to have those orders filled by December. GM officials would not say how many Solstices are being built daily at the company's Wilmington, Del., plant. But according to the Automotive News Data Center, the plant turned out only 330 units in July. To fill the order backlog, the plant will have to crank out an average of 2,000 cars a month until the end of the year. Pontiac plans to build about 20,000 Solstices in 2006.
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((GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PONTIAC!!))----The SOLSTICE ((ROCKS!!))--And the Saturn Sky ((ROCKS)) to!!
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You all will be tremendously impressed and pleased once you get to drive one! Edited by Bob_Lutz
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Are you really Bob Lutz? :D
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I get goosepumps every time I drive by the Pontiac dealer... still have not seen one.
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Are you really Bob Lutz? :D

[post="286"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Are you really Nick? To answer your question, no, I'm actually Pete Gerosa!
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Haven't seen a Solstice yet, but haven't been by my local Pontiac dealer in a while. I'd prefer the Sky over the Solstice though, at least stylewise and content-wise. (Also, glad to see the new forums, I'll have to take some getting used to-this is the poster formerly known as Uncle Dave).
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Haven't seen a Solstice yet, but haven't been by my local Pontiac dealer in a while. I'd prefer the Sky over the Solstice though, at least stylewise and content-wise.

(Also, glad to see the new forums, I'll have to take some getting used to-this is the poster formerly known as Uncle Dave).

[post="396"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Please message myself immediately to correct your e-mail as well as information. Thanks.
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They brought a Solstice to our plant a couple of weeks ago. I don't know why, but after seeing it at the Detroit Auto show for what 2 or 3 yrs now, it looks better than before. I don't know if it's because I got closer to it and got to sit in it, but the car is cool as hell. I liked it before, but after seeing it up close and personal, I've decided I've got to have one.
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To answer your question, no, I'm actually Pete Gerosa!


Hmmmm- or *are* you...? :P

On topic: I too can't wait to see a Solstice at my local dealer, O'Hare Pontiac in Des Plaines, IL. I'm afraid I might actually weep upon driving one- weep or sell some internal organs! (Two of so many, let the harvesting begin!) :o
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Still needs more power. :P But other wise very nice. Course I will never own one as to small for me, but may get it for the wife. :D
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There is no doubt that this could in fact be a milestone car for GM. Give credit to Lutz, as it's his baby.
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I, too, am very excited about seeing the Solstice on the road. As well as the Sky and Aura next year. I just feel these three cars (granted 2 are essentially identical), are going to really heat up the market for GM... it's going to be sweet :)
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