GM Kills Pontiac – Focuses on Boring Brands

Pontiac G8 GXP

GM announced today that they will be phasing out the Pontiac brand by the end of 2010. This news came right after they announced they will also be cutting 21,000 hourly jobs and reducing their dealer count by 42% within the same time frame. This, in an effort to stay out of bankruptcy, of course.

“This action will allow General Motors to devote its limited capital and other resources to GM\’s four core brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.” So GM wants to kill off the only brand that made them look even slightly sporty and exciting, and focus on the oversized and ultimately “boring” brands.

While it’s always a shame to see any brand go under – especially one with as much history as Pontiac – there are always contributing factors that made this happen. It wasn’t like Pontiac just drew the short straw here. Just speaking from recent years, Pontiac tried to revive the GTO name in 2004 to bring back some of the muscle car pedigee they were known for. Sadly, the GTO ended up looking like a stretched Chevy Cavalier. While it may have been a good car to drive (a friend owns one and loves it,) you didn’t know this until you actually drove it, and then it was still very subjective. They failed to bring back the memories of the original GTO, and instead made an okay muscle car that looked like a Chevy Sedan. The GTO didn’t sell very well, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. They said goodbye to this model in 2006.

2007 Pontiac G5

Next, we have the Pontiac G5, which you’ll remember I thought was a pointless car anyway, considering the Chevy Cobalt exists.

Then we have the Pontiac Solstice, which has nothing wrong with it by itself, if only you forget that the Saturn Sky exists. The Sky and Solstice are essentially the same car mechanically, but the Saturn just looks so much better than the Pontiac version.

So now we’re left with the G8, which could have been Pontiac’s savior. An exciting RWD sedan offered in multiple trims and engine sizes from an everyday V6, to the GXP with a fire-breathing 415hp V8, the Pontiac G8 was actually a pretty damn good car. An affordable sedan that could compete with the likes of BMW and Audi – it looked like Pontiac was about to get on the right track. The G8 also had one of the coolest car commercials I’ve ever seen.

But as they say…Too little, too late. Sorry to see you go, Pontiac.

About The Author

I founded Automoblog.net in May of 2006 to share my love of cars. My favorites include the Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT and Koenigsegg CCX, and I think the Ferrari 360 Spider is still one of the sexiest cars in existence. For “normal” cars, I like imports – Nissan, Audi, Subaru… I love my Pearl Yellow (don’t judge) 1990 Nissan 300ZX TT and plan to get it to around 550 HP one day. I’m also an avid world traveler and love rock climbing.

11 Comments on "GM Kills Pontiac – Focuses on Boring Brands"

  1. David

    Good bye Pontiac. Do let me say that the Sky exists because of the Solstice, not the other way round. Besides, the GXP version has a turbo charged. Get your facts right.

    Well and about the G5/Cobalt issue, let's remember that this model was the replacement of the Sunfire/Cavalier. And… this was a car that was given to many college students and many prefered the Sunfire because its better looks than an dull Cavalier.

  2. My bad on the Solstice thing, thanks for the clarification. I didn't realize that they had released the GXP for some reason, I"ll correct the post.

    You're right about the Sunfire/Cavalier issue, but that doesn't make it OK. At least you could tell the Sunfire and Cavalier apart without looking at the badges.

  3. Shane

    I am really saddened by this turn of events at GM. As a mid-30's professional, the only GM brands that interest me at all are Saturn, Pontiac (especially the G8) and Saab (I own a 9-3). I can't believe GM is killing or selling them off, but keeping Buick? God, even my grandmother thinks Buicks are "old lady" looking. And I love the new Cadillacs, but they're too expensive for me. Guess my next purchase won't be a GM one as I had planned.

    I'm glad they're making big changes to stay viable, but come on! Twenty years from now the average Buick buyer will be dead and my daughter will be buying her first car and I think it would have more than likely been a sporty Pontiac or Saturn – and most definitely not a Buick.

    I was so close to buying a new G8 now that my Saab is five years old, but I won't bother with a lame duck brand now. Way to go GM.

  4. Craig

    I have been a Pontiac fan all my life and was seriously considering a G8 for my next car. I could even deal with the car under a Chevy nameplate, but to kill it off entirely will drive me to a foreign manufacturer. I am now looking at BMW and Mercedes, good job GM…..

  5. The past four months have been a complete nightmare and I still don't understand most of the reasoning behind the decisions being made. I sit here wondering what's next, but it seems you can't predict the future in this industry anymore.

  6. Shane and Craig – I just got off a conference call with Pontiac regarding this move, and one thing they stressed was that if you just bought or ordered a Pontiac, or are thinking about buying one, nothing will change. The warranty is GM's, and the service and parts will still be made the same as always. I'm writing up an article about the call right now and I'll post it here when it's done.

    Nick – I agree completely. Up until the official word this morning, I still didn't believe GM would get rid of Pontiac – their only "sports car" brand. The call cleared some things up though, that post will be up soon.

  7. Craig

    I am not so much concerned with the warranty, but with the future of the car. I would love to see a future performance sedan, maybe packaged as an Impala SS? I could buy a G8 today, but with no plans to bring it over to the Chevy nameplate, what would be its replacement? I realize that economy cars are at the forefront of the business plan, but not everyone wants one, especially me.

  8. Shane

    Looking forward to the post Chris. My concern with buying a Pontiac at this point is more with the resale value of the car three or four years from now. It seems like GM always "gets it right" when it comes to the design of their cars and then pulls the plug (like in the 80's with the Fiero).

    I guess I should also point out that my parents are GM retirees and I get their discount, which is why I have bought two Saabs in a row. Now I just can't think of a car in the GM lineup that I'm really drawn to, except for the Cadillac CTS or the Chevy Corvette, but I'm not in the position to shell out 60k.

    I really was thinking that GM would at least rebadge the G8 and sell it under Chevrolet or something. And the Solstice and it's Saturn counterpart were something I really was considering, too.

    I see all kinds of branding and marketing problems with their decision to keep the Buick brand in lieu of Pontiac or Saturn. It might sound snarky and shallow, but I want to drive a "cool" car and I don't see that GM is going to have any left. WTF?

    They may be cutting expenses and streamlining the company, but they have done nothing to persuade or convince the general public to stop buying Toyota's and Honda's – and in the long run, that is what they most need to do.

    I plan on trading my car soon and I may take advantage of my parents' discount and go with a third Saab (I love them but am ready for something different) or a pre-owned BMW 3-series.

    I sure hope the Big 3 get it together. I LOVE cars and I want American brands to dominate again one day.

  9. Hey guys, here's the quick write-up on the conference call: http://www.automoblog.net/2009/04/27/pontiac-conf

    The article answers most of your questions, but specifically:

    Craig – The Camaro would. The Camaro and G8 share the same Zeta platform.

    Shane – The Saturn Sky will (hopefully) still be around for a while, so that's a consideration for you. The article above answers your other concerns. I agree with you though, it's a bleak outlook for American car companies, so hopefully they can make a comeback instead of getting rid of more brands.

  10. Craig

    Yes the camaro could potentially fill the requirement, but the practicality of a sedan also makes the G8 more appealing. I have to agree with Shane that the only other cars in the GM lineup that excite me are outside my price range.

  11. Joseph

    They shouldn’t cut Pontiac. Notice how the company got worse right after they cut Oldsmobile…. Don’t make that mistake twice!

Leave a Reply