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Pontiac Headed for Junk Yard


Jacob M.
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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124060030328753755.html

 

By SHARON TERLEP and JOHN D. STOLL

 

General Motors Corp. is readying plans to ditch its fabled Pontiac, an 82-year-old division that last flourished selling sporty, muscle cars, people familiar with the matter said Friday.

 

During its heyday three decades ago, Pontiac was the launching ground for young auto designers and executives including John DeLorean. But its sales have tumbled 70% since their peak in 1978, and the unit in recent years has been a steady money loser.

 

GM has more than three months' supply of Pontiacs on dealer lots, according to Edmunds.com. Last month, the average Pontiac sold for 22% off the sticker price, compared with the industry average of 16%, Edmunds said.

 

GM spokesman Jim Hopson said no final decision on Pontiac's future has been made. But he said nothing is guaranteed. "Everything has been put under review," Mr. Hopson said.

 

The auto maker, facing a June 1 federal deadline to dramatically restructure or go bankrupt, is expected to disclose next week it will eliminate or sell Pontiac, according to several people who have been briefed on the plan. The decision comes as GM must show it can make painful cuts to win continued government financing.

 

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General Motors

A 1967 Pontiac Firebird from the brand's muscle-car heyday.

GM had said it intended to keep one or two Pontiac models. But the Obama administration is pressuring GM to accelerate its downsizing. The auto maker is working on plans to sell or liquidate its Saturn, Hummer and Saab divisions. Each has received some interest from outside buyers, but it remains unclear whether any will survive.

 

GM's last automotive division to be eliminated was Oldsmobile in 2000. That decision cost GM billions of dollars in dealer-buyout costs, led to messy litigation and frayed many relationships with dealers and buyers.

 

"Disappointment is an understatement," Russ Shelton, owner of Shelton Pontiac Buick GMC in Rochester Hills, Mich., said of word of GM's decision.

 

Pontiac's first model was a 1926 six-cylinder roadster called the Chief of the Sixes. In following years, the brand became known for offering sporty V8 models that were cheaper than Buicks and used components from low-cost Chevrolets.

 

In the 1960s, the Pontiac GTO became the founding member of Detroit's horsepower wars. That car was created by Mr. DeLorean and introduced in the fall of 1963. Shortly thereafter, Ford introduced its Mustang and Chrysler its Plymouth Barracuda as responses to GM's hit coupe.

 

One of Mr. DeLorean's legacies -- the so-called widetrack vehicle design -- still remains a feature of some Pontiac automobiles, and has played a role in its advertising messages.

 

In the 1970s, Pontiac went into decline as the Arab oil embargo drove up gasoline prices and consumers turned away from gas guzzlers. Pontiac enjoyed a brief resurgence in the 1980s when gas prices fell and GM accompanied its "Pontiac Excitement" marketing campaigns with smaller cars that had bigger engines, such as the Trans Am and Firebird.

 

In recent years, Pontiac has struggled to carve out an identity of its own. Attempts to revive its nameplates, including the GTO, have fallen flat due to a lack of design flair. Those efforts were also stymied by the bland minivans and sedans that Pontiac produced.

 

The GMC brand of trucks and sport-utility vehicles could also be in danger. The Obama auto task force, noting that GMC sells models similar to Chevrolet, has pressed GM to make a convincing case the brand should survive.

 

To avoid bankruptcy, GM is scrambling to complete an offer for a public debt swap that would eliminate $27 billion in unsecured debt. The auto maker has been unable to strike a deal with an ad hoc committee representing bondholders. But federal regulations require that GM must make the offering by Monday to have the swap complete by June 1.

 

Write to Sharon Terlep at sharon.terlep@dowjones.com and John D. Stoll at john.stoll@wsj.com

 

I knew this was going to happen sooner or later, but it hurts to finally have it confirmed. On my way home from work this morning I heard it on the radio. It has been my dream to own a Pontiac ever since I first watched Smokey and the Bandit when I was a little kid. I'm 25 now and I've yet to own my own vehicle. That dream has been with me at least 15 years. Right now I'm working my tail off trying to save for a Pontiac. I'm doing everything I can to save enough money for a new car and I don't know if I will make it in time.

 

The stupidity of the whole thing is astounding. GM's only cool brand and they aren't going to keep it. They planned to keep it as a niche brand, but the Obama admin pressured them to cut the brand completely. Stupid Obama. I knew there was a reason I voted against you. The stupidity goes way further than that though. Instead of keeping Pontiac the cool brand they kept adding models that have hurt the image of the brand. For the life of me I cannot understand what the hell they were thinking by making the G3 and the Aztec Pontiac models. There were many other wretched models over the last few years too. If they want to know why nobody is buying Pontiac it's because they're releasing garbage like that. Give us cars that kick ass like the Firebird, Grand Prix, G6, and G8. If they kept Pontiac as the brand it was supposed to be it wouldn't be getting the axe.

 

The mis-management of the company had a big part to play in this. There's way too much to cover at the moment, but I'm sure most of you out there already know what I mean.

 

This makes me so sad. Another thing I love is about to be no more.

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I hear you man, I'm a long-time Pontiac enthusiast as well. I own a '67 Firebird 400 and my father owns 2 GTOs (1964, 1965), and the dissolution of Pontiac really pisses me off. My brother and I just recently test drove a G8 GT as well, and he was seriously considering buying one, hope he still does. I've owned and driven all sorts of imports (Volvos, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C Class, Toyota Avalon and a few others as well), but I always come back to the domestic brands (Saturn L300 currently) and have stood with them thru thick, thin, and even quailty control issues. But these days, the domestics, without question IMO, rival the build quality, reliability and durability of the import brands. So with excellent products on the market, it is absolutely disgusting to me that Chrysler is going to claim Chapter 11 (and may be picked over by Fiat) and likely won't re-emerge intact and GM is shedding divisions like a dog shedding fur. I understand how GM arrived at this point--> the auto worker union dynamics, legacy costs, slumping sales and brand image, and worst of all, the sudden collapse of the credit markets late last year, but seventy or so years of hard earned brand equity will unceremoniously and ungraciously be kicked to the curb this Monday (4-27-09) with GM's official announcement. Can cancellation of the Camaro (again) and/or Corvette be far behind with the govt.'s likely push to turn GM into a producer of Prius hybrid look-alikes? Hope I'm spouting more gloom and doom than reality, but the automotive landscape is starting to look bleaker for enthusiasts like myself.

 

Good luck finding the Pontiac that best suits you man, given how long you've had to wait to acquire your own car it sounds like you'll really appreciate the ownership experience......Jeff.

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04-trip.071.jpg

The travesty that was the Aztec. What the hell were they thinking when they released this?

 

pontiac-g3.jpg

Look at this lame car. And they wonder why nobody is buying them.

 

77tapfgleam.jpg

This is hands down the coolest car ever made. Why can't Pontiac crank out cars like this any more?

 

I understand how GM arrived at this point--> the auto worker union dynamics, legacy costs, slumping sales and brand image, and worst of all, the sudden collapse of the credit markets late last year, but seventy or so years of hard earned brand equity will unceremoniously and ungraciously be kicked to the curb this Monday (4-27-09) with GM's official announcement.

 

You basically covered it right there. All of those things along with general incompetence helped bring GM down.

 

Can cancellation of the Camaro (again) and/or Corvette be far behind with the govt.'s likely push to turn GM into a producer of Prius hybrid look-alikes? Hope I'm spouting more gloom and doom than reality, but the automotive landscape is starting to look bleaker for enthusiasts like myself.

 

The price of government intervention was to give up your decision making ability. Ford was smart enough to stay away from the bailout. The other two were not. One of the things you keep hearing from the government is that vehicles need to be more green and fuel efficient. What we think of cars is about to change. Everything is probably going to get smaller and there will no longer be gas only cars. The end of other sporty cars can't be far behind.

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Stupid Obama. I knew there was a reason I voted against you.

 

Just askin', how exactly is this Obama's fault? GM's problems go back WAY farther than him... for the past 20 years at least they've been ignoring marketing trends ("Gas is four dollars a gallon but you WILL continue to buy our SUV's damn you!"), public demand, and widespread changes in the industry, they've been this big monolithic dinosaur covering their ears and eyes whenever someone suggests they change, and now it's coming home to roost. It ain't like Obama told'em flat out, "I hate Pontiac. Get rid of'em." If it's the lowest-selling brand in GM's family, they get the chop. Simple as that.

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My dream car...

NewScrn.jpg

 

It sucks to hear that, but Pontiac has been turning out shit quality cars for quite some time so they have really done this to themselves.

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They have had some cool looking cars for sure, but their build quality has been anything but awesome for quite some time. I still remember my Fiero deciding to quit going in the passing lane of the Garden State Parkway... I was like hell yeah, Pontiac DOES build excitement!

 

I think the reason Ford didn't have to take the bailout is because they've been thinking forward for several years now.

 

Don't want the government involved, then learn how to manage your own business successfully, pretty simple I think! :)

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Stupid Obama. I knew there was a reason I voted against you.

 

Just askin', how exactly is this Obama's fault? GM's problems go back WAY farther than him... for the past 20 years at least they've been ignoring marketing trends ("Gas is four dollars a gallon but you WILL continue to buy our SUV's damn you!"), public demand, and widespread changes in the industry, they've been this big monolithic dinosaur covering their ears and eyes whenever someone suggests they change, and now it's coming home to roost. It ain't like Obama told'em flat out, "I hate Pontiac. Get rid of'em." If it's the lowest-selling brand in GM's family, they get the chop. Simple as that.

 

Well spoken, Keef ! :drink: Mismanagement has ruined this company (and not only GM), and surely not the current government. If any politicians are to be blamed to have ignored the whole general situation for far too long, then somebody else should be pointed at. I won't mention any names, though ...............

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Just askin', how exactly is this Obama's fault? GM's problems go back WAY farther than him... for the past 20 years at least they've been ignoring marketing trends ("Gas is four dollars a gallon but you WILL continue to buy our SUV's damn you!"), public demand, and widespread changes in the industry, they've been this big monolithic dinosaur covering their ears and eyes whenever someone suggests they change, and now it's coming home to roost. It ain't like Obama told'em flat out, "I hate Pontiac. Get rid of'em." If it's the lowest-selling brand in GM's family, they get the chop. Simple as that.

 

MI-AW370_GMcht_NS_20090424204848.gif

 

Pontiac is not the worst selling GM brand. Have you heard of Saab, Hummer, and Saturn? I can completely understand those brands being sold or cut, but Pontiac is classic. Looking at that chart I see that Pontiac is actually outselling Buick and Cadillac, but those brands stay. The old people and rich people get to keep their brand, but the young people brand is gone. What the hell are you going to buy if you want a cool car now? There is nothing. The way things are going we'll all be driving crap that looks like the Scion.

 

The whole thing is just totally screwed up. GM should have never taken the bailout. It was making a deal with the devil. The brands decline is all on GM, but the death of the brand is on the governments hands. GM wanted to keep Pontiac as a niche brand, but were told to cut it by the B.O. admin. GM should have just went into bankruptcy like the experts said and they would have been in a much better situation right now. I also must say that it's not just GM and Chrysler in hard times, it's the whole industry. The vehicle makers that "supposedly" did things right are getting their asses kicked too. Even Toyota is looking to the Japanese government to bail them out.

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I remember playing trump cards with mates as a kid and there was a Pontiac Firebird in there that was fantastic :tumbsup:

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GM dropped the ball when they made the new GTO. I mean this thing had a Corvette engine in it but it looked just like every other Pontiac out there. If they would have retro-styled the thing and gave it it's own look it would have been "big" I know it would flat out fly but looks count a lot in the car industry.

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Agreed on the GTO, I drove one at a GM event and it was way quick, but the build quality was horrendous (pieces falling off the interior) and it looked like a Cobalt with a hood scoop.

 

Not sure where you're getting the impression that all cars will look like Scions, last post I thought it was all Priuses. It's bogus that the brand you is dying, but to blame the government or to make broad sweeping statements about all cars being hybrids and Obama being the root of it all is reaching at best. Also just because the brand is gone doesn't mean it'll never come back, a number of brands make a comeback in one form or another. They've been talking about downsizing Pontiac to a boutique brand anyway since WAY before the bailout.

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GM pissed alot of Olds fans in 2002 when they dropped Olds and it cost them alot of business relations. They know DAMN WELL if they ever looked at dropping Buick, the white-hairs would flip out. Talking to a friend who works at a GM Dealership, he said that they looked at both Pontiac and Buick and realized the Pontiacs drew in the younger crowd, but the people with MONEY are the older people and they all go for the Buicks. The Younger people will just mumble and shift their interest to the Chevrolet released cars, but if they dropped Buick, the older people would probably just jump ship and buy a different brand.

 

 

Made sense to me....

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Wow, does that mean my 2003 Grand Am GT1 will become a rare collector's item?

 

Time to list it on eBay:

 

"Rare out-of-print 2003 Pontiac Grand Am 48K Miles Ltd. Edition LQQK!!!"

 

:lol:

Don't forget to put some totally unrelated words in the title that might get people to check it out, like "norks" or something... you ship to Australia right? ;)

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Ain't just Pontiac...GM on the whole are toast.Add the greedy f**king workers to the mix these imbeciles pull a nice check and all they do is bitch and run off at the mouth about "losing their benefits","not getting enough $",etc..etc..blah-blah.Then there is the out of touch unions who protect any and all of these morons and won't make concessions ,i know a few assembly workers at GM and alot of 'em are nothing but freakin' babies.

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I've been driving a Pontiac Grand Prix SE coupe for the last 19 years and I just started looking around to replace it (yeah I know it's about time).....I had no plans to get another Pontiac although the new Camaro is very nice.....gas prices are reasonable at the moment but in a few years we'll be paying in blood for gas as oil hits $150+ a barrel.......I'll most likely end up with a hybrid.....anyway I don't understand brand loyalty, you buy what you can afford, what you need , what is the best quality or what best fits your particular situation.....GM needs to restructure in order to survive and if that means dropping Pontiac then so be it, it never made sense to me when they would go to the expense of putting out several similar vehicles under different nameplates....

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Ain't just Pontiac...GM on the whole are toast.Add the greedy f**king workers to the mix these imbeciles pull a nice check and all they do is bitch and run off at the mouth about "losing their benefits","not getting enough $",etc..etc..blah-blah.Then there is the out of touch unions who protect any and all of these morons and won't make concessions ,i know a few assembly workers at GM and alot of 'em are nothing but freakin' babies.

:agree: Reminds me of state and government workers that don't want to hear word one about losing any benefits, hours, pensions, etc., etc., etc. while no one else has that kind of protection.

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Agreed on the GTO, I drove one at a GM event and it was way quick, but the build quality was horrendous (pieces falling off the interior) and it looked like a Cobalt with a hood scoop.

 

Not sure where you're getting the impression that all cars will look like Scions, last post I thought it was all Priuses. It's bogus that the brand you is dying, but to blame the government or to make broad sweeping statements about all cars being hybrids and Obama being the root of it all is reaching at best. Also just because the brand is gone doesn't mean it'll never come back, a number of brands make a comeback in one form or another. They've been talking about downsizing Pontiac to a boutique brand anyway since WAY before the bailout.

 

My uncle owns a 2005 GTO and loves it- build quality, fit and finish are all excellent in his opinion. Among the late model GTO owners I've raced against and/or am friends with, the Australian build quality hasn't been mentioned real prominently either. Other issues such as lack of trunk space and bland styling have been mentioned alot though, esp. among owners of '60s era GTOs I've spoken with....Just a different viewpoint.

 

I don't blame (N)Obama for the death of Pontiac, but the disaster in the making called cap and trade will be his to own IF it passes. This will necessarily lead to a "skyrocketing" (Obama's word choice) of energy costs in the near term, which should just about force the surviving domestic automakers to shift focus entirely onto the design and creation of the little hybrid (and non-hybrid)-look-alike-city-cars that most europeans have been living with post-WWII. Effective for navigating narrow euro streets and mitigating against $8-$12/liter fuel costs, but the trade-off is they're small, underpowered and very uninspiring IMO....There are surely reasonable ways to ramp up the production of greener energy modalites without traumatically killing off the current fuel sources, and the companies who create them, products that utilize them, etc.. And where is the power grid to bring all of the newly created "green" electricity to our cities from the solar and wind farms? Should this not be in place first before govt. considers eliminating, for example, the coal industry? This wouldn't happen overnight, of course, but would occur sooner than later under cap and trade. Further, enviromentalist advocacy groups currently can't even form a consensus re: which Western US desert areas should house arrays of solar panels due to differing enviro. political agendas. So, they're now not only blocking additional drilling of fossil fuels off the coasts of CA, FL and in AK, and the creation of additional nuclear plants, but are also holding up the implementation of a (green) solar energy power source. That's rich!

 

The (N)Obama propaganda machine states that govt. subsidies will help the "low income" deal with the vastly increased energy costs, but I'm very dubious of that proposition. They also said "95% of Americans will receive a tax cut," but now, after barely 3 months, the dems have decided to rescind that aspect of the stimulus bill in order to help pay for the downpayment on the proposed healthcare reform bill. Where does the spending even start to slow down with these guys? Whatever, tax code aside, I believe it's pretty clear, whether one is for or against such, that the current president's energy policies will play a very pivotal role in the automotive landscape going forward.....Not my brand of "hope and change," but that's only my opinion......Jeff.

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Not sure where you're getting the impression that all cars will look like Scions, last post I thought it was all Priuses. It's bogus that the brand you is dying, but to blame the government or to make broad sweeping statements about all cars being hybrids and Obama being the root of it all is reaching at best. Also just because the brand is gone doesn't mean it'll never come back, a number of brands make a comeback in one form or another. They've been talking about downsizing Pontiac to a boutique brand anyway since WAY before the bailout.

 

I wasn't the one who mentioned Prius, but that brand along with Scion are good examples of crap cars that I don't want any part of. I just threw a name out there when I mentioned Scion, but strangely enough that name is relevant to the story. I read an article, that I will try to find later, that talked about GM contemplating making Pontiac their version of the Scion line. The other option was to make it a niche brand. If they were seriously contemplating dragging the Pontiac legacy through the mud even more maybe it's good that they discontinued the brand instead.

 

The government is a major part of the problem. They create impossible high standards for the car companies to follow. Trying to follow the governments rules and dealing with the greedy unions made it almost impossible to make a profit. The only vehicles they were actually making a profit on were the big vehicles like trucks and suvs. When the market fell out they lost their one revenue maker.

 

I think many of you guys are missing the bigger picture. Something isn't right with this picture. Pontiac is the #3 selling brand GM has behind Chevy and GMC. For whatever reason Pontiac isn't profitable. Instead of figuring out why Pontiac isn't profitable their solution is to shut it down. What the hell sense does that make? They just shut down a brand that people are still buying. After diluting the brand and damaging it in ways unimaginable people were still buying it. It almost makes you think someone wanted Pontiac to die.

 

Who knows? Maybe you're right about Obama's admin. GM seemed to have a wish to kill the brand. If Pontiac moved to a niche brand I'm sure they would have kept damaging it until they had an excuse to eliminate it. Obama's admin just sped up the process. I'm sure they felt good about doing it too. Tree huggers don't like muscle cars. They pollute the planet ya know?

 

GM pissed alot of Olds fans in 2002 when they dropped Olds and it cost them alot of business relations. They know DAMN WELL if they ever looked at dropping Buick, the white-hairs would flip out. Talking to a friend who works at a GM Dealership, he said that they looked at both Pontiac and Buick and realized the Pontiacs drew in the younger crowd, but the people with MONEY are the older people and they all go for the Buicks. The Younger people will just mumble and shift their interest to the Chevrolet released cars, but if they dropped Buick, the older people would probably just jump ship and buy a different brand.

 

 

Made sense to me....

 

My aunt, aka adoptive mom, bought a 97' Olds Achieva when it was new. The first 5 or so years we owned it I thought it was a kick ass car. Then the car started falling apart. It had every imaginable problem after that. The car is currently sitting in my Aunt's driveway unable to run and she's wanting to give it to charity. After the nightmarish times I had with that car I can say that I don't care about Olds being gone. I can understand the brand loyalty though. They probably pissed off a lot of people with that move. Getting rid of Pontiac will probably do the same.

 

Ain't just Pontiac...GM on the whole are toast.Add the greedy f**king workers to the mix these imbeciles pull a nice check and all they do is bitch and run off at the mouth about "losing their benefits","not getting enough $",etc..etc..blah-blah.Then there is the out of touch unions who protect any and all of these morons and won't make concessions ,i know a few assembly workers at GM and alot of 'em are nothing but freakin' babies.

 

I completely agree with what you are saying. Those people are too stupid to realize that if concessions aren't made there won't be a company for them to work at. My aunt went through the same type of thing at AA after 911 happened. The people she worked with were smart enough to realize that a smaller check was better than no check at all. What pissed them off was when the CEO tried to make himself a golden parachute. After the workers found out they ousted him.

 

I've been driving a Pontiac Grand Prix SE coupe for the last 19 years and I just started looking around to replace it (yeah I know it's about time).....I had no plans to get another Pontiac although the new Camaro is very nice.....gas prices are reasonable at the moment but in a few years we'll be paying in blood for gas as oil hits $150+ a barrel.......I'll most likely end up with a hybrid.....anyway I don't understand brand loyalty, you buy what you can afford, what you need , what is the best quality or what best fits your particular situation.....GM needs to restructure in order to survive and if that means dropping Pontiac then so be it, it never made sense to me when they would go to the expense of putting out several similar vehicles under different nameplates....

 

The thing is that Pontiac is all of those things to some people. Pontiacs are cool, affordable, and of decent quality. If you want a car that is stylish and has power, but you don't have tons of money you get a Pontiac. If you get a car like the G6 it can give you everything you want and you won't spend insane amounts of money. The other thing is that Pontiac doesn't look like the other cars out there. Olds was a bit like Chevy and Saturn is like a bad version of Chevy, but Pontiac is different. When GM made Pontiac cars the way they were supposed to be made there was nothing else out there like it.

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Wow, does that mean my 2003 Grand Am GT1 will become a rare collector's item?

 

Time to list it on eBay:

 

"Rare out-of-print 2003 Pontiac Grand Am 48K Miles Ltd. Edition LQQK!!!"

 

:lol:

:rofl2:

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  • 1 month later...
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...if the Obungle admin gets their way you'll all be riding around in retard'o mobiles looking like an ass-clown in your little box on wheels.Im sure they'd like nothing more than to see the V8 engine go the way of the dinosaur.

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