Yup, there it was, buried in an Automotive News [AN, sub] story announcing that Pontiac dealers aren't going to get a Trans Am version of the new Chevrolet Camaro. You know, the Canadian-built rear wheel-drive muscle car that's due out this spring. Sorry, I mean fall. Winter. OK, February '09. Anyway, GM told a meeting of B-P-G (Buick, Pontiac, GMC) dealers that "new legislation requiring vehicles to reach a fleet average of 35 mpg by 2020" has plucked the screaming chicken. In fact, Pontiac "might not end up as GM's performance division." [NB: I think that means that none of GM's eight U.S. brands gets a performance remit.] "The plan is being tweaked because of the gas situation," revealed Lynn Thompson, owner of Thompson Motor Sales in Springfield, Mo. "I hope they don't give up on performance because they don't have to. You can use four-cylinder engines to achieve incredible power." To placate any B-P-G dealer deluded enough to expect something roughly akin to coherent branding from GM, the American automaker also announced that they're unleashing 12 new or special-edition vehicles over the next 20 months. (Sneak peak! Get ready for a special-edition GMC Sierra pickup called "Pro Grade.") In case you're wondering what separates a Pontiac from a Chevy, Buick or Saturn (or anything else) now that the former "We Build Excitement" division isn't building excitement, I have no idea. Does anyone?
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