By on June 18, 2009

The GM/Toyota partnership known as NUMMI builds but one vehicle for GM: the Pontiac Vibe. And it will continue to do so. Until the end of August, that is. GM’s announced that’s when they’ll cease production of the Toyota Matrix’ platform mate at the California plant. The press release states “While no replacement for Vibe production has been determined, GM and Toyota remain in active discussions regarding potential future production at NUMMI.” What’s next for NUMMI?

Toyota will keep producing Corollas and Tacomas there, but GM is in talks with three states about facilities to produce their next small car instead of letting NUMMI do it.

So what do you think? Will GM build another Corolla-based car there? (Coradillac?) Or will GM use its bankrupt status to walk away and dump NUMMI on Toyota? And if GM walks, will Toyota cut costs by moving Tacoma and Corolla production somewhere else with lower (i.e., non-UAW) labor costs?

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36 Comments on “Bye-Bye, Vibe...”


  • avatar
    DrX

    Saw a report on one of the bay area news networks last night that Toyota was considering building Prius’ at NUMMI.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    You mean Corodillac? Caddy’s reputation has never been so tarnished…

    Couldn’t resist.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    More like the poor Corolla’s reputation thats tarnished!

  • avatar

    If they are going to rebadge anything they might as well sell Chevy Tacomas. The Colorado is a weak entry in the small pickup market.

  • avatar
    MBella

    That wouldn’t be the worst idea carguy622. It would help Chevy get some reputation back they lost with the Colorado.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    +1 carguy622, the Colorado is not competitive.

    But, I suspect this is simply the end of GM’s involvement in Nummi. For the sake of California, I hope Toyota keeps the plant going. GM has really not been involved in Nummi for many, many years.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    The Vibe was another half-baked idea that actually made a little sense. This wasn’t the first time that GM took a Corolla and badged it as their own (see 1986 Chevy Nova). I got why Toyota and GM converged back in the 80′s; it was a win-win for both of them, but I got to wonder what Toyota actually got out of this deal with Pontiac to poop out the Vibe. I’m still reeling from the Honda V6 GM forced on Saturn for its Red-Line VUE a couple of years ago. GM must have had some kind of leverage but I can’t think of what.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    +1 bluecon
    They might not even need the Corolla production and the Tacoma is not a high sales vehicle which they also build in Mexico.

    The Toyota involvement in NUMMI was for political considerations. It was to teach GM how to make small cars, so they’d quit whining to Congress, et al.

    If Toyota is cutting production (and they are) and they don’t need the Matrix (and they don’t)…. why keep it?

    Still the plant might survive for political reasons – closing it will make the news faster than a closure elsewhere, and it would allow the UAW to !@$%!% about the Japanese again.

  • avatar
    BDB

    It will produce the 2011 Chevy Volt, which will turn into a re-badged Prius. Hey, stranger things have happened!

  • avatar

    What are the murky details of NUMMI, anyway?
    They call it a 50/50 joint venture, but in reality everything there is Toyota.
    It’s been a nice way for Toyota to make a profit on GM vehicles.

    I say: make the Prius there, and let me pick one up at the factory gate, minus delivery and dealer margin.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I would say that GM will walk away from the NUMMI deal and do what the imports did – seek big tax breaks and a UAW free workforce in the south east.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Dolorean: The way I heard it, Honda got Isuzu diesels for other markets in exchange.

    I like the first gen Vibe, and it would be at the top of my list (along with another interesting orphan – the Saabaru) if I needed a used car (in that acid green or orange with manual wind-up windows). If you squint to get past some of the styling awkwardness (Aztec genes) and can get comfy in the driver’s seat, it can be pretty sporty with a stick, I imagine like a dull Mini or Fit. And it would probably last almost forever. I’m not saying collectible, but I would not be surprised if it started holding its value.

    If you like cars, you should visit NUMMI in Fremont CA for a free tour.

  • avatar
    wiggles

    The best GM small cars came out of NUUMI. Prizms are still popular used as corolla alternatives, but at a cheaper price. We had a 99 prizm, bulletproof. Don’t know why anyone would have bought a cavalier or saturn sl back then.
    I drove the first generation Vibe GT with the hyper motor and it was damn fun. No torque, but fun to rev. Pontiac never promoted the Vibe much, too bad. I’ve rather see GM sell re-badged Matrixes/corollas than re-badged Daepoos (Daewoos).

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    dolorean23: If I remember the Honda swap was for something with the old CART engines. The V6 Vue is actually one of GM’s most reliable drivtrains.

    The Vibe is actually sought after in the pre-owned market and hold their value very well.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Toyota has non-union factory in Cambridge, Ontario. It produces Corolla, Corolla hatchback (aka Matrix), and the only ‘fancy Toyota’ outside of Japan (aka Lexus RX and it’s Hybrid). Also Toyota makes RAV4 (In Woodstock, Ontario).

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    G8? Gone. Vibe? Gone. Lets all make a list of GM’s best vehicles and wait how long it takes for these guys to kill them.

  • avatar

    Lokki:
    If Toyota is cutting production (and they are) and they don’t need the Matrix (and they don’t)…. why keep it?

    As Bimmer points out, Toyota makes the Matrix in Canada, not California.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Don’t you all remember Elmer W. Johnsons’ memo? He mentioned NUMMI specifically as a good thing but also a place where GM was not taking the lessons and applying them to their other plants. So as GMs zombie shuffles off into the sunset, of course the zombie’s classroom where it could NOT learn the lessons it needed to learn, comes to its whimpering end.

  • avatar
    instant rebate

    GM plants/vehicles and where they are made:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_GM_factories

  • avatar
    Shogun

    I feel sorry for having Toyota get the short end of the stick. All the GM-sourced Toyotas flopped in Japan (Toyota Cavalier/Voltz), which did not compensate for having Pontiac offer a decent car.

    I may not like Toyota, but this is just unfair for them.

  • avatar
    McDoughnut

    Explain to me again why Toyota is in bed with GM at this factory…?

  • avatar

    McDoughnut: The original idea was that Toyota would gain some US manufacturing capacity and GM would learn Toyota’s lean manufacturing method.

    Honda opened its first US plant in 1982. Toyota’s first US plant opened in 1986, so Toyota saw NUMMI as an opportunity to get in a little sooner.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    The vibe was one of the better cars GM sold, I rented one and liked it.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    A sub-BLS Corolla-based Caddy? Uh, no thanks.

    At least the G6 will be sold to fleets for 2010, so that’s the last Pontiac to be built, I think.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    The Toyota involvement in NUMMI to teach GM how to make small cars. LOL FAIL!

    A Corollac (Cimmaron II?) would likely be the most reliable and quality built vehicle ever sold through a Caddy dealer ship.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    The Vibe was one of the better cars in the Pontiac lineup, and I always thought the styling was a bit nicer than the Matrix as well (plus, the better deals as a used car didn’t hurt).

    As stated above, GM somehow striking a deal with Toyota to have the Tacoma rebadges as a Chevy would be a great deal for GM. The Tundra can’t really hold a candle to the Silverado (much less the F150) in the full size pickup market, but the Tacoma is perhaps the best compact pickup currently sold in the US. If gas prices keep shooting up and stay up this time, the market for compact pickups vs fullsize might be something GM should seriously invest in.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    carguy:
    I would say that GM will walk away from the NUMMI deal and do what the imports did – seek big tax breaks and a UAW free workforce in the south east.

    That’s an excellent idea. Which is why it’ll never happen.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    The Vibe was one of the better cars in the Pontiac lineup, and I always thought the styling was a bit nicer than the Matrix as well

    Ditto. Too bad about the funky driving position, which they fixed in Gen II….which is uglier.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    GM absolutely astounds me. The Vibe was probably the best car sold in any of it’s dealerships. And now they have killed it. It is a strange world.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    People have bemoaning GM’s brand diluting rebadges for 30 years. Good riddance. Another ugly rehash badge whoring “offering in the segment” from GM via whatever venue is gone.

    Spiking all the rebadges is what everyone has been demanding of GM. Now it’s a “bad” idea ?

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Good riddance to the bloated Vibe. It’s interior is soo blah hard and stark, the driving position sucks, it’s dog slow with automatic, the engines are very noisy, it doesn’t offer some of the things you would expect in a modern day car like a std trip computer or a telescoping wheel, Air conditioning is optional and power windows are extra cost plus it’s ugly as sin, especially with the bloated plain 2009 model.

  • avatar
    solo84

    When the first generation Vibe made its debut, there was a GT version with the 1.8 from the Celica and a 6-speed manual transmission.

    EASILY was the funnest Pontiac that i had driven for the past few years as a GMC/Pontiac/Buick lot attendant.

    RIP Vibe. Your potential was never truly realized.

  • avatar
    akear

    I drove a vibe once and was surprised how noisy and unrefined it sounded. I asked the dealer if was something was wrong with this particular Vibe and he said no. It sounded as coarse as a Quad four.

    I won’t miss it, and judging by average sales not many other people will miss it either.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Wow. That’s their most productive plant. Shame.

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    Calling the Vibe(or Matrix) ‘bloated’ is misplaced.
    The whole point of the car is to provide ample space in an otherwise small car format.
    The high roof, high seating position, wide opening hatch and fold flat seats and great outward visibility make for a very nice daily car.
    It’s not for enthusiasts who equate cramped seating and narrow windows to be good design.
    Unfortuantely, the 2nd generation Matrix/Vibe has a tighter front seat and smaller windows and sits lower.
    One of the design reps for Toyota boasted about the 2nd gen’s more steeply curving ‘coupe-like’ roof. WTF?
    Talk about working against the car’s basic reason for existence.
    It’s as stupid as making a men’s size 10 shoe smaller and narrower in a quest for “sportiness”.
    Well, then it’s a 9 narrow after the re-design.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    Yes, the Vibe drivetrain is a bit louder than I’d like, but it’s no different than the Matrix or Corolla (same engine, same trannies, same sound deadening materials). Considering the relative success of the Corolla and Matrix over the same period, I’d have to say that wasn’t much of an issue to buyers. Remember: This wasn’t a Lexus, it was an econobox Toyota with kidney grill.

    And to second another posters point, the Vibe holds it’s resale value better than most every other GM product…so obviously, a lot of people value it. The only things “GM” about it are the styling cues, the battery and the alternator. Even the coolant is Toyota pink…no DEXCOOL (good, very good). Though there seems to a bit of misperception here about what the Vibe exactly is/was, I think the resale market understands that the vehicle is a solid choice. Way to go GM…you continue to impress all with your “Bizarro World” business model.


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