By on November 25, 2009

So this is how it ends (courtesy:marketingmag.ca)

Pontiac was declared “officially almost all the way dead” at about 12:45 p.m. today, when a white, G6 sedan rolled off the assembly line in Orion Township. The Detroit News reports a distinct lack of “cake or commemorative banner or senior GM official on hand.” Media was not invited. The DetN notes:

Unlike the last Oldsmobile, an Alero signed by hundreds of plant workers and donated to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing, the final G6 models will be sold as part of a fleet order.

Nearly unbelievably, Pontiac’s “officially official” demise will be even more depressing: a Mexico-built G3 Wave (neé Aveo) to be sold to a lucky Canadian. For real.

[Hat Tip: supremebrougham]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

57 Comments on “Pontiac Is Still Dead...”


  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Come on Orion workers, give us the VIN for the last one, I want to know if I’m experiencing a historical moment at Enterprize.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Well, a F-U right back at you GM.

    • 0 avatar
      no_slushbox

      It’s actually a favor to the Pontiac legacy that GM is being quiet about the fact that the last Pontiacs ever made will be a G6 and G3.

      On the other hand, if GM did have any decency the last Pontiac ever made would have been a Solstice Targa GXP, and it would have gone in a museum.  But, well, GM doesn’t.

  • avatar
    Hank

    If they can’t even appreciate their own heritage, why should anyone else?   It’s a true slap to the face of thousands of workers, customers, and enthusiasts.  And that’s just the rebadged Aveo.  The lack of honor to those at the Orion plant is truly pathetic.  But I suppose this all goes without saying, doesn’t it?

  • avatar

    This is appropriate in that it illustrates how Pontiac got to this point – corporate neglect, fleet cars and rebadged Chevrolet econoboxes.

  • avatar
    littlehulkster

    My roommate just got a G6 and it’s a surprisingly not bad car. I still wouldn’t put it up against the true tops of the midsize segment, but it’s a huge improvement over the Grand Am, and it has it’s virtues. Cavernous interior space being one of the chief among those.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @littlehulkster: don’t let that get out! You wouldn’t want to ruin so many people’s misperceptions of the G6! You know, everything from GM/Pontiac bad, anyone else good!
       

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      We drove a rented G6 GT (from Hertz) to Nevada and back to western WA; it was a much more enjoyable drive than the 07 Impala or 09 Camry we rented for other similar trips. It had plenty of room inside, comfortable seats, and decent handling.

    • 0 avatar
      superbadd75

      The G6 isn’t (wasn’t?) a terrible car, and it’s definitely worlds better than the Grand Am, but it’s still not a real competitor in the midsize segment. Poor steering feel, interior materials that were of questionable (at best) quality, and build quality on par with ’80s GM. In general though, it was just an example of what put GM where they are today.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I have a 2009 G6 Sport Sedan (or some such nomenclature). It has the 2.4 Ecotec and the six speed automanual, power everything, OnStar, XM radio, heated leather seats, 17″ wheels, sunroof, etc… On a fresh motor (<5000 miles) we were getting freeway mileage in the low 30′s, and plenty of power for passing with the car loaded up with people and luggage. 
    The car has plenty of room for my nearly full grown children, rides comfortably and I can’t complain. I’ve always liked the looks of the G6 over the other Epsilons, but I was never crazy about the name. The could have called it Ventura or Catalina or Phoenix even.
    But if this is part of the last of the Pontiacs, I think it is representing the brand rather well.

  • avatar
    littlehulkster

    Well, that said, if I wanted a 4 door sedan, I would go straight for the 05-09 Subaru Legacy GT without so much as a sideways glance at anything else.
     
    My friend didn’t want a hotrod, though, so the G6 should be perfectly adequate for his needs.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    This just in:  Generalissimo Franco is still dead!”  Of course, any similarity in the time they lived, and the time it took them to die lingering deaths is purely coincidental.
     

  • avatar
    mtypex

    GM never cared about Saturn (Roger Smith’s baby) and Pontiac was 1) an “offshoot brand” of Oakland and 2) the rogue elephant in the room compared to Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac, and all of GM’s other fine staid/boring/old man products.
    I think now they at least kinda realize that Buicks and Cadillacs need to appeal to people under 70.

  • avatar
    Hank

    Gee, our ol’ La Salle ran great.  Think they’ll kill it off, too?

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    What I would like to know is what model of G6 was the last one??? Was it a base G6, or perhaps a G6 V6, or maybe a G6 GT. Or then again it could have been a G6 V6 GT, and let’s not forget that there was a G6 V6 GTC. And lastly, there is the slight chance that it could have been a G6 V6 GXP.
     
    I think we have just figured out why Pontiac had um, “issues” in it’s final days…
     
    And, FWIW, about a month ago I tried out a G6 V6, and aside from the awful plastics used on the door panels, it really wasn’t a bad driving car.
     
    Rest in peace Pontiac.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Personally, I found the G6 relatively atrractive on the outside. Especially considering it comes from the house of body cladding and screaming hood chickens.

    Had one as a rental for a coupla weeks, and the interior didn’t look too bad. Materials were horrible though-  vents had to made of the cheapest plastic known to man.  Then there’s the even-BMW-quit-using-it-in-the-80s-because-it-sucks-red-lighting…

    Like many things GM, if only they had put some effort into building a quality product…

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      Could you actually see out of the thing to drive it?  I had a G6 inflicted upon me by a rental company once.  I am on the short side and the car had the base interior with no height adjustment on the seat.  I am amazed I did not kill anyone.  It was an exercise in faith-based driving.  You PRAYED there wasn’t a car in the lane to the right when you merged.  You HOPED the A-pillar wasn’t blocking the sight line to a pedestrian about to walk across your path.

    • 0 avatar
      Gottleib

      “Then there’s the even-BMW-quit-using-it-in-the-80s-because-it-sucks-red-lighting…”
      I didn’t know that, BMW is now off my list of “one day I will buy one.”
      I always wondered why all manufactures didn’t use red lighting since it is known to help night vision.
       

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      Visibility isn’t just a problem with new GMs, though, it’s a problem with everything. My stalwart old 99 Impreza is racking up the miles and it’s automatic is starting to break. (Don’t hate, when you want a Subaru for 5 grand in the Rockies, you can’t be too picky)
       
      I’ve been looking for a replacement and it’s astonishing to me how bad the visibility is out of every newer car I’ve tried. It’s like you’re sitting in a gun turret, especially when you compare it to the greenhouse that is my 99 wagon.
      I just hope I can find a Legacy GT local with a manual transmission before I have to settle.

  • avatar
    kovachian

    It’s just like when the last Cavalier was built, it got nary a sniffle or a whimper. No cake, no signing, no nothing. They just put the last bolt in, clocked out and went home.
    It’s pretty fitting really, only a few people give a crap about Pontiac. Sure, the diehard fans will mourn indefinitely, but the rest of the world will keep on spinning.
     
     

  • avatar
    jnik

    Has GM no sense of decency, at long last?  Well, nope.
    Any guesses on what the last SAAB will be?

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Lame end for a great brand.
     

  • avatar
    don1967

    Pontiac’s “officially official” demise will be even more depressing: a Mexico-built G3 Wave (neé Aveo) to be sold to a lucky Canadian. For real.
     
    A fitting end to an ignominious brand.   For the last 30 years, Pontiac has been the underachieving poseur of the automotive world… low-quality farm implements hiding under acres of gaudy plastic spoilers and moldings.
     
    This Canadian’s first car was a Pontiac, and it was undeniably the worst piece of automotive crap I have every owned.   When the endless repair bills failed to kill me, the defective brakes nearly did.   I fell into the arms of Honda, Nissan, and (most recently) Hyundai, and have never looked back.

  • avatar
    nevets248

    WOW, no photo-op for the GM media queen, Susan “Hummer” Docherty? Sad end to a great nameplate (historically speaking). I am suprised they didn’t invite Lynn Meyer’s to drive the last G6 off of the assembly line!

  • avatar
    thalter

    Having rented various Epsilon cars over the years (G6, Aura, Malibu) over the years, non of them are bad cars (save for some cheap interior bits), and I certainly don’t avoid them at the rental lot.  However, none of them are great cars either, and I would still take an Accord or Fusion over one (but not a Camry, which also surprisingly has some rather cheap interior bits).

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Correct my wrongness B&B but I thought the last Oldsmobile was a Bravada.  It pissed me off at the time because I came from an Oldsmobile family and hated the fact that the last of a great car brand was a TRUCK.  I completely understood the line from, A Christmas Story, when Ralphie reminisces, “Some men are Catholics, others Baptists, my father was an Oldsmobile man.”
     
    My MIL had a G6 (not bad but I thought the V6 was kind of gutless for it’s displacement) which she recently traded for a Torrent.  She bought the Torrent cause she was thinking about an CUV but thought the Terrain was too GD ugly.  My girlfriend has a Vibe.  I do not mourn the passing of Pontiac save the G8 but I would have mourned a car that freaking awesome for that price point regardless of what brand it was.
     
    That is the true test, is there any Pontiacs you would mourn if they were dying models anywhere else?

    • 0 avatar
      davey49

      The Torrent was the old design, she should have gone for the Terrain or Equinox.
      I know people who were upset that the Sunfire, Grand Am and Bonneville no longer existed but none of the Gx models. The Sunfire was loved and if you told a Sunfire owner that they were driving a Cavalier you’d be starting a fight.
      The G8 is awesome but it might be easier to move to Australia than expect it back in the US

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Styling sold the CUV, what can I say.  She also bought a FWD model instead of an AWD model, I teased her that she basically had bought the modern equivalent of the 1985 Celebrity wagon she had once upon a time.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      Aw goddammit, it got me again. (repost for lack of edit function)
      ______________________________________________
      Dan, iirc the last Oldsmobile was a maroon Alero 4-door sedan. I remember there being a lot of (accurate) commentary that it was fitting for the last Olds to be a car that most people rented rather than bought.
      I had a red on red 1980 Firebird Formula that I enjoyed a lot. And, a long time ago there was a 57 Star Chief hardtop, bronze and white with leather seats. The only real problem with that car was that at ten years of age it needed a full restoration.

  • avatar
    MasterOfTheJawan

    This just re-enforces what we already knew. GM management didn’t care about the pontiac brand which is why for it’s last 30 years of it’s life it was stuck with almost nothing but chevy hand-me-downs.

    To see my case compare pontiacs last 10

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Oldsmobile went down swinging with cars that were completely unique to them (Alero, Intrigue & Aurora). Pontiac has been dead for years with nothing , for the most part, but rebadged Chevy’s. The biggest turd on wheels, also known as the Aveo/G3 was the last straw.

    Pontiac was a great marque back in the sixties and early seventies. Their market strength and prowess is evidenced by the fact, that inspite of GM’s best laid, head up their a$$, attempt to completely destroy the brand,  it survived another 35 years.

    Pontiac, what you were will be missed but not what you were forced to become; RIP!

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I don’t see how the final Oldsmobile lineup was “completely unique”:

      The Alero was a N-body car just like the Grand Am (both offered the same engines) and Malibu of the time.
      The Intrigue was a W-body that slotted in between the Grand Prix and Regal in terms of its target audience. The Intrigue did eventually have the LX5 V6 unique to it, although it started out with the 3800 just like all its W-body siblings.
      The Bravada was a Trailblazer/Envoy rebadge.
      The Silhouette was a blatant U-body grill swap.
      The Aurora was a unique Oldsmobile product.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      Ajla:

      Mostly by appearance, they looked nothing like their GM siblings and were marketed in a more “unique” manner; there was a directed attempt to hide the GM/Oldsmobile association and sell the Aurora as an “Aurora”.

      As for the Grand Am/ Alero connection, I drove both back then and felt the Alero was a huge improvement in driving, handling, quality of materials etc. as compared to the Grand Am which felt more like GM rental fodder. I don’t doubt that the underpinings were the same but you would never have known it by the driving experience.

      I know about the Bravada and the Silhouette, that’s why I didn’t include them.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    “Then there’s the even-BMW-quit-using-it-in-the-80s-because-it-sucks-red-lighting…”
    I didn’t know that, BMW is now off my list of “one day I will buy one.”
    I always wondered why all manufactures didn’t use red lighting since it is known to help night vision.
     
    @Gottlieb,

    Actually that mythology was quashed in the 70′s/80′s (depending on who we’re talking about).

    Swedish, US, and most other militaries quit using red lit instrumentation 20+ years ago.  There are still times when you may find yourself in a red lit room- but that’s more psyche than anything else.

    Think about this. The full spectrum of visible light ranges from infra-red to ultraviolet.
    The human eyes and brain are wired to process that entire spectrum. Processing just one tiny slice of that spectrum, especially one off towards the end, is not very effective. 

    As far as instruments go, the higher the contrast, the easier the brain can see and process. White needle on black dial, and some different combos of blue/green VF backlighting have been tested to be the most effective. Google it up, well tested in the military/automotive design world. 

    @MadHungarian,

    I’m 6′ and the visibility was horrid. Worse than most cars, but I like weird cars. Some of which have almost no visibility. Guess I don’t pay too much attention to that shortcoming. I just dealt with it. But yeah, visibility sucked. Bad.

  • avatar
    NickR

    the final G6 models will be sold as part of a fleet order.

    Well, there you have it folks.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Joe McKinney is hereby given the TTAC ‘Quote of the Week’ arbitrarily given by the opinionated author writing this sentence. Well done!

  • avatar
    ott

    Oldsmobile went down swinging with cars that were completely unique to them (Alero, Intrigue & Aurora). Pontiac has been dead for years with nothing , for the most part, but rebadged Chevy’s. The biggest turd on wheels, also known as the Aveo/G3 was the last straw.

    Actually, the Alero was a Grand Am twin so it was not unique to Olds, nor was the Silhouette, or the Bravada. And as for Pontiac, I haven’t seen any Chevy Solstices, or a Chevy G8 or a Chevy G6 for that matter.  As I’ve said before, it’s just plain sad that there wasn’t any effort expended at trying to save Pontiac, but people are up in arms over Saab’s possible demise.

  • avatar
    50merc

    What chowderheads. “the final G6 models will be sold as part of a fleet order.” If GM had slapped some fancy decals or two-tone paint on the last few hundred, those cars could have been sold as “collectibles” for full list price.
    Good to hear some nice things about the G6 for a change. If they depreciate severely the cars might be good choices for cheap transportation–kind of like the “program car” Dodge Spirits back in the day.  But I always hated red lighting for instruments. With Pontiac dead, will only Mazda be left using that silly gimmick?

  • avatar
    Monty

    Maybe it’s just my perception, or perhaps I really do see this, but in Canada, there seems to be as many Pontiacs on the road as there are Chevrolets. I think Canadians buy a larger percentage of Pontiacs than our southern neighbours, so in Canada, the killing of the Pontiac brand is going to bite GM where the sun don’t shine.

    Eliminating one of the two core value big-selling nameplates without making any obvious plans to move those customers to another in-house brand will cut into desperately needed sales. By all means, delete Pontiac; GM doesn’t need two value brands. But some effort should have been made to lure all those Pontiac consumers to the local Chevrolet dealer, and I have seen nothing that indicates GM is attempting to attract these orphaned buyers into other dealers. All that GM is going to do is alienate loyal Pontiac drivers. 

  • avatar
    NickR

    Monty…well the website redirects them to a Chevy. Funny, they haven’t completely erased the G8 or G6 from the website yet.

    If you do a search on G8, you can get to a post about the launch of the G8 GTP (waaaaay back in February).

    Doing the same thing you can get to a defunct G6 configurator. Strange.

    In any event, I’d be curious to know if GM embarked on any sort of a blitz to Pontiac owners, encouraging them to move to Chev when they were shopping for a new car. Anyone know?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Maybe it’s just my perception, or perhaps I really do see this, but in Canada, there seems to be as many Pontiacs on the road as there are Chevrolets.
     
    A lot of that has to do with the way GM structured it’s dealer network here.  The Buick/<strike>Pontiac</strike>/GMC vs Chevy/<strike>Olds</strike> channel was established years before the US firm tried the same.  It was done so that GM could, effectively, sell twice as many cars in what is a small market by playing a brand shell game.
     
    It wasn’t uncommon, in many Canadian towns and cities, to see a Chevy dealer across the street from a Pontiac/GMC one.  In larger centres, the concentration reached silly levels (there are four Toyota dealers in the west of  Toronto; there were twenty GM variants in about the same) and while it did move volume, it also eroded GM and it’s dealer’s profit margins as you had so much space to bargain.
     
    In the last few years, it wasn’t uncommon to see Waves blown out for under CA$10K and Montanas for CA$15K (Vibes, interestingly, usually went for very little under, if not a little over, sticker; they were the only nonpremium GM cars that Canadians didn’t have to be bribed to buy).  I can’t see that GM was making any money on those sales, and I question the management culture that leads them to build a house of cards such that it’s better to produce and lose money than to cut back and sell at a profit.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    I agree that GM could have made a little hoopla about the final Pontiac, but they have shown themselves to be complete and utter boneheads in all things. As I’ve written on here before, I own a Pontiac, a 2006 GTO. It is one of the best cars I have owned, and I have owned from BMW to Volvo (no Audi or Zonda yet, so I can’t get “A” to “Z”!)  If only GM had taken the Holden designs earlier and built a unique line of Pontiac cars. If only. (Yeah I know, it would have been too little too late anyway.)
     
    My car “collection”  swings back and forth between foreign and domestics. Right now it looks more like the island of misfit GM cars: a Pontiac (GTO), an Oldsmobile (Alero), and a Cadillac (body on frame Fleetwood,baby!) Oh and a 5 year old Jeep Grand Cherokee as the odd one out. They all run well too, with no problems.

  • avatar
    mungooz

    Sadly, when we lost Oldsmobile, we lost the last chance to ever again see “The Cadillac of Minivans” produced in the US.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Always liked Pontiac style, not sure why they, Chevy and Saturn couldn’t all effectively divy up the US market with unique offerings.

    I for one can’t read a red lit dash very well…not sure why every manufacturer can’t offer mycolor.

  • avatar
    don1967

    If GM had slapped some fancy decals or two-tone paint on the last few hundred, those cars could have been sold as “collectibles” for full list price.
     
    This would be hysterically funny, but then again if people will buy tonail clippings on eBay I suppose anything’s possible.

  • avatar
    50merc

    don1967, those in marketing must always keep in mind that the bell curve has just as many people on the left side as there are on the right side. I’m appalled at the idea of an Aveo with giant windshield decals, twenty-inch wheels and a whale tail, but there are folks who like that sort of thing.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    I had a G6 (note:  HAD).  In the beginning, it was a fine car for what I paid for it ($13K w/3.5l V6)…but then crap starting going wrong.  Fit & finish sucked, started to really notice oddball gaps in doors, hood, trunk.  Belt line trim failed on rear passenger door (ie, it just started peeling off on it’s own).  Front bumper paint began to fade (and I’m a waxin’ machine).  Interior was the worst of any car I’ve ever owned…a sea of hard black plastic.  Paint failed on two to of the wheels due to brake dust (yes, I washed, waxed and rotated on a regular basis).  Rattles in rear windows.  GM’s notorious ISS (intermediate steering shaft) problem…banging when you turn…that I had to fix myself with white lithium grease, yogaesque contortions and numerous F-bombs.
    The only (ONLY) redeeming quality of this car, IMO, was the fine old-school 3.5l they put in the ’06 model (can’t vouch for the 3.6l in the ’07+).  I could set the cruise control at 75mph, crank up the A/C and still get 30mpg while traveling over mountain passes.  Fairly smooth, responsive in spite of the A/T and miserly to boot.  But all the other shortcomings were too much to overcome…she went up for sale at $8999 w/49K and I had a cash buyer within 2 days.  Don’t miss it a bit, either.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India