By on October 27, 2013

Our friends at Jalopbik covered this the other day, but it’s worth a repeat.

In the interview shown above, former GM poobah Bob Lutz makes any number of fairly interesting and/or outrageous claims, but the one most likely to rustle the jimmies out there is his assertion that the Pontiac brand was closed according to Federal diktat.

The Feds basically wanted to get GM down to Cadillac and Chevrolet. They said, “you don’t need all these brands. You need one prestige brand, and one mass-market brand.” And we said “well we can’t get rid of Buick because Buick is important in China, and if Buick becomes an orphan in the United States then the Chinese are no longer gonna be interested in it.” And the Feds said “Fair enough, but everything else goes.”

…[T]he Feds said “yeah, let’s just, how much money have you made on pontiac in the last 10 years?” and the answer was “nothing.” So, it goes. And, when the guy who is handing you the check for 53 billion dollars says I don’t want pontiac, drop pontiac or you don’t get the money, it doesn’t take you very long to make up your mind.

The entire discussion can be seen in the video starting at the two hour and fourteen-minute mark. So there you have it: the government might not have killed the 100-MPG carburetor or the flying car, but they certainly killed Pontiac. That is, if you have total faith in Mr. Lutz’s recollection of events.

Another interesting tidbit from the TL;DW video: the sole purpose of the CTS-V wagon was to raise the car’s profile in Europe. “Wagons radically outsell four-door sedans in Europe,” Lutz notes, “you rarely see a four-door sedan any more.” (According to various reports, wagons make up between 20 and 25 percent of most model mixes in Europe, with lower-cost brands like Skoda seeing as much as 25 percent penetration.) It doesn’t really matter if Bob’s Impressions Of Europe are correct: the CTS-V wagon made its bones in the United States just fine.

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197 Comments on “Lutz: Feds Asked GM To Drop Pontiac...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This being Lutz I’m half surprised he didn’t tell us that the order came after GM told the Feds that they would be dropping that alphanumeric crap for Pontiac and the G3 would be renamed “Chief Little Turtle.”

    (Hey so it’s weak comedy but you name another famous member of the Pontiac tribe.)

  • avatar
    snakebit

    I just got back yesterday from a Boston classic/special interest auto show featuring ‘ orphan’ makes, like Olds, Pontiac, Hudson, etc.

    After seeing the Pontiacs (late model GTO’s, G8′s, and older ones), if it were my decision, I would have left Buick to the Chinese, and done a better marketing job with the handful of good Pontiac models that were competitive but which the public never got the word. You can offer a topnotch product, but changing the public perception when you’ve been infamous for selling only junk the past 15 years is tough to turn around. I place cars like the late model GTO and G8 as cars GM should be proud of, and all they’ve done by eliminating Pontiac is given the the used car market great product. Hopefully, the Buick/GMC dealers will understand this and buy up some examples for their certfied preowned programs.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      There was no reason GM couldn’t have simply folded Pontiac’s good products under the Chevy flag.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Like which ones? Chevy’s getting the Holden (SS), was there something else?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The Holden Commodore/Pontiac G8 should have been brought back as a Buick as it is sold in China, not a Chevrolet for the virtually non-existent “four door” Corvette buyer. Customers in the faux sedan-coupe segment are already awash in expensive fastbacks to choose from, and most of those are in the more upscale brands. I see none of those type of buyers stepping foot in Chevrolet dealer with warmed over Daewoo Matizes and the ‘merica truck crowd. While models like Verano are a bright spot, Buick’s lineup is barely relevant. A real car would have brought traffic into the showrooms.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            A Buick version of the G8 would render Cadillac irrelevant.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            One could argue Cadillac is already there, but in response to your thought Cadillac’s current lineup does not offer something of that size and type of drivetrain. I don’t see the typical CTS/ATS buyer leaving the Cadillac dealership and buying the Buick “Commodore”. I do see buyers in the Buick price range leaving the BPG and buying the Hyundai Genesis/KIA 90000 when its released.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I think the G8 wearing a Buick badge would fit in pretty well with the angular styling of Cadillac. And Buick can make an interior as nice as anything Cadillac has. So it would be a viable alternative to the likes of the CTS, which is getting pretty expensive.

            And consider that with the V8 available, it would appeal to performance-oriented customers at a price point lower than what Cadillac will give you with a V6.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree, TMA1.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Commodore and Falcon have both outlived their usefulness.

            But if you really want a Commodore to drive on US roads, then head on over to your Chevy dealer and order an SS.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            The product plan in place before the financial crisis included big RWD flagships for Chevy and Buick, and an ATS platform mate for Pontiac.

            We had a Middle East Caprice running around with the Ultra V8, which was to replace the Northstar and provide an uplevel engine for the Lambda crossovers.

            It was good looking, especially in 2008.
            The product renaissance created by Lutz was beginning to bear fruit and is the source of GM’s current great quality products.

          • 0 avatar
            rpol35

            If I’m not mistaken, it does or it did in China; I believe it is/was marketed as the Lucerne.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Pch

            Maybe, maybe not, as the model is still being sold internationally and the Holden Caprice is still being sold as a police model in the US.

            @doctor olds

            Thank you for shedding some light here Doc, I would have liked to have seen Lutz’s grand scheme unfold. I’m sure it would have been 100% better than what actually happened. You’ve also shed light on the the sadly underpowered Lambda, a V8 option on Enclave and Cadillac version with one standard actually would have made better sense.

            @rpol35

            Evidently a LWB version is sold in China as the Park Avenue.

            From Wikipedia:

            The Statesman and Caprice are essentially long-wheelbase variants of the Commodore range, and as of 2006, were the largest rear-wheel drive sedans offered by GM. Internationally, Statesmans and Caprices are sold as the Buick Park Avenue, the Chevrolet Caprice, the Bitter Vero and the Daewoo Veritas. Previously, Statesmans have been badged as the Buick Royaum and Daewoo Statesman.

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

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Buick Park Avenue in China was a variant of the last Holden Caprice (which itself is a variant of the Commodore.) But if I am not mistaken, there is no Chinese variant of the new Commodore.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You may be correct on no new variant, on the Buick China website its being called Boulevard in the Google translation and is still being sold. Incidentally the jump image when the page loaded was a Buick Encore.

            Under the Encore’s heading one of the translations read:
            ” “Urban compact SUV” Ang Kela ENCORE, to dare to think of self-realization of the younger generation tailored.”

            I’m in no way mocking the translation but the second line speaks volumes to me about Buick’s philosophy in China.

            http://www.buick.com.cn/parkavenue/

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @28-cars-later- You are welcome, but I want to disagree about the Lambda’s being underpowered. I often drive an ’09 FWD Traverse, a base vehicle with only one option- a factory trailer towing package.

            It pulls great. Surprises me by squealing the front tires on WOT downshifts at times.
            I have even used it to pull a car trailer with a ’70 Cutlass and an ’84 Z28 with no problem keeping up with traffic. It is not even the DI engine, which offers more power and torque.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Pch101- Buick China’s website shows the Park Avenue, but I didn’t try to translate the Chinese writing, so can’t say any more than that.

            http://www.buick.com.cn/parkavenue/

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Isn’t it the Park Avenue in China? They can’t use that name here again! Lol.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah. Keep Fing Beige Vanilla Buick! The Chinese, who just started seeing PICTURES of cars like two decades ago, are the arbiters of automotive “mark of excellence”? I think not.

      And Cadillac, the “New standard of the World” except that they sold way more Saabs in the rest of the world than Caddy ever will.

      Did Bob Lutz ever actually BUY a gallon of his OWN petrol?

    • 0 avatar

      I was there too. Although by the time I got there, most of the extinct brands had left, except for one beautiful ’60 De Soto, a gorgeous ’56 Packard, and a bunch of Hudsons. Lars Anderson Museum (where the show was) have some beautiful race cars on display inside. (The rest was a lawn show.)

      And I will confess to being attracted by the G8, whereas the Buicks all left me cold.

  • avatar

    Maximum Bob, often wrong but never in doubt, has made many inflammatory statements in his past. I have no doubt there were discussions with the Feds, whomever that may be, about many things. Discussions are not orders. Everything had to be approved by the BK judge anyway. If given a choice, GM would have certainly kept Buick, which they did for obvious reasons. My sources tell me the Feds (Team Auto) came to GM for discussion and bandied about options. They also tell me that the impetus for a lot of stuff came from Steve Girsky and Larry Summers. The maimed OEMs were trying to please these guys even if it might not have been completely necessary. Why else would GM and Chrysler terminate dealers? Every dealer was an individual profit center. Dealers are the only customer an OEM has. GM was already shedding dealers when it axed Saturn, Pontiac, Saab, and Hummer.

    I object to the word “order.” I wasn’t in the room but I don’t think it came down exactly that way. Regardless, it probably had to happen. Pontiac had turned into just another badge engineered vehicle with nothing special going for it outside of the poor selling G8.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Obummer?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      ruggles – -

      Very level-headed analysis. I agree. I can’t see the Fed Gov mandating the demise of Pontiac inexactly those terms.

      ————–

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      ruggles – -

      Very level-headed analysis. I agree. I can’t see the Fed Gov mandating the demise of Pontiac in exactly those terms.

      ————–

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Actually, as one who wondered if my first pension check after a 39 year GM career was going to come after the collapse in October ’08, I remember very well the course of events. GM had a good plan with essentially three channels. Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick-Pontiac-GMC. They presented that plan to the Auto Task Force and were told the plan was not good enough, another brand had to go.

      Lutz is on the money. Killing Pontiac was a bad move. Pontiac was to provide some spark for the B-P-G channel. We would have had G8′s, Solstices, and an ATS platform mate. The volume of the channel in 2007 rivaled some global companies in size.
      I have been writing that the Feds killed Pontiac for years now. Glad to see Lutz affirming my statements. That’s pretty much what Fritz Henderson said back in real time.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Larry Summers? Well I’m glad they brought in the A squad, why didn’t they add in the Bernank and Timmy G and go for the complete frack up’s trifecta?

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Hey look everyone, it’s Ruggles! Can’t leave an opportunity to interject some pro-dealer commentary on the table, now can we?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Every dealer was an individual profit center.”

      No, not even close.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I was sad to see Pontiac go. They finally started to address the wanting product line. The G8 was probably the first real Pontiac in a couple of decades. I think a worthy G6 would have made the division money. Again, cost cutting set the stage for failure. It’s not the workers, or the engineers. It’s the bean counters. They should have been VE’d out of a job.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Yeah, the G8 was a real Poncho alright – straight from GM Australia!

      However – the G8 is a really fine car, and gave Pontiac something to be proud of. I’m surprised how many are on the roads around the Cincinnati area!

      I liked the exterior styling of the G6, but the insides didn’t measure up.

      I firmly believe Pontiac blew it by dropping fabled names like Bonneville, Catalina, Tempest, etc, that was a big nail in its eventual coffin.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @Zackman…I was a dedicated Pontiac man. My Dad brought home a used 1960 Strato Chief, and I was hooked. Bob did not like plastic cladding. Me neither. IMHO the last year of the Grand Prix was the best looking Pontiac in years.

        Love him, or hate him, GM gained from the Bob Lutz era.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        Agreed. I got one these as a rental and the interior was just plain awful. I remember catching a finger nail on the inside rim of the center console knobs, which caused me to look at everything in greater detail. Incredibly cheap parts, not very well put together and very poorly designed. It just reeked of cheapness.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I remember reading right here in TTAC about Pontiac dealers practically driving away potential G8 customers, demanding a purchase order and money down just to get a test drive. Pontiac’s dealers didn’t even sell there entire allotment.

        The one G8 I drove made me feel it should have been a Cadillac, not a Buick, sold with the big engine only (and upscale interior) as a sport/performance model. A new front and rear clip wouldn’t have been enough to match Cadillac’s design language, though.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Boy no kidding. Never seen so much hard plastic and bad seat materials as in a brand new G6. The pano roof leaked too, but that’s a different issue.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    It is always someone else’s fault with Lutz.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    The pontiac line up was stale, it wasn’t coming back as a performance division since performance simply does not move iron in the 21st century. If GM was going to keep a 5th division Saturn was the better choice. Even if it was largely using opel styling it was a nice cost savings and offered a viable product. But that is my view and wasn’t shared by the powers that be.

    Ultimately I think lutz is just trying to shed responsibility for his failed attempt to revive pontiac in the early 2000s. The Sky and Solstice were good cars but certainly weren’t what people needed. If the feds came in discussing a serious winnowing it was because general views seem to skew that way. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, and VW in North America largely get it done with this approach. It’s about following the market in some ways. The market is bifurcated so the mutli-division approach is limited as we see with Chrysler all crowded in the low-mid range.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Xeranar – - –

      Having grown up in the 1950′s and 60′s, in which Pontiac’s were esteemed, I found it painful to watch a languishing and badge-engineering of that brand in the 1970′s and 1980′s, the malaise era. It got even worse in the 1990′s. All it would have taken is to build upon the Firebird and GTO directions, and cut out the FWD pseudo-sports car stuff. Talk about accountants running wild. I am surprised that BOTH GM and Chevy trucks survived as separate entities.

      ————-

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        So you’re saying trim pontiac from a full lineup dealer to a limited lineup paired with Buick. But how many units of an updated Camaro/Firebird and a charger/Challenger rival can you shill? Do you offer a hot hatch? A sport compact? It just becomes a game of chasing niches to try and fill production.

        @J. Emerson

        The issue becomes is do you deny an SS package to Chevy models just to justify a pontiac line? The idea of performance cars is strong but people who skew that direction and can afford where Pontiac was going was going to BMW or Audi. Nissan has been able to build some sporting credentials with their maxima but that’s an uphill battle with a single model.

    • 0 avatar
      J.Emerson

      “The pontiac line up was stale, it wasn’t coming back as a performance division since performance simply does not move iron in the 21st century”

      I disagree, it’s just filtered down to a really mundane level. Horsepower has never really been cheaper or easier to obtain than it is now. 250+ hp engines in family sedans are commonplace. People still want to go fast, and manufacturers are definitely still peddling performance. But now they don’t have to embrace the compromises of a purpose-built sports car to do so.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Saturn did nothing but loose money, it should have been axed before they starting making them badge engineered Opels. The spent way too much money launching what was an outdated product by the time they got it too market. Then the listened to the dealers who cried that they needed models for their customers to move up to. The problem was that yes indeed some of their customers moved up to the other product but there was no new customers coming in. So the total sales stayed about the same but now those sales were spread among more models reducing profit even more. It also meant that they couldn’t amortize the development costs and make any profit. From what I read in it’s 20 years of existence it lost money during 19 years.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The emphasis should have been on reducing the number of channels, more so than reducing the number of brands.

    The bankruptcy should have left GM with a mainstream channel and a luxury channel. The Sierra could have been sold alongside the Silverado as a trim level, supporting each other instead of competing against one another. Buicks could have been included as the gateway brand in the luxury channel. Leave it to Lutz to fail to see the big picture.

    • 0 avatar
      typhoon

      It doesn’t make much sense, but there are a significant number of buyers who will buy a GMC truck but wouldn’t buy the Chevrolet in the absence of the GMC model. Since GMC pretty much prints money with its margins, there was a strong case for keeping it. And of course Buick is still around because of its popularity in China.

      It’s well known already that the bailout task force wanted to pare GM down to the bare minimum—Chevrolet and Cadillac—and would have were it not for the factors above, so I don’t know what the point of this article is. The “Feds” were concerned with minimizing the taxpayer’s risk on this investment, so Pontiac and all of the other vanity brands had to go. Chrysler nearly had to go as well, were it not for Fiat taking an interest in it.

      Saying it’s the government’s fault for killing Pontiac is highly disingenuous. If they could have made a financial case for Pontiac, they could’ve kept Pontiac. If GM would’ve ran their company competently and not needed a taxpayer bailout in the first place, they could’ve kept Pontiac. You don’t blame the doctor because you need an operation.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “You don’t blame the doctor because you need an operation.”

        You can if she also removes healthy tissue.

        Pontiac’s brand loyalty was sky-high in the flyover states where I’ve spent my life.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          Pontiac was reduced to laughable by 2008. “First Ever G6?” What did that even mean? It was an Aura/Malibu wrapped in Pontiac tin. The only remotely interesting part of the lineup was cars imported at a loss from Australia; cars which were doomed to sell in relatively low volumes.

          Nobody cut out any healthy tissue.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            You’re a car-guy. This is not about you.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There weren’t enough Pontiac buyers, Midwesterner or otherwise, to make it profitable.

            In any case, Lutz wanted to turn Pontiac into an American BMW. If anything, he should have been turning Opel into the German BMW, instead of trying to reinvent a brand that had about zero sales potential outside of North America.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Agreed a focus on Opel would have been wiser for the overall corporation, but does Opel has sales potential outside of Europe? I’m not seeing it.

        • 0 avatar
          kkt

          What healthy tissue? If one’s elderly relative had a stroke and had been in a coma on life support without reasonable hope of recovery for ten years, most people would think it was time to pull the plug.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            It’s never easy to “pull the plug” on a relative, terminal medical diagnosis not withstanding.

            You’d better hope you don’t ever find yourself in a coma and have your relatives debate whether to pull the plug.

            In the case of GM, not only was the company ‘brain dead’, it had been that way for more than ten years, AND rigor mortis had already set in, last century.

            Bush received some bad advice when he granted GM and Chrysler a 90-day reprieve to give newly-elected Obama time to sort through this mess.

            But Obama took it to another level when he nationalized both GM and Chrysler.

            When the government selectively decides who lives and who dies, we, the people, are in deep sh!t.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “when the government selectively decides who lives and who dies, we, the people, are in deep s***”

            We’ll see what happens with the legislation who shall not be named, but this broader line of thinking may have been the plan all along for dot gov. We’re closer to a cradle-to-grave dependence society than we ever have been as a nation, the only thing that’s left to control is the power over life and death.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, this is exactly why we all had Primary Health insurance with Blue Cross/Blue Shield through the business of my wife’s family.

            Medicare and TriCare are second-rate. Many doctors refuse to treat Medicare/Medicaid/TriCare patients.

            With our Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance we could see any doctor, any time, without worrying about that Advanced Beneficiary Notice that required us to pay in case the government rejected the claim.

            But when we received notice from our insurer that our new, upgraded, Obamacare compliant policy would go from $489 to $602 per month, we all decided that the business should drop “employee coverage” of all the family members.

            Now we’re stuck with second rate coverage under Medicare and TriCare, limited to only those doctors, clinics and hospitals that accept these.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, my reply to your comment is lost in the ttac server void.

            I have my copy of course, but it just keeps telling me, “it looks like you already said that” when I repost.

            So with that ‘glitch’ I say good night.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            I really don’t need a long-winded argument with 28 or HDC but at some point there has tp be a shred of reality in your worldview right? For HDC the fact that we have a domestic automaker left is great, the fact that we have 2.5? Even better. As for ‘nationalization’ that’s a stretch since they were continually ran by private executives and were largely sold back to the market so the government lost little or gained some depending on time of final divestiture. The ‘winners and losers’ argument would hold weight if the right-wing party wasn’t a corporate shill completely invested in that approach but publicly decrying it.

            28, how does a private insurance requirement subsidized for the poor recreate dependence? We live in a democratic republic and people wanted a human right recognized in the rest of the western world. I know, independent thought and all that, but interconnectivity is reality. Corporations are uninterested in providing anything beyond bare essentials as the global market is a race to the bottom so the government has to pick up the slack. You should be angry at the wealthy and powerful for forcing the government to create the structure we see today.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Xeranar, you won’t get an argument from me. You can believe what you choose to believe. I’m cool with that. I respect other people’s beliefs even though I may not share them.

            I completely understand what you communicate. Many Americans feel the way you do and many other Americans believe what I believe. There’s room for both opinions. At the moment, your side is winning; ahead by one.

            But from MY perspective I believe that things would have been better had we pimped GM to some foreign company with a bribe, ala Chrysler to Fiat. Look what it did for Chrysler, the 2014 Grand Cherokee problems and recall notwithstanding.

            I also completely understand that the UAW thought that bailouts, handouts and nationalization were the best thing since toilet paper. The UAW won big. The American taxpayers lost $50Billion. It only matters if one is paying taxes whether they support handouts, bailouts and nationalization.

            So now it is up to the new car buyers to decide if they support handouts, bailouts and nationalization. If they do, they’ll buy GM. If not they’ll buy something else. If they want to Buy American, there’s always Ford, the ONLY American carmaker left standing.

            All this, the conflicting economic philosophies, could also be one reason why the labor participation rate in America is only 67%. That’s scary!

            Regardless of political leanings, it means that 37% of America’s workers choose NOT to contribute because they feel they are ‘Taxed Enough Already’ and want to take out of the government instead of paying in.

            It’s the exact opposite of, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

            I see it now more as, “Dude, what can Obama and the ‘crats do for me!”

            Let’s start with money for nuttin’, cellphones and foodstamps for free.

            Wish I qualified. (I don’t)

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        As I noted, the GMCs could have been sold at the Chevy-GMC dealership. Channel conflict solved.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          @HDC

          The whole issue was no foreign company was interested in GM and the size alone made most interested shy away. Could we have found some buyer? Maybe. It would have been grueling and tiresome. As for the 50 Billion lost, I believe that is still an estimate since we still hold some stock and could end up breaking even. Even if it is 50 Billion that’s a trivial 5% of the annual budget, since 2009 when we bailed them out, we basically made it about 1% annualized on that in return for keeping that manufacturing base here.

          You use a lot of loaded words against the UAW which is fine, I understand you’re anti-union for whatever reason you are (you don’t seem to be a multi-millionaire so you may just be a slave to the free market ideology) but the UAW had agreed to take over the pension responsibilities and health care for retirees and GM in good and great years never paid up like they should have. It’s the running issue in America. So the UAW had a benefit to that. As for people actually buying on that mentality….It seems that it doesn’t matter if we look at GM sales in general.

          Just to side track for a minute, HDC, demographics pretty much dictate ‘my view’ has won for the foreseeable future. Barring serious anti-democratic legislation that prevents voters from voting (Voting ID is the tip, but roll purges and other techniques are in full force). I’m just sad that we lagged this long in the change since Germany and Japan have historically done better than us with more liberal economic theory. If anything we’re the ones killing our own jobs…But I digress.

          But lets go to the numbers! That 37%? That includes grandma and little jimmy in college. Real non-working eligible workers are much closer to about Unemployment + 3-4% (most of those are simply out of work due to economic forecasts that simply leave them out).

          Now lets go to the free cellphone, which is a basic cell phone with limited minutes, texts, and no internet. Really a stellar deal for the working poor. I mean who doesn’t want a jitterbug to prove how cool they are? Food stamps, single person is less than $134. Your remaining assistance is surely sub-1000 a month, closer probably to 500-600. Even with rent reduction you’re probably garnering not more than $1000 a month in total benefits which means you’re probably have malnutrition, work atleast part time if not full for low wages, and generally suffer at the hands of more powerful citizens who think you’re a leach though you do all the menial labor we generally done deem valuable enough to pay properly.

          These people suffer, the whole meme of the ‘welfare queen’ is just a terrible myth propagated to make working-class whites vote against their self-interest in the name of keeping the status quo.

          I know this won’t change your mind, HDC, but I would love to have a discussion on ‘welfare’ if you want to look at the numbers and tell me how they live so well.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            Its all over but the shouting! Most of the money has been recovered.

            The total loss booked by the Treasury on the GM Bankruptcy Capitalization is $9.7B.

            http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131029/AUTO0103/310290032/Feds-report-9-7B-loss-GM-shares?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

            That is about $31 per American.

            Since half of us pay no Federal income tax, and 10% pay most, that leaves something like $5-$10 for the average taxpayer, though no one has seen any tax increase to support any of this!

            This loss is equivalent to a few days interest on the existing debt. A pinch of snot by comparison.

            Numbers and facts are not strong points in you post, particularly the ludicrous notion that conservatives are behind high spending. Particularly silly is the idea that a reduction in tax is “spending”.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      I think both had problems seeing the big picture (Lutz and the Government reps). If GM was reduced to Cadillac and Chevrolet, we would be talking about GM in the past tense now.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    It’s a shame that Pontiac died just when it was starting to sell cars that looked nice and were pretty decent. They finally ditched that stupid wavy body cladding, had rolled out the G8, and had the Solstice, which I think was a styling triumph, even if it wasn’t a very good car compared to the Miata.

    This is what happens when you spend a couple of decades pissing away your brand.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      I think I’ve seen maybe 2 G8′s in the real world here in what should be Pontiac country. Anyway, nothing about the Solstice/Sky that would have kept a Chevrolet version from being marketed to pick up the slack of that niche market, likewise for the G8, call it a Chevelle SS. Pontiac should have been dropped around the time Olds was killed off, GM would have been much much better off for it.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      I thought the Solstice was dramatic, too. But what was the highwater mark for the Solstice? Something like 1500 cars and they lost $10K on each one?

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        If we count the sky in there they averaged about 1800 a month across the entire run. I believe they only lost 1500 or less per car since everything was from the corporate parts bin.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          Kappa production was probably around 80,000 total, with 76,324 Solstices and Skys sold in NA in ’06-’08.

          FWIW- I noticed a Solstice coupe on the road the other day. Eye catching car.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Blamestorming aside, it was most likely a necessary move.
    Like it or not, GM certainly did not have the luxury of making emotional decisions at the time, did they? You makes your mistakes, you get to make the hard choices…

  • avatar
    Boff

    The WHOLE WORLD was screaming at GM to euthanize Pontiac and Saturn. Except secretaries. Those with lower back tats bought Pontiacs; those without bought Saturns.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I don’t really mind Pontiac being gone. Every single interior they made from 1990-End was nausea-inducing. I rode in a Grand Am once and thought “Why would anyone pay money for this?”

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I would have preferred that ALL of GM be gone, once they declared themselves dead.

      By 2008 GM products didn’t sell well, were trailing-edge technology, and the UAW had collectively bargained GM into insolvency.

      So here we are, five years later and $50Billion lighter, and someone laments that the Feds, the new owners of GM by bailout default, told them to get rid of some of their redundancy!?

      What the Fed should have done was to dictate that the newly bailed out GM consist of only two brands; Chevrolet and Cadillac.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @HDC- The net total cost of the Auto bailout will be perhaps $10-12B. Maybe a little more with GMAC ResCap, which, btw was NOT part of GM at the time of bankruptcy.

        The Auto loss will be more than offset by the $13B fine JP Morgan was assessed.

        The financial segment did cause the collapse.

        This was all part of the TARP program, which, as opposed to what some political factions want you to think, will cost approximately ZERO in the end.

        Regardless of what anyone thinks the facts speak for themselves.
        GM is the quality leader in NA, the sales leader here, China and in the world in the most recent quarter, and is solidly profitable.

        Saving the world’s largest carmaker was a good thing that is paying off.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          Well, JUST IN, GM is the second largest seller in the world again, 2% behind Toyota. Still in the hunt for the year.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          doctor olds, I understand your position, but I cannot in good conscience find a way to reconcile it with my own beliefs.

          This subject has been debated to death and there are at least three sides to the rationale.

          The reality is that GM lived on with Obama intervention. But Chrysler is now a subdivision of Fiat.

          So, we have the UAW and GM aficionados on one side of chasm, and all others, those opposed and those neutral, on the other.

          If we amortize the loss over a long enough period, we will eventually regain back all the money we wasted on handouts, bailouts and nationalization, like through the JP Morgan fine, et al.

          But that’s not what it is all about. It is about the lost opportunity of the money wasted that could have been applied elsewhere to make America a better place.

          It’s not like we have a shortage of automakers in America. If anything, we have waaaaaaay too many automakers in America to the point that the UAW is quite upset with several of them in the right-to-work states.

          If America was going to do handouts, bailouts and nationalization, it should have been applied across the board.

          It can be argued that since the Fed is investing so heavily in America under the auspices of QE, maybe it is done across the board on a much grander scale that just GM or Chrysler.

          If so, why am I worse off now than prior to 2009? I suspect I’m not the Lone Ranger in this view.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @HDC- Two things are sure: GM is still here and showing no signs of weakness; Your share of the Auto bailout cost is less than $4.

            I probably agree pretty much with your governmental intervention philosophy and might feel different if government did not have such a heavy influence on how the industry got into trouble in the first place.

            As for “no shortage of carmakers.” We only have 3, irrespective of Chrysler majority ownership by Fiat, the management and most operations are in NA. If not for intervention to prevent the collapse of GM and even Chrysler. Ford would have gone down too. It is a most complex and interconnected industry.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            doctor olds, yeah, I understand. I just don’t agree with the handouts, bailouts and nationalization philosophy.

            So in the end, the judgment remains with the new car buyers. Those who support the handouts, bailouts and nationalization philosophy will buy GM. Those who don’t, buy something else.

            I’ve made my choices to buy what I buy but was saddened to learn today that Toyota quality has dropped to that of the domestics and that Toyota is no longer a recommended buy by CR. We did plan on buying a 2015 Sequoia.

            It wasn’t all bad news for Toyota since they still walked away with some glory but I doubt that I will buy any Toyota product made in the good old US of A. If CR pans American-made Toyotas, that says a great deal.

            Our 2008 Japan-built Highlander remains as steadfast as ever. Maybe we’ll trade our Grand Cherokee for an M-class and my Tundra for an F-250 when the time comes.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    “The Sky and Solstice were good cars”

    No, they were the typical GM 75% baked bullshit. Underpowered, the most useless top folding process ever, limited storage. Seriously, the original Miata, at 12-13 years old by that time, handed them their ass.

    I hate to lose any storied nameplate. I wish GM had the option to ’boutique’ some of their chopped brands; a whole line of Pontiacs wasn’t necessary, but two great, strong efforts on a Buick-GMC-Pontiac salesfloor would have been awesome. The G-8 and a proper sports car?

    There’s no need for 6-7 Buicks either.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The Kappa platform was only 75% baked as they would have cooked the Corvette if fully baked. Can’t out do the halo car and Mazda has never had anything more than the RX8/Miata. Besides there haven’t been many Miatas in BSP SCCA with the Kappa and Evos.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      @DaveM

      “A whole line of Pontiacs wasn’t necessary, but two great, strong efforts on a Buick-GMC-Pontiac salesfloor would have been awesome.”

      Exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Well, as a matter of FACT, the Solstice was the best seller in its segment, outsold its target, the Mazda MX5(Miata) handily in 2006 and 2007 and only slipped a couple hundred units behind in 2008, the year of the Financial Crisis induced auto collapse.
      The 3 year total for the two cars: Solstice=47,228; MX5=42,949. Saturn Sky added another 29,096 sales. Along with Corvette, GM held over 50% of the two seater market pre-collapse.
      Pontiac sold more cars than 27 other brands in 2007. Still more than 15 brands in ’08. The BPG channel volume rivaled the global scale of Daimler-Benz and BMW at the time, larger than several other global companies..

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Dr. Olds – I don’t doubt they sold well. I even think the Sky was a great looking car. There was a lot of pent-up demand for a domestic roadster no doubt.

        But I doubt that sales trend would have continued, and per the road tests of the time the MX-5 was a better-made, better-balanced car overall that didn’t need an origami exercise to put the top up.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        “Pontiac sold more cars than 27 other brands in 2007″

        Congratulations, with loads of incentives and fleet sales, Pontiac was able to outsell hot selling brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Mercury, and Maybach.

        Way to go guys, git ‘r done.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          The 27 smaller brands also include BMW, Lexus, The VW Group, Kia, Lincoln-Mercury, Mazda, Daimler-Benz, Subaru and Acura.

          As for Kappa: The facts that exist is that they sold well, dominating their segment. Beyond that is just conjecture, as of course is any discussion of what would have been if events had been different.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            So essentially, my point still stands. Pontiac outsold luxury brands with more expensive cars, niche brands, and other sales challenged brands. And by your own admission, a further 8 of those brands would outsell Pontiac just a year later.

            Sorry, but there is no victory here. Pontiac could sell 2 billion cars a year but still get cut since it wasn’t making money.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            The point was not that Pontiac was flying high, but that it was not a tiny niche player, but larger than many brands.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            The irony in that comment being that GM wanted to “save” Pontiac by shrinking it and making it a “niche” brand. The feds saw the fail in that plan and stopped them.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t care what anyone says, the 6000STE and 8th generation Bonneville didn’t suck.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      What was the 8th generation Bonneville? The H-platform Bonnies seem to be quite well liked, even if people only like certain generations of them.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        ’87-’91.

        I just wanted to bring it and the 6000 up for defense because I’m seeing a lot of “FWD=Pontiac death” comments.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Ah, those are nice cars. The Buick V6 is tough as granite, the car is well proportioned and free of cladding or other design busy-ness…only problem is that the newest examples are 22 years old and the late 80s through the mid 90s were some of GM’s worst build quality…

          Also, FWD may not have killed Pontiac, but it certainly gutted Oldsmobile. F*** you Roger B. Smith.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Always a fan of the 6000 STE but they were not all FWD. There was the 6000 SE and STE AWD. The best A-Body and a neat find today. A shame other A-Bodies did not offer the AWD option. The last gen Bonneville was quite good as well with 3800SC or 4.3 V8.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      Not sure whether “8th generation” refers to the final Bonneville sedan or the one preceding it, but in either case, whether it was good on its own terms or not, the market for large GM sedans (other than Chevys) just isn’t there the way it used to be. Not even Buick or Cadillac are in the traditional sedan business anymore, not since the demise of the Lucerne and DTS.

      (We were once a Pontiac-saturated family and I loved them all, with five new ones – ’63 Catalina wagon, ’65 Bonneville wagon, ’65 Bonneville convertible, ’67 GTO hardtop, ’74 Luxury LeMans coupe – plus a dealer demonstrator ’67 Executive wagon. Some essential Pontiacness was lost, never to be regained, at the time of the “More Pontiac per Gallon” magazine ads around 1980.)

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    Maybe the government did want Pontiac gone. But I’m pretty sure every executive at Buick and Chevrolet did too.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    This seems to suggest that even the Feds can run GM better than GM itself!

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    When they decided to build better less boring more fuel efficient Chevys there was no room for Pontiac or Saturn. When Chevy built the Lumina and Corsica, there was room for the Grand Prix and Grand Am, with today’s vastly improved Impala and Malibu, that niche is closed.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Gee, it’s really easy to say how great Pontiac was going to be, but, hey, the government wouldn’t let us… Well, they should have made it great before they went hat in hand looking for a handout. If the government was really behind what stayed and what didn’t they would have pulled the plug on GMC. There is no reason to have a duplicate truck line.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Ga, beat me to my obligatory “Jalop already covered this” post!

    Whatever the case they should’ve shoved Buick along with Pontiac I think, what has Buick build in the last few years thats really all that desirable?

    Pontiac had the slow badly designed Solitice which would wrinkle its hood if you closed it with both doors open, and the G8 which was awsome, and the only cool car in their line-up at that point.

    Should’ve axed the new Implalas FF architecture and built it over the G8s platform.

  • avatar

    It doesn’t matter who made what decisions, there can be no argument that it has led to the best possible outcome for GM. Pontiac, my favorite among GM brands was losing money and had to go. Besides, it was GM which killed Pontiac with crappy products. Buick was saved because of China plus it was in the process of being revitalized. It has grown tremendously over the years and iirc transaction prices per sale are up $11K since 2009. Selling cheaper Pontiacs in the same showroom would have cannibalized Buick Sales. I personally believe Buick was saved because GM was Buick. Started out as Buick Motor Company. Every other GM brand was either acquired or conceived later.

    GMC is basically a money printing machine with a well educated/richer clientele, many who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Chevy. One of the other reasons to keep GMC would have been to give high margin volume to Buick sale channels. Buick dealers in early 2009 used to sell an average of 6 cars per month. With Pontiac gone, there would have been no way Buick dealers would have survived independently without GMC.

    Pontiac can remain as an idea. High performance money losing niche cars, designed by car guys for car guys with nothing left for imagination.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    As a long-time Pontiac fan (and some time Pontiac owner, though not recently) nothing of real value was lost when GM shuttered Pontiac. The only reason Pontiac lasted longer than Oldsmobile did was that it was easier to make the case for badge engineering Chevrolets as Pontiacs.

    Pontiac ceased being Pontiac when (ironically enough) GM started dropping Oldsmobile engines into Firebirds, Parisiennes and their other models.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      When did that happen?

      The Firebird had Chevrolet or Buick engines and the Parisienne had Chevy engines (I think) except for the Safari wagons. I guess you mean the Quad 4 Grand Ams and Sunfires…

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        It started before the Quad 4. The 307 that found its way into the Parisienne, Bonneville and other RWD Pontiacs (except the Firebird) in the 1980′s were sourced from Oldsmobile.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Bonnie G had the Chevy 305 or Olds Diesel (but GM put the Olds diesel in everything), Bonnie B had the 403 and diesel, Parisienne had Chevy engines except for the Safari wagons…yeah, Pontiac’s V8s being unable to pass California smog didn’t help them. Especially since Oldsmobile managed to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      When did that happen?

      The Firebird had Chevrolet or Buick engines and the Parisienne had Chevy engines (I think) except for the Safari wagons. I guess you mean the Quad 4 Grand Ams and Sunfires…

      Or do you mean the Olds 403?

      • 0 avatar
        racebeer

        Yes … Olds 403 in the ’79 Trans Am. This was when the GM corporate engine crap was just getting started, and Pontiac was “relieved” of its big V-8s.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Of course, then just a year later even the 403 bit the dust thanks to a second oil crisis. Then we got the 301 and 305 as the only Trans-Am engines, yuck.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            The turbo 301 (another Olds based engine) wasn’t awful, but the early 305s (Chevrolet sourced) in Gen 3 Firebirds was a bit anemic.

          • 0 avatar
            zenofchaos

            I remember when my brother and I both owned Trans-Am’s. I had a ’77 with the Poncho 400, and he had a ’78 with the Olds 403. I never let him live down the fact that he didn’t have a true Poncho motor in his bird (and mine was a touch faster).

            The Olds 403 was around from ’77 to ’79, and the first thing I did when I inspected the one I eventually bought was to make sure it had the “right” engine in it.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Finally it officially comes out.

    You have driven this country to complete insolvency, completely embarrassed the United States and reduced it to a near second rate power, and you have the balls to give even RenCen lectures on branding and management? Pot calling the kettle black much?

    F*** you Feds, just f*** you. Without your massive security/media apparatus and generally ignorant citizenry you’re nothing. If my great grandfather’s generation were alive today you’d all be hanging from lampposts for acts of treachery and high treason.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      LOL, you’re just jealous because Ford thrived and GM had to suck on that government teat to survive.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Finally it officially comes out”

      28-Cars-Later is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it any more

      … and who said your generation didn’t care?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Damn straight. Many mistakes were made and change was needed no question, but listening to these people is akin to asking Dr Kevorkian for advice on longevity.

        Additional: Here’s how this should have went down, gov’t should have assembled a steering council of ex-auto execs from rival successful companies (VAG, Toyota, Honda, etc), paid them an honorarium at GM’s expense or given them a very small piece of stock in the future company (say 1%) as incentive and reimbursement for guiding the company and let them decide the strategy. Certain gov’t entities WANTED control of the situation for their own ends.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          If GM planned to keep Pontiac but the Feds insisted Pontiac be killed, it disproves Reagan’s assertion that the government doesn’t help.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I disagree, do you think reducing mainstream models, and thus volume, to the B-P-G dealer chain helps? Should Toyota kill Scion because its just as irrelevant? (and lose Scion volume for Toyota rebadges from other regions)

            There is a difference between reducing redundancy between brands and completely killing a storied marque with decades of recognition and history.

          • 0 avatar
            Spartan

            “killing a storied marque with decades of recognition and history”

            Obviously, you aren’t/weren’t a business major. Recognition and history don’t equate to profit. Pontiac sucked and had sucked for years. They needed to go and I don’t miss their pseudo driving excitement and apparently not many others do either.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sir you are correct, I am/was an engineering major. B-P-G as I understand it should be upscale Chevrolets (or other designs) with higher margin. Slimming Pontiac down to two high margin models wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. RenCen did what it was told for a lifeline.

            “Recognition and history don’t equate to profit. Pontiac sucked and had sucked for years.”

            Please explain Acura then, its sucked for a decade and had some notorious reliability issues in the same period. Consumers are stupid creatures, you can sell them snake oil if you market correctly.

          • 0 avatar
            Spartan

            Explain Acura? Acura is a luxury brand and Honda is a mainstream brand.

            Saturn was a quirky brand while Pontiac was a fake performance brand. Yes, I know G8 and Solstice, got it. But everything else was rehashed trash. If you’re going to be a performance brand, then the majority of your cars should be…you guessed it, performance cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Pontiac was a fake performance brand. Yes, I know G8 and Solstice, got it. But everything else was rehashed trash.”

            I very much agree with your assessment but Acuras not named NSX are exclusively Honda copies or captive Honda imports (TSX, RLX) both pretending to be luxury cars. The only difference is effective marketing.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Yes, the business plan for B-P-G was probably along the lines of tarted up Chevvies. This works for Acura and Lexus because the Hondas and Toyotas on which some of them are based are really good cars and then Acura and Lexus sweat a lot of details to make them better. Luxurious nicely describes them.

            I drove a latish Pontiac once. Sporty styling and awesome power and interesting torque steer in an otherwise very ho-hum car and not worth the money. Friends with Pontiacs ended up hating them. Ownership bred contempt.

            It would have taken a lot of extra resources to rescuscitate Pontiac. Not worth the trouble.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Now to be fair save a test drive of an ILX (joke) and TSX (nice but crampt and pricy) I haven’t driven a Lexus or Acura beyond MY06 and the ones I did drive were mostly MY03 and earlier as those were the “used cars” of my time in the biz. However save LS400 if people think ES300/330s, RX300/330s, TLs, RSXs, or MDXs are luxurious they are deluding themselves as all are semi premium copies of mass market cousins. I suggest those folks try riding in a pre-00 Rolls/Bentley, Maybach/S-class, or even an X30x Jag if they want to experience true luxury. This may have changed but I doubt it, its all marketing especially with Acura as Lexus has at least built one or two top tier models in the past. I really don’t have any experience with Infiniti to comment on them.

            You may have summed the Pontiac part in this nicely in your last point KixStart. My whole rant was gov’t dangled the carrot and RenCen would have done anything to get it. The same gov’t gave away Chrysler and look how its rebounded in the hands of industry professionals. Has GM enjoyed the same success?

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Cool story bro.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      If it wasn’t for Uncle Sam, GM would be dead.

      And frankly, GM deserved to die. Unfortunately, the timing was poor — bailing out GM was an economic necessity circa 2009. GM’s failure was inevitable, given its lousy product and even lousier management; had it reached the end during an economic boom period, then we could have allowed the private sector to carve it up and cut the dead weight.

      Steven Rattner was the best mind to run General Motors in the last forty years, addressing problems that none of the CEOs could be bothered to fix. I’m not sure what GM’s board of directors was directing, but it sure wasn’t the company.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I would have preferred a carve up, the market should have decided the fate of both failed auto firms. I know you have knowledge of finance far beyond my own and know exactly why it wasn’t in the cards which is why the Feds got involved. In my view essentially what happened was one failed entity with nuclear weapons said to another failed entity without them, play our game and the latter agreed; I vented accordingly.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          In 2009, there was no private sector savior for GM. Had it not been for the US government (with some help from Canada and Ontario), GM would have liquidated.

          The US economy could not have handled the shock, particularly after Lehman. Had the government stood by and watched it fail, then the capital markets would have concluded that Uncle Sam was completely out to lunch, which would have torpedoed investor confidence and led to a depression.

          Unless 25% unemployment and shrinking GDP are your idea of a good time, a depression would have been a very bad idea. Bailing out GM was relatively cheap in comparison to the alternative. Unfortunately, one of the greatest prices that we have to pay for the bailout is Bob Lutz’s smugness.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            GM probably should have been liquidated or failing that a proper bankruptcy instead of the illegal sideshow we saw where bondholders got screwed in favor of UAW interests. I would argue Uncle Same has been out to lunch since the 2003/04 period and he hasn’t returned despite the election and reelection of our glorious leader. I’m no economist nor do I have any professional experience in finance as I suspect you do, but I would argue the US did enter depression in 2008. The only reason it isn’t more apparent is because the Federal Reserve and its client US gov’t are taking advantage of the FRN’s reserve currency status and supporting the economy through massive money printing stimulus and ever growing transfer payments in the form of near endless unemployment benefits, welfare, and coming soon ACA. Bailing out GM was the tip of the iceberg and cheap as you point out compared to everything that came after. However the bailouts merely served to save a sizable chunk of what’s left of US mfg from foreign acquisition, reward political allies in UAW, give Americans some consumer confidence in a depression environment, and finally make a newly elected and inexperienced President look like somewhat of a hero to a nation still deeply divided over his election to office… many overlook my last point.

            Faber said it best: The Fed will destroy the world.

            Goodnight sir.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I would argue the US did enter depression in 2008″

            There is absolutely no data to support that position. Do yourself a favor, and stop reading Zero Hedge and other sources of disnformation.

            Of course, the Fed printed money. That’s exactly what it needed to do. If you understand how the monetary system works, then it becomes clear why that was the sensible thing to do.

            (And do stop referring to them as FRN’s. They’re dollars.)

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Thing is with all this debt used to float the economy, is that someone has to pay for it. The elusive surplus, if it ever materializes, won’t be used to pay it down. Not that it would even make a dent.

            Collapse now, or collapse worse later end up being our choices when the people running the country treat economic issues like a game of hot potato or musical chairs.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            “In 2009, there was no private sector savior for GM. Had it not been for the US government (with some help from Canada and Ontario), GM would have liquidated.”

            This is the part that everyone forgets. I would say conveniently in some cases.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s right they are dollars, but whose dollars are they again?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In this case, they’re United States dollars.

            FRN is the sort of hollow jargon that one finds on doomsday and conspiracy websites. You don’t do yourself any favors by filling your head with that sort of disinformation. Drop the rhetoric, and start reading legitimate sources that would better equip you to analyze this stuff, instead of dwelling in hyperbole and panic.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re getting a little predictable there old boy, nowhere on the US one dollar bill does it say United States dollar nor does it give any indication the dollar is issued by the Unites States gov’t. A quick Google yields the image of a 1910 one dollar bill and underneath the “Silver Certificate” heading it clearly states

            THIS CERTIFIES THAT THERE IS ON DEPOSIT IN THE TREASURY OF

            followed by the United States of America as it says now, One Dollar in Silver Payable to the Bearer on Demand.

            I’m not even going to begin debating gold/silver vs fiat because its too broad of a topic but nowhere on the Series 2006 US Dollar I hold in my hand do I see United States dollar, owned/issued by the Treasury, or anything to that effect. In fact the only two references to the word “treasury” on the note is the wording under the Treasury secretary’s signature and the Treasury seal directly above, I suppose indicating they signed off on it but neither indicate that they owned the currency as the one from 1910 implies with its promise from said Treasury to deliver 1 dollar worth of silver. Face it, these notes are the Fed’s currency not the Treasury’s or that of the United States. You can rationalize it any way you like but the fact is we are all pwned by a cabal or private central bankers and its their currency not the United States’.

            EDIT: I was looking at the wrong image when I typed it out, it was of a 1935 dollar, this is a pre-1913 dollar. It expressly states SECURED BY UNITED STATES BONDS.

            http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.antiquebanknotes.com/images/One-Hundred-Dollar-Bill/1902-One-Hundred-dollar-bill-Blue-Seal.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.antiquebanknotes.com/nationalcurrency/rare/1910-one-hundred-dollar-bill.aspx&h=302&w=700&sz=140&tbnid=y01jrMQi0Be91M:&tbnh=123&tbnw=285&zoom=1&usg=__iOkDNiLs2s02i5b9bIWUbl3opw8=&docid=wzTuqsTf0Ak4SM&sa=X&ei=FK5uUrDgO5Gx4APttYCwDw&ved=0CDkQ9QEwBg

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            When I asked you to drop the rhetoric and hyperbole, I was referring to the use of empty terms such as “cabal,” which tell us more about you than they do about those who you are trying to describe.

            Rhetoric is not a substitute for coherent thought. You’d be better off if you’d stop using it, and start considering the implications of what you’re saying.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ll take a step back. Much like everyone else I am provided with limited information and attempt to develop an analysis based on the information available. We’ve gone a bit off topic of Pontiac vs Bailout here so I’ll drop it. Feel free to believe what you will about the bailout and the rest of history.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I think we’ve made it clear we’re around the same age…you’re a bit older. So you’re great grandfather probably voted for Hoover then voted for FDR with his last few votes. The fact you have yo go so far back indicates you’re a beneficiary of the New Deal society that letyou go to college and be a well educated individual.

      By the way, what is thr federal media apparatus? Are you watching Fox News? Just take it easy…

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        You mean the New Deal Society, which along with LBJ’s Great Society have put America on the road to financial insolvency?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          It worked out great for everyone who’s idea it was to set out on that path. By the time the check arrives, they’re all long dead.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          What financial insolvency? I’m not a liberal because I ignore the numbers. If we’re discussing national debt, you do understand most of it is due to conservative policies enacted as a way to increase debt then force a stigma onto it to create cuts, right? I mean if we didn’t have the Bush II tax cuts or Reagan’s shennanigans not to mention Bush II’s unfunded wars (which I don’t care to debate validity, just that they were unfunded) we would actually have relatively low debt. If you look at ‘liberal’ vs. ‘conservative’ policies the ‘conservative’ policies added collectively nearly 80% of our current debt.

          At what point do we acknowledge the ‘conservative’ is the spender more than anything else. They simply spend on the rich by introducing tax cuts and forcing us further into debt. I mean they obviously can’t win by cutting programs people enjoy, so they try and drive the debt up then force the hands by claiming it is a shortfall they can’t overcome.

          It’s a really simple game of false outrage after they destroy the place.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “Consumers are stupid creatures, you can sell them snake oil if you market correctly.”

      A great deal of other video games, Apple products, and movies come to my mind reading this all too true comment.

      I do agree with your proposed strategy to fix GM rather than what we ended up with.

      And for Infiniti as a luxury car, well I direct anyone reading to the
      “G20″, that set the tone for future models to come.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    What was Pontiac’s mission? The 4-4-2 was an Olds, the GNX a Buick, the Trans Am was no better than the Camaro and the Corvette is a Corvette.

    Hideous minivans you say? Nah, say it isn’t so, Heisenberg…

    http://www.autosavant.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/aztek-fr.jpg

    photos.ecarlist.com/uB/rJ/QA/Zd/Zi/jE/S8/JA/QR/Rq/RQ_640.jpg

    upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Pontiac-Trans-Sport.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “the Trans Am was no better than the Camaro”

      What do you base that on?

      Not to mention the brand built the 2+2, OHC-6, GTO, and Grand Prix.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Circa 1977, the Trans Am was a far better car than the Camaro. It looked better, it performed better, and it got a nice sales boost from Smokey and the Bandit. RIP Hal Needham.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The Original GTO might have sparked the muscle car movement and the Bandit Trans Am was kick A$$ over the Camaro, but that was then. The late GTO was hot, but the Grand Am was not. And the GT0 looked like the Grand Am at a distance. Every Pontiac was starting to look like the Grand Am. Thank gawd for the Aztek though.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    GM killed Pontiac? No, GM killed Pontiac and Bob Lutz helped.

    G3 – Daewoo Trash
    G5 – Cobalt Trash
    G6 – Rehashed Saturn not done quite right
    G8 – It was fun, but the interior was trash and it didn’t have the presence of a Charger or Chrysler 300.
    Solstice – A hair above average, fun, but with a crap interior

    If you believe that GM would have produced a cut rate ATS as the new G6 for a reasonable price point, I have a bridge to sell you in the middle of the Mojave Desert. GM would have gotten that money and produced a G6 in the form of a rehashed Malibu with plastic cladding and pseudo “PERFORMANCE” and scrap the RWD G6 plan.

    I don’t agree with everything that took place with the auto bailouts, but had GM managed Pontiac correctly, they wouldn’t have been asked to dump Pontiac in the first place. Pontiac sucked and had sucked for years. It wasn’t on the verge of a comeback, it was in serious condition at best and on its way to ICU with the economic environment we were in.

    /rant over.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, the G3 was a thing that happened…

      But the G6 came out before the Aura or Malibu.

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        “Yea, the G3 was a thing that happened…

        But the G6 came out before the Aura or Malibu.”

        Yep, the G3. Many don’t remember, but that did happen. Either way, the G6/Aura was an Opel Vectra. The G6 was a terrible Vectra. I had one as a rental and the interior was well below industry average for its class. I did like the 3.5L V6, but that’s because I love OHV engines.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Think Walter White in his Aztek, both on a road to nowhere. With the exception of the G8 and a few versions of the G6 the brand was withering on the vine. The G3 was a rebadged, faux BMW snouted Aveo. If Pontiac was still around would there be a version of the Spark badged G2? I was always a Pontiac fan, probably my favorite GM division, and even owned one(66 Tempest 2dr hardtop OHC-6) but unless there was some serious revisions, the brand was doomed along with loss leaders like Hummer and Saturn.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @ajla: It also seriously messed up Cadillac and Buick, but the FWD mandate really hurt Oldsmobile most of all. Buick and Cadillac bounced back, Oldsmobile didn’t. Of course, now Cadillac doesn’t make anything that feels distinctly Cadillac because they’re spending all their time trying to be BMW. Never gonna see a Coupe DeVille again.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Pontiac was a dead brand walking in 2008. If the feds asked GM to remove it, then they made the right call.

    GM should have trimmed down in the late 90s, getting rid of Buick and Oldsmobile at that time. Instead they added Geo and Saturn, both money losers.

    GM’s branding as of today would benefit with Pontiac over Buick in the US, however, Buick is what we got, so Buick it is.

    What is shameful is that GM is still making a massive mistake by making chevy *too good* and making them too expensive (new malibu, impala, silverado). GM is abandoning the entry level buyers and frugal buyers of the market, which is a terrible move, especially when you look at changing demographics/wealth (that is, most of us who are up and coming don’t have a pot to pee in). Volkswagen is more than happy to gain entry level customers by going down market and it’s only going to pay off for them, by the time GM catches up, it’s going to be too late to win back those customers.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “If the feds asked GM to remove it, then they made the right call.”

      One could argue the $15.8 billion dollar US Department of Interior is a completely irrelevant waste of money, would it make sense if GM (or any auto) execs got to make the call to kill it? How about if the health insurance underwriters made the call that your appendix is pointless and you should have it removed instead of a doctor? If RenCen wanted Pontiac dead than so be it but Lutz suggests they were forced to, and if true, that was wrong.

      http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/11/22/20081122grijalva-interior.html

      You seriously make a good point on Chevrolet going “too good” with some models, while others I think are more Geo level than Chevrolet. Will be interested to see if things play out for VAG in NA as you speculate.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        There’s a difference. The feds gave GM 50 billion dollars. You don’t get 50 billion dollars without stipulations.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The Detroit fanboys are under the impression that GM deserved to get free money, no strings attached.

          It’s a completely irrational position, of course. No private equity firm would infuse capital into a failing enterprise without taking a board position and making management changes. Why would anyone want to preserve the status quo when the status quo was the problem?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Disagree, I do not believe free money should have been disbursed at all let alone with no strings attached. Given what happened a neutral party or parties with successful industry experience could have represented the creditors in this case gov’t, not political hacks or czars.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            What “neutral party”?

            If you’re going to claim that there was a private sector alternative, then start naming names. Be specific: Who exactly was going to write the checks?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve read the US Gov’t was the lender of last resort. I don’t know if this is completely true since folks in China and the Middle East are sitting on piles of FRNs, but assuming it is right or wrong the administration did what it believed it had to do. The difference between what could have happened and what did happen is the administration could have sought out neutral parties to represent the gov’t interest on the board, say ex auto industry execs from successful competing mfgs or failing that retired execs from other mfg industries. Not Treasury drones, not political appointees from Pennsylvania Avenue, this is what I’m referring too.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            At this point, I think that you just want to complain for the sake of it.

            The task force was headed up by someone experienced in private equity. That’s exactly the sort of person who should have been hired to do this.

            On the whole, the government did a better job with GM than GM ever could on its own. I realize that this doesn’t fit into your anti-government worldview, but give some credit where it’s due. On the whole, the task force did a pretty damn good job (although it made too many concessions to GM management — it should have cut even further than it did.)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Private equity != auto mfg exec, private equity == bankster.

            Which group crashed the world economy, was it the auto execs or the banksters? Was it the auto execs or the banksters who screwed the GM bondholders?

            Goodnight again sir.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You said that you wanted a “neutral party.” Who better to turn around an ailing enterprise than someone who knows how to do it?

            It’s fun to throw around quips such as “bankster”, but you really ought to think about the implications of what you’re saying. You say that you want “neutral parties,” but your other comments suggest that you don’t actually want anyone who has enough competence to make the right decisions. That makes it seem that you’re more interested in whining than in offering a constructive alternative of your own.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          How many billions were created out if thin air and given to Wall Street during the crisis? How many billions disappeared in Iraq after the invasion? The difference is when the overlords get the money, there are no stipulations.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Pch101- “On the whole, the government did a better job with GM than GM ever could on its own.”

            You have a lot of knowledge, but diverge from logic and reality with that statement.

            GM management created the reorganization plan. All the task force did was disapprove it until they dumped a 4th brand, Pontiac, and then approve the next plan created and executed by GM people.

            Government added capital when their actions dried up all commercial credit and collapsed the auto industry.

            Government certainly added no detailed expertise to change the operations of the company. Class leading vehicles of today were ALL the product of pre-collapse GM. In fact, nearly all of the same people are running the business now as before the collapse.

            A huge share of the entire industry’s return to profitability in NA is the UAW Labor agreement that was negotiated in 2007.

            Gov brought money, and If you label me a fanboi saying we deserved “free” money, you have that wrong, too.
            I said the company was forced into bankruptcy by events beyond their control and was worth saving.
            Thankfully, at least the politicians are smart enough to know it. I am proud that an American Company, GM, was again the largest selling carmaker in the world last quarter.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “GM management created the reorganization plan. All the task force did was disapprove it until they dumped a 4th brand, Pontiac, and then approve the next plan created and executed by GM people.”

            The bad thing about historical revisionism is that it is easily debunked.

            In December 2008, GM submitted a bailout proposal to the House of Representatives. It called for cutting one brand (Hummer) and a total of eight nameplates, including those in the Hummer lineup.

            online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/gm_restructuring_plan120208.pdf

            That plan was considered to be unacceptable by the feds. GM then drastically revised the plan in February 2009, by including Saab and Saturn on the termination list but calling for Pontiac to be positioned as a niche brand.

            http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/business/20090217GMRestructuringPlan.pdf

            If it wasn’t for the task force, GM would have stubbornly clung to the defend-volume-at-all-costs approach that destroyed it in the first place. Rick Wagoner’s plan was a bad joke that amply demonstrated that he had no talent whatsoever as a crisis manager.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            @ Doctor Olds:

            Even the Wikipedia entry on Wagoner agrees with Pch101, and so do I.

            At the time, if you trawl back through TTAC posts from late 2008 through the GM bankruptcy, you’ll see he’s correct. There was caterwauling and burst aortas from the GM crowd unwilling to accept reality, but it’s all laid out there.

            The only steady poster through it all was Pch101. debunking the yowlers, pettifoggers and general twits who thought they knew, but didn’t, about bankruptcy law.

            If I recall, you had just retired and discovered TTAC later in the year. You entired bright and breezy, informing everyone that you had the inside track from working at GM, and then proceeded to get just about everything wrong.

            Apparently time has neither cured your memory lapses nor misremembrances, but bright and breezy still, you get it all wrong over and over again.

            Sorry, but that’s the truth. And guess what, a former editor, Ed Niedermeyer also disremembers and wrote some decent revisionism here this past April, but as he wrote speeches for Republicans in the last election, his bent is obvious. Now slaving away at the Daily Kanban, he now reliably informs us that Marchionne got 58.5% of Fiat for free, when the truth is, he met performance targets set by the Task Force, paid back all the government loans and gave $3.3 billion to buy Chrysler shares and to keep operations running. I have compiled a timeframe for it all.

            Apparently, some people’s brains were so mauled by the twin bankrupticies they would rather invent and/or repeat fairy tales about the twin bailouts and subsequent sequence of events. Perhaps it is a form of PTSD toascribe the lapses charitably, but I just regard it as failure to face the truth and to lead a charge of revisionism in the face of overwhelming odds. That may be politics, but it is emphatically not the truth.

            Sorry.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            @ Doctor Olds:

            Even the Wikipedia entry on Wagoner agrees with Pch101, and so do I.

            At the time, if you trawl back through TTAC posts from late 2008 through the GM bankruptcy, you’ll see he’s correct. There was caterwauling and burst aortas from the GM crowd unwilling to accept reality, but it’s all laid out there.
            U
            The only steady poster through it all was Pch101. debunking the yowlers, pettifoggers and general twits who thought they knew, but didn’t, about bankruptcy law.

            If I recall, you had just retired and discovered TTAC later in the year. You entired bright and breezy, informing everyone that you had the inside track from working at GM, and then proceeded to get just about everything wrong.

            Apparently time has neither cured your memory lapses nor misremembrances, but bright and breezy still, you get it all wrong over and over again.

            Sorry, but that’s the truth. And guess what, a former editor, Ed Niedermeyer also disremembers and wrote some decent revisionism here this past April, but as he wrote speeches for Republicans in the last election, his bent is obvious. Now slaving away at the Daily Kanban, he now reliably informs us that Marchionne got 58.5% of Fiat for free, when the truth is, he met performance targets set by the Task Force, paid back all the government loans and gave $3.3 billion to buy Chrysler shares and to keep operations running. I have compiled a timeframe for it all.

            Apparently, some people’s brains were so mauled by the twin bankrupticies they would rather invent and/or repeat fairy tales about the twin bailouts and subsequent sequence of events. Perhaps it is a form of PTSD toascribe the lapses charitably, but I just regard it as failure to face the truth and to lead a charge of revisionism in the face of overwhelming odds. That may be politics, but it is emphatically not the truth.

            Sorry.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @ Pch101, WMBA, Thanks for Affirming the factuality of my post.

            GM leadership submitted plans(s), precisely as I wrote, though it was specifically regarding the one plan that included Pontiacs in the BPG channel.

            I also wrote, all the task force did was approve or disapprove of their plans. You added the first plan they also disapproved.

            Again, precisely corroborated by your source, though it is fair to say the Wikipedia is not the end all of knowledge and fact.

            The reality that has been ignored is the immense savings of the 2007 Labor agreement, over $8B/ year more net profit for General Motors would have been in place by 2010.

            You gentlemen are assuredly not smart enough to know whether GM’s other plans would have worked. Unknown and unknowable. But the one that was is clearly working fine.

            What I wrote is incontrovertibly true.
            GM leadership created and executed the plan, and the great lineup of vehicles they have now were already in the pipeline. If they enjoyed the 400,000 more volume Plan A would have provided now, who knows what would have been.

            Despite this site posting a death watch, GM is quite strong and nipping at Toyot’s heels for the number one seller in the world.

            You guys said they would fail. History supports the theme of my comments, despite some tangential factual errors. GM is actually doing quite well with virtually all of the same people and systems they had in place when I retired in 2008.

            These are facts.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The only reason that GM modified the plan was because the federal government told GM to modify it.

            If GM hadn’t been pressured into cutting brands, the company wouldn’t have done it. Volume at all costs was deeply engrained into the company psyche, as if it was some sort of virtue.

            Were it not for the automotive task force, the same foolishness would have been perpetuated by GM management, which only knew how to run the company into the ground. GM needed the heavy hand of an outsider in order to make the right decisions, and even then, the hand wasn’t heavy enough.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @PCH101- Volume is not everything in the car business, just 99% of it.

            How do you presume to have any idea whether GM’s plan would work? No one can possibly know that. You are merely restating the obvious, and what I wrote: The Feds said no to it.

            The rest of your comment is presumption.

            You seem unwilling to consider just how important volume is. Look at Toyota’s financial results for all of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 when they lost even more money than General Motors due to collapse in US market volume.

            GM would conservatively have 400,000 units more volume in today’s market with Pontiac and Saturn still alive, with little additional structural costs to support them. They had a good share of the designs completed before the collapse.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The volume-at-all-costs “strategy” led to GM’s flirtation with liquidation.

            The worst downside to the GM reorganization is that it failed to teach crucial lessons to the lifers who caused the company’s failure.

            GM is only here today because of government throwing it a lifeline. Your ideas led to the company’s failure. Those who you consider to be the wise men of the organization engineered its collapse.

            The company failed. It really doesn’t get more obvious than that.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            olds, pch:

            Olds’ bias is evident. Who cares?

            for wmba:

            Go get laid. Your snide remarks are old. You apologizing doesn’t make it any better.

            Critically think about who your comments are directed at and then contemplate your own intelligence. Do you honestly believe you can sway opinion or that anyone who reads this will be single handedly convinced that doctor olds is accurate? You have way too much time on your hands.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Pch101- The only thing obvious is that you don’t really understand the business or the facts.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @nickoo- Odd that you think that. As a matter of fact. VW is losing volume and share in a growing NA market, while GM’s share of the small car segment is burgeoning with the success of Sonic and Spark.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Umm. No. That fits exactly what I’m claiming. Chevy is selling their cheap cars in good numbers (sonic, spark) and not selling their expensive cars (malibu, impala, silverado) in as good of numbers, especially compared to the old models. Sure Impala will sell for a while due to its newness, but after that it is going to drop drastically. They are squeezing Buick and GMCs reason for existence right now, and the plan “no more crappy cars” is that they want to take all chevy’s even further upmarket with upmarket pricing to match, losing even more volume.

        Look at the sales numbers of volkswagens decontented models, specifically jetta and passat vs the older models.

        Yearly American sales for Passat (2012 COTY winner)
        2011 22,779
        2012 117,023

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          VW brand sales were down 1% in a market that was up 10% through August.

          Chevrolet brand sales were up 8%, with GM up 10% on the strength of the premium brands in the same time frame.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    Ad, 25% are wagon sales. The article states the following:

    “Toyota said wagon variants account for about 25 percent of compact sales in Europe”

    COMPACT is an important word here. Toyota (“Verso”), Honda and all the others sell their compacts as regular, vanish 7 seaters, and wagon versions.

    If you step up in size, 7 seater variants are lacking, the wagon share rises accordingly. BMW 5, MB E and Volvo S60/V70 are mostly seen as wagons in the rich north and west of Europe, unless they’re taxis.

    Would be interesting to get proper numbers!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Absolutely love my G8. Glad to have one of less than 30K sold in the US. Drove 200 miles today – it is a damn fine car and the GT was a screaming bargain. Best of all, they are holding resale value incredibly. High mile GTs flogged out are still commanding very high teens to low 20′s. A clean GT with 20K to 30K miles can go for as high as 24K CPO – considering they stickered 30K new and probably sold for 28K feckin amazing.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @APaGtth- The G8 is a great car, exactly the right flagship for a re-envisioned Pontiac role in the BPG channel. The ATS platform mate would have been the missing piece. I had the opportunity in ’10 to drive a Commodore SV6 with DI 3.6 V6 from Sydney to Melbourne and back. The engine is a jewel, and the 6 speed auto was a big improvement from the 5 speed auto. I love the car, am still trying to figure out how to add one to my fleet!

  • avatar
    PCP

    Actually the main point is not if Lutz’s recollection is accurate, or if Pontiac should have been dropped or not.

    The main point is ‘handing you the check for 53 billion dollars’.

    53 billion dollars. When a company needs that much money to survive, it’s

    a) obviously too big to fail
    b) more dead than the dinosaurs

    and actually deserves to be shut down. Completely.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    Jalopnik is still around, I wasn’t aware.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    People mourning the loss of Pontiac are living in the past. In dependent of the Government’s involvement, Pontiac as a current vehicle brand was irrelevant and redundant.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Lutz said it best: “…When the guy who is handing you the check for 53 billion dollars says I don’t want pontiac, drop pontiac or you don’t get the money, it doesn’t take you very long to make up your mind.”

    Pontiac had to go. There’s no use crying over spilled milk…especially if the milk had gone sour…

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    The best Pontiac that existed when the brand died was a Toyota.

    Not only should they have killed Pontiac, they should’ve trashed the whole company. They failed and they failed because of their own incompetence and stupidity, not because “the economy was bad” like the Detroit fanboys and UAW trolls want to believe. But since Barry wasn’t going to let that happen and lose union votes, they should’ve held no prisioners and euthanized everything not named Chevrolet and Cadillac. Buick can live in China, but is not needed and is dead weight here. Nothing Buick sells couldn’t be sold as a Cadillac.

    The fact that it took the Government BAILOUT to kill an unprofitable brand shows in volumes just how terribly run this company has been for a good chunk of its existence. I have zero doubt in my mind that Bob Lutz’s little fantasy of what he claims was in development for Pontiac was nothing more than a fairy tale for a good story, and even if it had come to pass, it would’ve failed and failed miserably. Not only should the feds have nuked most of GM’s brands, they should’ve shown the old coot the door with his pal Ricky.


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