Pontiac Performance Branding Officially Dead

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
pontiac performance branding officially dead

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

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  • L47_V8 L47_V8 on Feb 17, 2008
    MPLS : February 17th, 2008 at 12:44 am jthorner: The entire current Pontiac lineup is a sales flop and an embarrassment. Not a single vehicle there is even a two-base hit, let alone a home run. This is true for thee most part. However, the G6 sold 150,000 units in 2007 and 157,000 in 2006. When you consider that the G6 competes with the Aura and Malibu in the GM universe for midsize sedans sales those are strong sales. More than 60% of G6s go to fleets currently. And, as I said, they're practically giving them away. Every 2008 model already has $3,000 in incentives. And they still don't sell to the public.

  • Armadamaster Armadamaster on Feb 17, 2008

    How much more proof do we need that GM is lost when it comes to their car lineups? Pontiac hasn't been Pontiac since they killed the F-body in 2002 instead of updating it. Instead we get an Australian import sedan that sounds like it got named at a company bingo tournament. Just when you think GM can't fail anymore....they go the extra mile!

  • MPLS MPLS on Feb 17, 2008

    L47_V8 Where do you get the rental fleet perventages. Im not doubting you, Im just curious. Thanks. 60% AND a $3000 rebate. That cant be making much money selling these vehicles.

  • George B George B on Feb 17, 2008

    At I see it, the problem is GM has to supply a bunch of Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealerships even though GM basically just makes Chevrolets, Opels, Holdens, and Cadillacs. Other than their dealer franchise contracts, why not just sell Chevrolets spiced up with some RWD Holden models like the Ute/El Camino, Opel/Saturns, and Cadillacs? Maybe GM could sell the Buick brand to the Chinese and give Pontiac and GMC all the fleet sales.