By on September 19, 2008

Oh GM Fastlane blog, how you wow us with your weak-wristed defenses of GM’s endless parade of missteps. The latest round of apologia (appallogia?) is a shameless response to widespread autoblogosphere criticism of the decision to bring the Aveo-cannibalizing Pontiac G3 stateside. And it’s good to the last drop of brand-destroying denial, utilizing GM’s now-trademark “myth-and-debunking” format. Jim Hopson of Pontiac communications asks himself if the G3 isn’t “just a re-badged Chevy Aveo.” His answer? Toyota brand-engineers Lexus, so it must be fine. Looks like someone needs to catch-up on the differences between platform-sharing and brand-engineering. Speaking of Toyota, will the G3 steal sales from the Vibe? Hopson argues that the comparison is like saying the Corvette and Yugo overlap because they both have four wheels. Nice. How can the G3 be a Pontiac? “Because it’s sporty and fun-to-drive when compared to many of the cars in its segment.” Besides, it has the lowest price and highest efficiency of any other Pontiac, an achievement on par with being the “best microbrew in Utah.” Even the usually-credulous FastLane commenters aren’t having any of it, chiming-in with opinions that follow the basic sentiment “I can not believe how stupid this is.” Neither can we.

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42 Comments on “GM Defends Pontiac G3 (Nee Chevrolet Aveo) Hack-Job...”


  • avatar
    Orian

    Sporty compared to a Fit or Yaris? I think not!

    It’s apparent GM’s marketing puffs heavily on the medicinal MJ on a daily basis.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    The real question they need to address is why the “donor” car is so awful in the first place.

    It is nice to hear that even the GM Psychophants on Fastlane have a credulity threshold.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    shaker

    Sporty compared to the Vibe, I guess.

    I guess it looks a bit better than the Aveo, but it’s the same aminal (sic) underneath.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Just when you think GM gets it, you realize they really don’t; more canabalistic, Roger Smith style “brand engineering” only this time they are really polishing a turd. The Aveo is a complete embarrassment for Chevrolet and even worse for Pontiac. If this what the “fun” division thinks is fun they really should close their doors for good as the Tin Indian has truly left the building. Daewoo “Lemans” redux?

  • avatar

    Sporty? If it has that same Aveo engine I think not. Just because you need to boost your CAFE ratings doesnt mean take one of the worst cars and put a fender vent on it. I reckon we wont be seeing too many TV ad’s for this one…hopefully.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Clearly GM’s dealers are the abusive husband in this relationship. But sadly, no amount of second-hand furniture donations or canned food will make things any better for GM Corporate.

  • avatar
    John B

    “an achievement on par with being the “best microbrew in Utah.”

    Well, Polygamy Porter was pretty good when I tried it:

    http://www.wasatchbeers.com/polygporter.html

  • avatar
    thalter

    First of all, the Aveo is already a rebadge of the Daewoo Kalos, so doesn’t that make the G3 a rebadge of a rebadge?

    Second of all, the Toyota/Lexus comparison doesn’t even make sense. In the US at least, only one Lexus car rides on a platform shared with Toyota: The ES350/Camry. The IS, GS, and LS all ride on unique platforms (although the IS is technically a derivative of the GS). Even in the case of the ES/Camry, they don’t share a single exterior body panel or piece of glass, a claim I doubt you could make with the G3/Aveo.

    Lexus and Toyota trucks, on the other hand, are pretty much blatant badge jobs, so maybe this is the point that GM was trying to make.

  • avatar
    HarveyBirdman

    After reading the Fastlane entry, I can’t help but feel like Jim Hopson must really hate his life. I’m so glad I didn’t go into PR.

    On the bright side, at least the wide-nostriled G3 has one of the most distinctive faces I’ve seen on a car. I think I’m going to copy it for my Jack O’Lantern next month so it will be exciting and stylish.

    And by the way, Utah actually does have a number of small yet distinguished (and very successful) microbreweries.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    What this car from Daewoo needs is a name, not an alpha numeric label.

    I recommend that it be called a “Pontiac LeMans”- bringing back the 90’s.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    John and Birdman: I thought I may have been playing with fire there. Subsequent research shows I was off-base.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    If your going to platform share at least share something with north america that we would not normally get. Like the Saturn Opels.

    Not only do we already have the aveo, but it sucks on top of that. Why sell two versions of it?

  • avatar
    HarveyBirdman

    Edward,

    At least you were willing to fess up when you learned The Truth About Utah Microbrews.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Jim Hopson of Pontiac communications asks himself if the G3 isn’t “just a re-badged Chevy Aveo.” His answer? Toyota brand-engineers Lexus, so it must be fine.

    Brand-engineering is not badge engineering. Toyota has one Lexus rebadge, the LX, which twins with the equally-poorly-selling Land Cruiser. Everything else, even the ES, is a platform partner, not a nose-job like the G3 or G5.

    Speaking of Toyota, will the G3 steal sales from the Vibe? Hopson argues that the comparison is like saying the Corvette and Yugo overlap because they both have four wheels

    Well, to be fair, the Vibe is about the only Pontiac that doesn’t require incentives to move, so I’d say the price points between the two are pretty divergent. The people I see with new Vibes are definitely up a step or two on the income ladder from Wave (ahem, G3) owners.

    Because it’s sporty and fun-to-drive when compared to many of the cars in its segment

    Who? Even the Yaris is about as much fun to drive.

    Unless they’re classifying “sporty” as “has fender vents”, then no, this car isn’t noticeably sportier than anything in the class. “Sporty” begins and ends with the Honda Fit, while everything else is “meh”.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    John B: Did you bring one home to the wives?

    TTAC has been full of Utah references of late. They do have great beers, just like Idaho and Wyoming.

    Oh, and they should name this the Le Mans, just like the late Daewoo creation.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    I’m waiting for the Huffy bicycle coming out as the “G.005”

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The Aveo is a complete embarrassment for Chevrolet

    Only because of the powertrain. Otherwise, it’s not a terrible car by class standards. The problem is that the Fit and Yaris have really raised the bar, and GM isn’t even trying to catch up to them.

    If GM could see fit to installing a powertrain that wasn’t made to meet a price point, the Aveo might do better. The Yaris, for all it’s dynamic faults, has a very expensive little engine in it: the 1.5L VVTLi. And it’s worth noting that Toyota put one of it’s higher-feature engines into it’s lowest-margin car. I don’t think GM would ever do that, nor do I think it would invest a red cent in the Aveo if it wasn’t being dragged kicking and screaming to do so.

    What’s worse is that they’re going to try pulling this crap in Europe, too. Chevrolet is being rolled out there so that they can make more margin on Opel (expect the Corsa to either go away or get much larger), which is thusly going to move up into Saab’s space, which is also being crowded by Cadillac. Of course, at some point, they’ll realize that they do need to sell good small cars in Europe, at which point they’ll give all four brands a Kalos/Aveo to sell.

    Just picture the European-spec Kalos/Aveo-based Cadillac ALS. You know it’s coming.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Why didn’t GM spend the rebadge budget to refine the engine and up the mileage?

    Anyone got quick specs on mileage of the Aveo compared to the Yaris and Fit?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Why didn’t GM spend the rebadge budget to refine the engine and up the mileage?

    Because GM has nothing certified for North American use that even comes close the to the Yaris’ engine, let alone the Fit’s.

    And powertrain certification is really expensive.

    And fender vents are really cheap.

  • avatar
    BuckD

    What, the streamers of red light flashing around the car in the photo don’t convince anyone of the G3’s awesome performance potential? Maybe some hood scoops would help with the illusion.

  • avatar
    carsinamerica

    “Besides, it has the lowest price and highest efficiency of any other [sic] Pontiac, an achievement on par with being the ‘best microbrew in Utah.\'”

    It’s not really even that, unfortunately. Pontiac has announced a G5 XFE model, with EPA ratings of 25/37 mpg. The G3, the EPA says, will do 24/34 mpg with a 4-speed auto, and 27/34 with a manual. So, the manual-transmission models tie at 30 mpg overall. The Aveo, for its size, is a gas hog.

    On the plus side, GMFAF can now tell all the GM doubters (a.k.a. realists) that they have 20 (!) models getting 30 mpg or better, rather than 18.

    I love GM’s webpage for the Aveo, which starts w/ a graphic comparing the Aveo to the Fit, Versa, and Yaris. It flashes on the screen very quickly, and has the Aveo in bold. If you do a screencap, you see that they trumpet the price advantage: an Aveo sedan is $300 cheaper than a Yaris, while getting MUCH worse economy (24/34 vs 29/36). By the EPA’s reckoning, that would take about 1 1/2 years to make up, after which the Yaris would be saving you money, and you wouldn’t have to suffer the experience of driving an Aveo, to boot.

  • avatar

    Managing Pontiac with terrible rebadge jobs like this is why the brand is now outsold by Kia and can’t even move exceptional cars like the G8. GM utterly destroyed this brand by repeating this mistake for the past 30 years.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    G3? What, “Firefly” was taken? Abomination, thy name is G3…..and that ain’t a fender (pseudo) vent…..so high up, it appears to be the first “A-pillar vent”….a new trend!?

    OT, though, last night I rented the video of “Vantage Point”, (OK, I was entertainment-challenged. Can we move on?) The blue whip that Dennis Quaid’s stunt double drove in the final chase scene: It had a Chevy badge. Anyone know what that was? Anyone know why GM isn’t bringing that cool ride stateside? That seemed a worthy small GM car…..yet, here in the USA, we get, well, apparently what GM thinks we deserve…..

  • avatar
    cmus

    …building an army of straw men, only to set them on fire.

    It’s a scary way to market a product.

  • avatar
    John B

    TEXN3:

    Re: “Did you bring one home to the wives?”

    Unfortunately I’m in Toronto – but one wife is as much as I can handle. A friend passing through Utah picked up a six pack for me.

  • avatar
    Ken_DFA

    Does anyone else think the face on the G3 looks like Scooter from the GO-BOTS?

    http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:fIYO4OhdakjxcM:http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/gobots/vg.gif

  • avatar
    HarveyBirdman

    Ken,

    I knew I had seen that face before…

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    frizzlefry :
    September 19th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Not only do we already have the aveo, but it sucks on top of that. Why sell two versions of it?

    Because GM has two sets of dealers that want/need a full line up of vehicles-Chevy, and Pontiac/Buick/GMC. What one gets, the other one wants/needs to get as well. Both want/need a subcompact, and this is the only one GM has to sell. So, there you go.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Finally a sucessor to the astonishing T1000 and a like-wise worthly one. It’s been obvious for a long time that GM should have cancelled Pontiac along with Olds , and for the same reasons.GM don’t have a clue what to do with them other than badge engineer them so poorly that they bring nothing to the market. Lutz and his half-hearted GTO met with failure and the whole G series line is understood by no one and appeals to no one.Pontiac’s rich foundation of product thru the 50’s and 60’s has been lost or thrown away at GM.It’s what killed Oldsmobile , and Pontiac is following the same formula. Can the Volt save this company? Bill C.

  • avatar

    There are actually a lot of great micro-brews in Utah. The G3? I just threw up on my keyboard when I saw the fender vent. Is that that spoiler of this decade? Ugh.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Mark MacInnis The car is a OPEL Astra, not a Chevy. Same Saturn Astra we get here in the states but probably not with the slow engine they send here. Of course it’s a movie stunt car, so it could have anything under the hood. Pretty slick driving around those little streets. They should have made the G3 off the Astra and put the sportier engine in it, then it would really bring some excitment.

    The magic of utube, Vantage Point Astra, the trailer looked pretty good, how was the movie, predictable?

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Geotpf when TTAC first posted about bring this G3 some time back it said the dealers didn’t even ask or want it. It’s something to meet CAFE regs, of course that would require people to actually BUY them. Oops I forgot about Avis.

  • avatar
    billc83

    Taken from the FastLane blog: “Isn’t the G3 just a re-badged Chevy Aveo? The G3 and Aveo share a lot of components, true. But Toyota and Lexus also share components. Why re-engineer the wheel unnecessarily?”

    This statement disgusts me. This isn’t a new model on a new platform designed from the ground up save for some shared components with the Aveo. This isn’t even a moderately new model designed from the ground up based on the same platform as the Aveo.

    This is an Aveo with ever-so-slightly tweaked styling cues and Pontiac badges where appropriate. Period.

    I had a chance to look up close at the G3’s interior (a Canadian Wave in a mall parking lot – I didn’t recognize it so swooped in for a closer look) and it was just a horrid as the Aveo I looked at whilst car shopping earlier in the year.

    A badge-engineered rehash of the (horrible) Chevrolet Aveo? A faux fender vent placed obnoxiously high?

    No thanks!

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Edward Niedermeyer : “an achievement on par with being the “best microbrew in Utah.”

    John B : Well, Polygamy Porter was pretty good when I tried it:

    http://www.wasatchbeers.com/polygporter.html

    TEXN3 : Did you bring one home to the wives?

    Even I’m not that stupid. If I took one of these (a G3) home for the wives they’d cut off my b***s!

  • avatar
    davey49

    One of the commenters mentions “As if fighting off the image of all the grand ams and sunfires rolling around wasn’t bad enough”
    If the G3 Aveo manages to propagate like the Grand Am and Sunfire did then GM are geniuses.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    I guess you cant imagine what its like to shop for a car that will provide basic car needs at a reasonable price.. the buyers are not looking for a Honda,Toyota,Kia,or whatever.
    They are looking for a cheap car payment on a car they bought from a dealer that has been in business for more than a couple years..
    You REALLY don’t get it,do you?

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    i bet its a hit. there’s avoes all over the place here, the pontiac will seem a step up. like it used to mean. I predect a success.

  • avatar
    Adub

    The GM engineers I know are ready to puke over this car. They’ve given up. Management is so clueless the engineers all walk around in a daze, waiting for mass layoff to begin.

    Management listens to everything market research has to say (even though 90% is made-up BS) and ignores what their own engineers tell them. Hell, I don’t even know why they do competitive evaluations anymore. Anytime they point out a better feature that a competitor has, management always comes up with some lame-ass excuse to keep things the same.

    Seriously, GM managment actually thought the Aztek was going to be a hit.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I guess you cant imagine what its like to shop for a car that will provide basic car needs at a reasonable price.. the buyers are not looking for a Honda,Toyota,Kia,or whatever.

    Why not? If you want cheap car payments, you’re talking leasing. Have you seen GM’s lease rates recently?

    With leasing no longer an option, your options for low, low payments work out about the same for any small car, and with the Aveo you are going to get killed on residual value. Unless you’re hell-bent financing and banking the interest, there’s no reason to buy this car.

    They are looking for a cheap car payment on a car they bought from a dealer that has been in business for more than a couple years..

    The Honda dealer I bought my Fit from has been in business since Honda started selling Civics in Canada, or about thirty years. Most Toyota dealers are about the same age. Heck, most dealers, excepting the boutiques, automalls and newly-arrived Mitsubishi and Mini franchises, are at least ten to fifteen years old, even Saturn and Kia.

    You REALLY don’t get it,do you?

    No, I think you’re reaching for an excuse for this car, and there isn’t one, unless you buy used and let some other sucker eat the depreciation.

    I like the Aveo, and when it only had to worry about the Echo, Rio and Accent it was viable. Against the Yaris, Fit and Versa? No chance.

  • avatar
    morbo

    I guess you cant imagine what its like to shop for a car that will provide basic car needs at a reasonable price.. the buyers are not looking for a Honda,Toyota,Kia,or whatever.

    Of course I can. I’ve been there. It’s callled buying a used car. A used Camry/Galant/Altima/Sonata can be had cheaper than a new Aveo, with better build quality, significantly more space, and fairly close mileage in 4-Cylinder models. Hell, a used Grand Am/G6 gives you identical build quality, similar mileage, and an even cheaper price. The only reason to buy this thing is because you’re too emotional buy a used car (wrto being unable to stomach the concept buying used).

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Anyone even entertain the idea that this (old) design is being introduced to maybe give Pontiac a fighting chance when the next, better, model comes out?

    Sell a few G3s now, release a better, updated model soonafter– make it appear to the uninformed masses that you’re really throwing your best game by updating your newest model first.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    GM never learns – they did the same thing with the T body Chevy Shitbox Chevette in the ’70 – Pontiac had the T1000 and there were versions for all the overseas companies IIRC. At least the Chevette had the virtues of rear wheel drive, simple to repair engine, and even a diesel version. Was it a good car? Not by my standards, but it was good enough for the time; my dad and my sister both owned them.

    My dad had a ’79 one with black interior and no A/C, which meant the windows were in a permanent state of roll-down after he moved to Florida. That car did last for 14 years and 180,000 miles until it rotted away. I’m not sure the Aveo has it in it to do the same.

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