By on September 18, 2008

As many of our Best and Brightest have pointed-out, all the hype surrounding the Chevrolet’s plug-in electric gas hybrid Volt obscures the fact that General Motors’ future depends on selling what it’s got right now, right here. Whether that’s intentional or not is a debate for another post. Suffice it to say, this. We flagged the arrival of the badge-engineered Chevy Aveo back in June. Canadians have already been “enjoying” the G3 as the Pontiac Wave, and now it’s here. Well, not yet. Later this year, as an ’09, at a yet-to-be-announced price. Meanwhile, in a desperate bid to link this POS with U.S. Pontiac’s former “We Build Excitement” strapline (now “Pontiac is car”), the official press release touts the G3’s “sporty functionality” (see: fender vent). “More than ever, fuel economy is an important factor in Pontiac’s formula of style and performance,” claims Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC. “The Vibe, G3, G5, and G6 prove that you don’t have to sacrifice sporty design and responsive driving to achieve impressive fuel economy.” Is that what they prove? Who knew?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

54 Comments on “Pontiac (Almost) Launches Rebadged Aveo (a.k.a. G3)...”


  • avatar
    Liger

    Ugh.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    It still begs the question though: WHY!?

    To think that someone would buy a Pontiac G3 because it looks “sportier” than a Chevy Aveo is ridiculous.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I’m counting down until they have to start giving these away with every new G8 V8 purchase.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Yeah, but that fender vent is HOT.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    GM is still completely and utterly clueless.

  • avatar
    Casual Observer

    If this is what you are going to do with Pontiac, then just get rid of the brand.

    Pontiac is supposed to be the performance division. “Sporty design” is worthless without some driving performance. It should be a boutique brand, and fuel economy should be down on the list of priorities.

  • avatar
    geeber

    What a quote:

    “More than ever, fuel economy is an important factor in Pontiac’s formula of style and performance,” claims Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC. “The Vibe, G3, G5, and G6 prove that you don’t have to sacrifice sporty design and responsive driving to achieve impressive fuel economy.”

    More and more, I’m convinced that GM public relations employees and top management live in some sort of parallel universe, where “up” is “down,” “black” is “white,” and “G3” and “sporty” can be used in the same sentence with a straight face.

    Can we please put Pontiac out of its misery already?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It still begs the question though: WHY!?

    Because Pontiac dealers are whiny and shortsighted, and GM has no backbone.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Maybe I am in a weird mood, but just seeing that fender vent made me laugh out loud.

  • avatar
    mel23

    I’d like to see the projected numbers on this ‘plan’. Given the new Honda plant coming on line, the new Fit, unpredictability of gas prices, the costs of launching and supporting an additional model, how much profit could GM make on this in the best case? I very much doubt the dealers would make anything, and would probably lose. Given floorplan, parts inventory, training costs and at least some loss of sales of G5/G6, I think this is a loser idea all around. So let’s do it.

  • avatar
    crackers

    Since this product is pretty much at the bottom of the heap, it will sell solely on price. All this will do is force Pontiac and Chevrolet dealers to compete with each other; they will have to keep dropping the price until they lose money on every sale. Then they will begin the old familiar refrain – “we can’t make money on small cars”

  • avatar

    Ugh, kill it with fire…

  • avatar
    crc

    This pisses me off. I can’t believe Canada got their version first.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    What the Aveo proves is that GM can pay somebody else to build a really small, really cheap car that still doesn’t get very good gas mileage.

    Wow. Nice show, gents.

  • avatar

    for some unknown reason, pontiac sells really well to the québécois. this mystery is why pontiac is still a “reputable” name north of the 49th.

    disclaimer: ex-pat canook albeit from non-pepsi mae west parts …

  • avatar
    andyinsdca

    Honda Fit (roughly same mileage & price) vs Pontiac G3/Aveo? Which one wins?

    GM is really, really clueless.

  • avatar
    Ken Elias

    More proof that the General’s steering mechanism lacks a brand rudder. Somehow, a Pontiac-badged Aveo just ain’t gonna make it (other than as a rental).

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    for some unknown reason, pontiac sells really well to the québécois. this mystery is why pontiac is still a “reputable” name north of the 49th.

    Perhaps because it “fits” linguistically? “Le Pontiac” is easy to say in French, moreso than “Le Chevrolet” even, and certainly more than “Le Toyota” or “L’Honda”.

    Or it could be that they’re cheap, and Quebeckers (outside of Montreal and Quebec City) are not exactly swimming in cash?

    Personally, it seems to me that Mazda owns Quebec.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    The picture of that G3 put me in a catatonic state for a while. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or puke, really wanted to puke.

    This is a total waste of time and money, THEY. WILL. NEVER. SELL. Pontiac must have some serious power left at GM or they are all just clueless and stupid at HQ. I think it’s a little of both.

  • avatar
    BuckD

    All that’s lacking are the hood scoops and a Firehawk decal on the hood.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    SupaMan :
    September 18th, 2008 at 9:32 am

    It still begs the question though: WHY!?

    Because broke Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealers want to have a sub-compact to sell. It’s that simple. If Chevy has it, PBG needs to have it. PBG is just Chevy Part Deux at this point, and that’s all it really can be. It’s too small to give many unique products to and too big to kill. Mercury (or, more specifically, Lincoln-Mercury) is in the same boat over at Ford.

    Casual Observer :
    September 18th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    If this is what you are going to do with Pontiac, then just get rid of the brand.

    Can’t. There are a lot of people who will buy a Pontiac but not a Chevy, even if they are the same damned car. So, if you eliminate Pontiac, sales of vehicles that have Pontiac and Chevy versions of the same car will have sales drop to the point where a vehicle that makes money or at least breaks even loses money will now lose money, since the plant runs at a lower capacity, with higher labor costs, higher fixed costs such as utilities, the mortage on the plant, taxes on the land the plant sits on, plus development and tooling costs. Same fixed costs plus fewer cars to spread around with means big losses. Not to mention the several billion dollars in bribes GM would have to pay to the dealers to shut down the brand.

    If Pontiac goes away, Buick and GMC need to go away too (since all three are combined at this point). And if all three go away, GM’s domestic sales drop by 25% or more. GM can’t afford an additional 25% sales drop (on top of their declining sales for other reasons). Nor can they afford the billions in dealer payoffs.

    Shutting down Pontiac would mean GM goes bankrupt, so they won’t do it. And, to keep Pontiac (and it’s dealers) economically viabile, it needs to have compact and subcompact cars to sell.

    That doesn’t mean GM shouldn’t cut some brands. I would cut or sell Hummer, Saab, and Saturn. But all three of those are mostly stand-alones (while Pontiac is tied to Buick and GMC), and their combined sales are less than Pontiac’s alone.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    There are a lot of people who will buy a Pontiac but not a Chevy, even if they are the same damned car.

    That always amazes me. Are there really people out there who would buy a Ford or Toyota instead of a Chevy or Buick/Pontiac/GMC went away? And do these people really make GM any money?

    I would see that argument working for Saturn or Saab, but BPG?

  • avatar
    netrun

    To anyone who says that taking GM through a Ch11 would free up the talent within GM to make good cars, I give you the G3.

    This has got to be the least anticipated vehicle ever.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    “We Build Excitement” strapline (now “Pontiac is car”)

    Pontiac is car? Who the hell came up with that? What were the rejected lines?

    Pontiac love Lamp!
    Family love Pontiac!
    Hulk Smash Car!
    Pontiac make go!

  • avatar
    blindfaith

    I am insulted that GM would think it’s customers are that stupid.

    For GM to survive, I must have this mantra

    I am that stupid

    I am that stupid

    I am that stupid

    I am that stupid

    I am that stupid

    I am that stupid

    I am that stupid

    I am that stupd

    STUPID I AM?

  • avatar
    rob

    OMG! Thanks for the laugh RF!

    Pontiac G3 Fender Vents: the monster under that svelte hood’s gotta breath, right?

  • avatar
    blautens

    Ken Elias :

    Somehow, a Pontiac-badged Aveo just ain’t gonna make it (other than as a rental).

    Please, a rental? Who would rent this? Last week’s rental for me was a 2009 Toyota Highlander at $28 a day….I slogged 500 miles on the highway and got about 26 MPG.

    Who would rent this thing? For 2 dollars less a day and 4 more MPG? Ugh. Not me.

    And about the fender vent – do you think the person who had to design it sleeps well at night? Seriously – he considers himself a designer, a man of creativity and even an artist, of sorts. Some GM manager tells him to “make that Aveo look sporty – gimme one of them fender vent thingies!”.

    If he refuses – his job is toast. So he carries out the command from above, and just drinks himself to oblivion…

    (That’s my little scenario – someone else feel free to sketch out how that happened).

  • avatar
    zenith

    Insurance companies would rent this thing. There has to be some incentive for their customers to drive defensively. Or to avoid driving near bars, restaurants that serve liquor,quickie marts and grocery stores with liquor licenses,etc. Or to have a car anywhere that has hurricanes, hail, tornadoes, snow, or ice.

    Given the prospect of spending 3 weeks in one of these while the good car is in the shop many people will skip the “free car”–thus saving the ins. cos. lots of money with which they can build bigger office buildings and pay bigger executive bonuses.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Why not sell the 3 door version here?
    It’s at least sporty looking.

  • avatar

    Why not sell the 3 door version here?
    It’s at least sporty looking.

    There’s a 3-door model?

  • avatar
    Adub

    That thing is hideous! I hope Pontiac chokes on it.

  • avatar
    8rings

    At least we are hearing about this one. I read 7 car mags each months plus spend coutless hours reading gearhead stuff online and even I missed the intoduction of the G5….
    I can wait to hear the advertisements….The “first ever” G3.
    I think the first ever thing is the most comical advertising I have ever heard, what the hell does it mean…..First ever b/c no one else is stupid enough to try and pass it off as a car?

  • avatar
    nudave

    Hey GM! I’m still waiting to see the Caddy and SAAB versions. What are you waiting for?

  • avatar
    Rix

    Not insane- just inane. What exactly is sporty about this tin can? The sport tuned lawnmower engine? And what about this car is stylish? And what exactly gives it responsive performance? Compared to which competitor?

  • avatar
    M1EK

    zenith, when I was stuck with the Aveo for a week on my last business trip to Huntsville, I drove as fast as the thing would allow, just to get the hell out of it.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Rebadge the G8 as a Chevy and plow Pontiac under! My father-in-law is a dyed-in-the-wool Pontiac man, but I think even he is embarrassed at this. That his Firehawk shares the same nosebadge as this rolling (cheap) appliance is sad even for me, and I’m not a huge fan of Pontiac. The fact that Gm thinks people will flock to this variant of the turd-mobile as opposed to the Chevy-badged variant is simply amazing and scary at the same time. What incentive does one have in buying an Aveo/G3?

  • avatar
    Casual Observer

    They need to take the G8 and work it down the product line. Make a rear-drive G6 variant with a 6-cyl and a rear-drive G4 variant with a 4-cyl. Make them all look like relatives, then offer each with GT and GXP trim/engine upgrades and standard trannies.

    Let Chevy worry about saving the planet – Pontiac should focus on making autos.

  • avatar
    ajla

    What’s annoying here is that I know Pontiac will make a G3 GT with 17 inch chrome wheels and hood scoops later on.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    Can’t wait to see the Buick, Saab, and Cadillac versions of this car…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What’s annoying here is that I know Pontiac will make a G3 GT with chrome wheels and hood scoops later on.

    You know what? They won’t. At least we’ll be spared that indignity because GM will not spend a red cent on this car; they’re doing it in spite and to appease Pontiac dealers crying for small cars to sell.

    That’s not to say we won’t see fender vents on the Aveo…

  • avatar

    “What this means to you: Yet another weapon in GM’s small-car arsenal. — Paul Lienert, Correspondent”

    What was that one about knives and gun fights?

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    blautens you got that whole fender vents design thing perfectly right, excpet it was most likely marketing with their bright ideas from some focus group that insisted on it. This sort of thing happen all over in the deign world, just look at all the ugly crap you see every where brought to you buy the marketing department and only made less ugly by the designers who try to salvage their names.
    Let the experts who know how to to their jobs just do them and get the marketing flacks trying to justify their existence out of the picture.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Can’t wait to see the Buick, Saab, and Cadillac versions of this car…

    Saab could work. No. Really.

    Stuff the 260hp turbo four from the Cobalt/HHR SS, wrap in decent sheetmetal and give us a quality interior and you have an evil-handling, hideously overpowered semi-lux front-driver just begging for Viggen badges.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    A 260hp four in the Aveo wouldn’t work. It would have the mother of all torque-steer. And it would tip over at red lights when the brakes were applied.

    Though, I’ve been crying for a small Saab ever since GM bought Saab some TWENTY YEARS AGO. It wouldn’t have been too hard to make a 9-1 out of the Astra platform. Think Mazdaspeed3. Where’s my small Saab, GM? I feel robbed.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    A 260hp four in the Aveo wouldn’t work. It would have the mother of all torque-steer. And it would tip over at red lights when the brakes were applied.

    Yes, yes it would. That’s what we call character.

  • avatar
    blindfaith

    GM can spend money for fake stuff on the outside but will not spend a dime on improving the gas mileage that really makes this the worst buy in the AVEO car segment. GM remember when a person looks for cheap car they look at gas mileage.

    What would it take to improve fuel economy, independent fuel injection, dropping the horsepower, improve the intact and out take restrictors, Variable Engine Controls, electric oil pump, electric fan, electric power steering, electric water pump, how about a small turbo or gear ratio changes?

    Remember all that unburned gasoline ends up as sludge inside the engine and very quickly if they reduced the quarts of oil to 3.5 or something stupid.

  • avatar
    charly

    Why can’t a hot hatchback work in the US? Alfa sells small cars and it has the image of making exciting cars.

    ps. With what engine does the G3 start or is that the problem?

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Pontiac love Lamp!
    Family love Pontiac!
    Hulk Smash Car!
    Pontiac make go!

    Thanks for the laugh, Seth.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Why can’t a hot hatchback work in the US? Alfa sells small cars and it has the image of making exciting cars.

    Charly – Hot hatchbacks can work. See the Mazda 3.
    However, the Aveo by any other name ain’t a hot hatchback.

    It’s a re-rebadged Daewoo. The only engine available is a 1.6-liter inline four that cranks out a paltry 103 hp at the very top of the power band (5,800 rpm) — and unless you’re willing to severely sacrifice fuel economy by running the engine hard, you’ll have to make do with significantly less than that.

    I guess that you have a decent enough income to have never suffered an Aveo as a rental car. I got one on a trip to Boston a few months ago. It was the most pathetic car I’ve driven in a decade.
    Putting a Pontiac nose on it is, well, can I say it’s putting lipstick on a Daewoo?

  • avatar
    charly

    As a European i can only buy the 1.4. But they could put a better engine in it/loose some weight for the pontiac but somehow i doubt thet will do that.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    This is the perfect car for someone that wants a cheap Korean car, but feels guilty buying one with a Korean name. (Gotta have that American badge to park it at the Union hall.) The shame about it is for a few bucks more, you can get a MUCH better car.

  • avatar
    HPE

    We build excrement.

  • avatar
    davey49

    check http://www.chevrolet.co.uk for pics of the 3 door Aveo. I don’t know how to make links

  • avatar
    KixStart

    There’s an announcement up on fastlane.gmblogs.com; Pontiac G3 is confirmed. Try to contain your excitement.

    The announcement includes some “Q&A”:

    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?

    Well, then, OK!

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • threeer: As a longtime Bimmer fan, looking at this makes my heart hurt. Makes me miss my E36…and my...
  • Ol Shel: Edsel asks for a re-evaluation, thinks it got screwed.
  • turbo_awd: Good one, Karen.. Yeah, Covid + crazy wildfires and we had a couple of days of possibly not enough...
  • Old_WRX: “two big nostrils” Maybe the same people who make those eyelash things people put on cars like...
  • mcs: The roadster will be lighter and faster than the plaid S. Hopefully smaller too.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber