By on February 6, 2009

The marching orders from TTAC Central were clear: get my hands on a Pontiac G8 GXP and give the B&B a story. Locally, there were nine manually-transmission’d prospects in GM’s online inventory locator. But as Mr. Karesh later warned me, the hi-performance, rear wheel-drive muscle cars I found were nothing but a time sensitive mirage.

The chances of scoring this review didn’t look good. I was somewhere near Sugarland, on the edge of a receptionist’s counter, when the plan unraveled completely.

She was positively engrossed in a hardcover novel, little else was on her desk. I soon met a salesperson who offered the G8 GT and some advice on finding a GXP in town. He (supposedly) called another dealer to verify that the Aussie-sourced metal hasn’t reached showrooms. They remarked that the system is wrong because “the cars are not on the ground.” So I mentioned a nearby, stand-alone Pontiac/GMC dealer.

Supposedly, it is on the verge of liquidation. If that was meant to keep me from leaving, his delivery lacked the expected passion. That, and he gave my contact information to the person on the phone before saying goodbye.

Maybe I missed the point, and it was one helluva shell game. Or it all made sense: on Wednesday, the venerable Lawrence Marshall dealerships pulled a “Bill Heard” and kicked the bucket. And never before had I witnessed this cocktail of candor, depression and utter detachment from a dealership meeting a well-dressed “up” (that’s me) who breezed in with a nice set of wheels.

As an automotive journalist, I want to drive a G8 GXP and have “an obligation to cover the story for good or ill.” So, after months of putting it off, it’s no coincidence that today is the day I grabbed “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” from the library. And why I cannot stop reading it. No matter, things are getting ugly on the showroom floors and people know it.

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37 Comments on “In Search of… the Pontiac G8 GXP...”


  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a classic with unlimited shelf-life.

    The G8 GXP is a classic with limited shelf-life.

    Get them while you can, and pray that nothing every breaks.

  • avatar
    minion444

    You need to bring your lawyer with you for the next attempt and don’t forget your medicine…..

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    The system is not wrong.

    And, hey, lookee this: “What your bidding on . . .”

  • avatar
    snafu

    Let’s get Leonard Nimoy to do a in search of series on this . . . You could get a pre production Camaro.

  • avatar
    akear

    Lutz’s dream car is being driven right into the toilet by GM.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Jeff Puthuff

    That link is chilling and, as an Australian, very sad to see.

    The pain spreads far and wide.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    That article was nearly impossible to understand.

    I figured you wanted to drive a GXP and there weren’t any.

    Hopefully they’ll show up at some point.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    It’s sad, but after looking at pictures of that GXP on ebay, I’ve lost any interest I had in driving it. It just looks cheap…certainly not worth $40K or even $30K.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    The outside looks pretty good (except for the tail lights). The inside is unforgivable. GM has had decades to look at their competitors interiors and see what sells. That interior and the past 30 years of cheap interiors is exactly why GM is in the toilet. Those responsible are not UAW members. Those responsible make millions of dollars per year and put out crap like this, then blame their workers, the economy and everyone and everything but themselves.

  • avatar
    jckirlan11

    Was that me, or did anyone else have trouble understanding Sajeev’s article? I didn’t get it.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    ” Maybe I missed the point, and it was one helluva shell game. ” This article, you mean?

    Jerome10 got it right. “This article is nearly impossible to understand.”

  • avatar
    FrustratedConsumer

    @Jerome10 – And here I thought is was just me. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Yeah, I also fail to make the connection about how the car he drives to the dealership has a causal relationship with whether or not that dealership has a Pontiac G8 GXP.

  • avatar
    akear

    I find it strange that GM’s best engineered cars are its biggest failures.

  • avatar
    kamikaze2b

    I agree with the other sentiments, this article is written in a very odd manner and it’s hard to figure out what exactly the point was.

    I can’t beleive that they are already being discounted so heavily. Performance wise it’s a winner, but the interior leaves a lot to be desired. No real nav in a $41k (MSRP) car? What’s with those bizarre window switches?

  • avatar
    p00ch

    Nope, JD didn’t help decipher this article…

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    like others said:

    I understand the author is looking for the gxp and couldn’t find one.

    the rest is ‘giberish’

  • avatar
    HeBeGB

    The ‘edit’ button not working for Sajeev either?

  • avatar
    mtypex

    They should take kangaroos and dress them up as koalas or Firebird-firechickens. And then run the promotion at Outback Steakhouse.

    Hey, at least automotive and casual dining can go down together!

    They don’t teach this stuff in marketing school.

  • avatar

    I’ve already seen one and a new CTS-V on the road here. People are also buying them and posting threads on various LSX sites. They are out there but with GM/Pontiac on the brink it may be a small production run indeed.

  • avatar
    amcadoo

    Take it easy on Sajeev. He’s obviously heavily under the influence ….. of Hunter S Thompson, and probably feeling an unexplained desire to burn to Vegas straight through on a three day bender.

  • avatar

    WOW…tough crowd!

    Points:

    1. I was on a mission to test this vehicle, just like a certain gonzo journalist was tasked with covering a story at the Mint Hotel in 1971.

    (The difference is that nobody is on drugs in this blog, and it will not become a major motion picture.)

    2. GXP online inventory for the city of Houston didn’t match what was “on the ground.” As in nine cars turned to zero.

    3. The salesman was surprisingly uninterested in taking me as an “up”, giving my contact info to some guy from another dealership instead. I found that a little odd for a person in his line of work.

    4. Never (and I mean it) have I seen a receptionist so glued to a novel that she was totally oblivious to a customer leaning against her desk for 5-10 seconds. And when she got a salesman, it was casual enough to remind me of when I gave my 2 weeks notice at my last job. Phoning it in, baby.

    5. Sugarland is a suburb near Houston. I’m not making this shit up.

    6. Again, what kind of salesman takes a decent lead (who shows up in a E39 M5!) and gives it to a guy on the phone?

    7. Not to put too fine a point on #6, but someone who rolls up in a E39 M5 is probably a serious buyer for a GXP.

    8. Dealerships are dropping like flies in Houston, and it points to more job losses in the oil and gas sector in the past month or two.

    9. The mood at most dealerships is drastically different than it was back in…oh, lets say…January of 2008.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @Sajeev:

    Well your mistake was arriving well-dressed in an E39 M5.

    Every domestic dealership knows that’s a bad “up” because the M5 driver’s plan is to complain about any perceived shortcomings of the GXP and declare their 6-year old BMW the superior vehicle as they leave the lot. Then that night they’ll post on BMW forums about how shitty the G8 was.

    Also, GM dealers know that its only current customers are going to be loyalty purchases. Therefore, to make the Pontiac dealer think you’re a serious GXP buyer you’ve got to roll up in something like a Trans Am, STS, Bonneville SSEI, or a ’94-’96 Impala SS.

    And forget about talking with receptionists- once you find a dealer with a GXP, just walk up to it and keep intently looking over the car until a salesman finally walks over to you. Don’t talk about the GXP at first, just tell him how awesome your current GM car is, and how your family loves GM, and how you’re working on restoring a ’80 Corvette right now. Then, once you start looking over the GXP, drop some lines in about how Hondas and BMWs are for pansies. At this point you seem like an easy sell, and are well on your way to getting the keys and turning in a 5-star (I’m hoping) review to TTAC.

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    Sajeev Mehta :

    thanks for the cliff notes;

    all your points were clear in the original text.
    I guess I (most) thought there was something else (deeper) in the writing or behind the curtain etc…

    however, given that you appear to have had 0 actual interest in purchasing said vehicle, it seems that the receptionist / salesperson treated you ‘appropriately’…
    maybe they have secret mind reading tricks…

  • avatar
    jckirlan11

    Savjeev: drinking and writing don’t mix. Or could be your too witty for most of us (read me).

  • avatar
    shaker

    One could probably do a “Fear and Loathing” mini-movie centered around a drunken “gonzo journalist’s” coverage of the upcoming Pittsburgh Auto Show.

  • avatar
    Rusty Brinkley

    Sajeev, I may be a bit crazy but if you find said car, buy it! I’ve seen a co-worker’s G8 GT and I thought it was a great car. I just didn’t understand the size of the screen for the stereo and not have some sort of sat/nav option…

    I also have to agree with ajla…you have to go to a dealership acting like don’t know much at all about cars. Salespeople love people like that…that’s the impression I’ve always gotten.

  • avatar

    ajla : Well your mistake was arriving well-dressed in an E39 M5.

    Maybe, I’ll grab a vette, that should work. Though I wonder if they even noticed given the customer parking lot’s location to the dealership, the lack of salesmen searching for “ups” and the fact that people are reading novels at work.

    ___________________

    And forget about talking with receptionists- once you find a dealer with a GXP,

    Couldn’t find a GXP, or a salesman. But point taken for next time.

    ___________________
    improvement_needed : however, given that you appear to have had 0 actual interest in purchasing said vehicle, it seems that the receptionist / salesperson treated you ‘appropriately’…maybe they have secret mind reading tricks…

    Obviously TTAC’s readers have more insight into the situation than the dealership(s) I visit. Unless they can decipher my interest from the comment, “Hi, can I talk to someone in sales” I’d have to disagree with you.

    I think they know the end is near, and they’ve stopped caring.

    ___________________
    jckirlan11 : Sajeev: drinking and writing don’t mix. Or could be your too witty for most of us (read me).

    Press assignments are a strange, surreal task. Just keep that in mind. :)

    ___________________

    shaker : One could probably do a “Fear and Loathing” mini-movie centered around a drunken “gonzo journalist’s” coverage of the upcoming Pittsburgh Auto Show.

    The more veteran journos in our clan can verify, but I think those days are gone, especially at smaller/regional auto shows.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    I like the G8, but I own a GTO, Holden’s other car in the US, so I’m a bit biased. If I really wanted to go to 4 doors from 2 doors, or if I wanted to cull the family stable, I might consider it.

    I’m actually trying to get some seat time in a G8 GXP through a relative of my SO who (still) works at GM. Keep your fingers crossed.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Right below this thread, this Google ad appeared:

    “Pointiac G8 Overstock
    Find Overstocked Dealers Because They Cut Prices to Clear Their Lot!
    http://www.Overstock.AutoDiscountGroup.com”

    …must be V6’s…

  • avatar

    I too am in search of a GXP to review, especially after spending review time in a G8 GT for another paper. Pontiac claims thee are 5 GXPs in my area, but all are slush boxes.

    The lack of nav is due to US safety regs (the screen is too low). However, there is a $300 hack to allow for video in motion, couple this with a nav box and you still can get nav.

    I liked the interior myself, definitely better than most domestics. Car seemed well put together, but why fake hood scoops..if you are going to add them make them work.

  • avatar
    Matthew Sullivan

    It’s “Sugar Land”, not “Sugarland”.

    -Matt
    Sugar Land, TX

  • avatar
    rodster205

    Here’s another tip… go walk the lot by yourself and look for them. And sneak in the back lot and look.

    The salespersons rarely even know what they have. When I bought my last vehicle I had to beg the guy to track it down because it was on the factory website but their inventory list. He was a good guy that I had gotten to know over months of kicking tires. He swore they did not have that vehicle until I pointed him to the factory website with the VIN. He took the VIN to the (new) inventory person and they looked through keys and found the keys. But it wasn’t out on the lot, which I knew because I had walked the lot myself plenty of times. He had to go through the back lot hitting the panic button on the key to find it. It was covered with dust and had been there for several months because the previous inventory person never added it to their inventory “handout” for the salespeople.

  • avatar

    Sorry about the Sugarland/Sugar Land thing. I’m from Alief, so these things happen.

    Story Update: I spoke with the Pontiac/GMC dealer that was on the phone. Who knows who actually took my contact info, but it was a Sales Manager who called me back…nice guy, but he didn’t have my original request and gave me no specifics when I (re)asked about a GXP. I’ll be writing down VIN#s from GM’s website and asking for their ETA on the lot.

    Like I’ve said previously: either the situation is as bad as we at TTAC believe, or salesmen in this town are acting seriously screwy when a lead walks into the dealership.

  • avatar
    golf4me

    Do all automotive journalists have to beg around at local dealers for a test drive? Is that how that works? ;-)

  • avatar

    golf4me : Do all automotive journalists have to beg around at local dealers for a test drive? Is that how that works? ;-)

    I know there’s a flying vagina joke in here. Somewhere.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    I have much love for the E39 M5. I considered getting one, but a general lack of information on reliability (although most said they were actually less problematic than the 530i) scared me away a bit.

    The GXP is coming out two years late. UGH. Thanks, GM. I hope it drives a bit tighter than the CTSV my friend just picked up…

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