Junkyard Find: 2009 Pontiac G3 Wave

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2009 pontiac g3 wave

The years 2008 and 2009 were interesting times for GM, with the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 1, 2009 and the Pontiac Division clearly on the ropes (despite the Bondo applied over Pontiac’s rusty image by the Solstice).

To The General’s warlords, only one solution to Pontiac’s woes made sense: take the Chevy Aveo, itself a South Korea-built Daewoo Kalos, and give it Pontiac badges!

Thus was the G3 born. Available for only the 2009 model year, the G3 didn’t get much chance to cannibalize Aveo sales prior to the demise of Pontiac early in the 2010 model year.

It appears that the Canadian-market “G3 Wave” name was used on some U.S.-market GM promotional materials as the final choppers left the roof of the Pontiac Embassy, so I’m including it in the headline just to annoy… well, nobody. About a dozen people seem to know the G3 even existed, which makes it one of the rarest Pontiacs ever made.

For this reason, I’ve been trying to find a discarded G3 for years. Finally, this kicky, excitement-packed red hatchback showed up in one of my favorite Denver yards. Next on my junkyard shopping list of obscure GM machines is the all-but-nonexistent Saab 9-4X.

Like its Aveo5 sibling, the G3 depreciated quickly. Recognizing the disposable nature of this car, its final owner applied an assortment of dank decals all over the dash.

Several of the stickers refer to Denver cannabis-apparel company Chiefton Supply. Perhaps the car was owned by one of Chiefton’s employees.

Sharpie graffiti on a car’s interior reduces resale value, but that’s not much of a concern with a G3. This car appears to have some affiliation with the Denver musicians of The Floating Generation; I looked for this G3 in some of TFG’s videos (after I found The Rellies’ Toyota TownAce in a San Jose yard, I always chase down such leads) but came up blank.

The cheap hood pins coupled with old front-end damage indicate that a fender-bender broke the factory hood latch and a cheap repair ensued. At that point, the countdown to junkyardization began.

You know those ads for used cars that brag about nonsmoker former owners? When you have a G3, worries about tobacco smell become irrelevant, so you might as well fire up the rankest gas-station stogies you can find.

The Pontiac brand disappeared soon after this car left the showrooms, and its Aveo sibling moved aside for its Sonic replacement for 2012. I’ll see if I can track down a defunct 2010 G6 for a future Junkyard Find.

By the time the G3 appeared in American Pontiac dealerships, nobody at GM felt like spending money on glitzy TV commercials for it. For that reason, we’ll watch this action-packed South Korean-market Daewoo Kalos ad, which is set in the United States. This commercial came out around the same time as the cell doors clanged shut on Daewoo Group founder Kim Woo Choong.

You can still buy the sedan version of the G3 to this day, if you live in a region in which the Uzbekistan-built Ravon Nexia R3 is sold.

АвтоЗАЗ builds a Ukrainian-market version called the Vida, too.

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2 of 33 comments
  • Maymar Maymar on Jul 06, 2020

    As a few others have noted, these were pretty common in Canada, as we got them much earlier. I think since the Cobalt/G5 Pursuit wasn't the absolute loss leader that the Cavalier/Sunfire was, dealers wanted something cheap to get cheap buyers in to door (certainly rather than losing them to the Chevy dealer across the road). That said, at this point, I think I might be more likely to see Sunfires than G3/Waves out in the wild.

  • RustbeltPete RustbeltPete on Jul 08, 2020

    What timing, I just saw one today, for the first time that I can recall, and I thought someone just made a Pontiac grill for their sonic. Did not know they even existed.

  • Vatchy If you want to talk about global warming, you might start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darvaza_gas_crater
  • 28-Cars-Later $55,218 for a new GR Corolla: https://www.reddit.com/r/COROLLA/comments/zcw10i/toyota_needs_to_know_the_demand_is_there_but_this/"But if OTD prices get beyond 50k there are better options"That's what people were arguing in that thread.
  • Lou_BC "The Oldsmobile Diesel engine is a series of  V6 and  V8  diesel engines produced by  General Motors from 1978 to 1985. The 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 was introduced in 1978, followed by a 261 cu in (4.3 L) V8 only for the 1979 model year. In 1982, a 263 cu in (4.3 L) V6 became available for both front and  rear-wheel drive vehicles. Sales peaked in 1981 at approximately 310,000 units, which represented 60% of the total U.S. passenger vehicle diesel market. However, this success was short-lived as the V8 diesel engine suffered severe reliability issues, and the engines were discontinued after the 1985 model year."I'd say one would be best off finding a gasser to plunk in there or take a loss and re-sell it.
  • ToolGuy GM Buying Guide:• Body on frame• V8 engine• Gasoline engine• Longitudinally-mounted engine• Normally-aspirated engine• Rear wheel drive (or 4WD)That's 6 items. Aim for 4 out of 6 or higher. (My two GM vehicles score a 6 and a 3.) This vehicle is a 1.
  • 28-Cars-Later Based on what people were posting, its going to debut with enough ADM to buy a CPO Porsche so why bother (Unless HMC can bring the hammer down somehow)?