By on January 4, 2021

2010 Pontiac G6 in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhen The General decided to eliminate the Oldsmobile brand— I’m still convinced that the main reason for the execution was the syllable Old in the marque’s name— the process took nearly a half-decade, with nostalgia-drenched “Final 500” editions of the last Oldsmobile models released with great solemnity. Even the ho-hum Silhouette minivan got a Final 500 version for its sendoff. When the Pontiac Division’s time came at the close of the 2000s, the 84-year-old marque was shoved out the door to stagger to an ignominious death, unloved and alone in a Michigan drainage ditch. Here’s one of the very last Pontiacs ever built, found in a Denver boneyard last month.

2010 Pontiac G6 in Colorado junkyard, emblem - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe division’s production story began with the 1926 Pontiac Six, and it ended when the final G6 rolled off the line at Orion Assembly in January of 2010.

2010 Pontiac G6 in Colorado junkyard, Orion Assembly sticker - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsToday’s Junkyard Find shows a build date of October 2009, which makes it the latest discarded G6 I’ve been able to locate (I found a junked July ’09 car, also in Rent Me White, last fall). The Vibe was available as a 2010 model, but production at NUMMI halted when the soon-to-become-Tesla-owned plant began shutting down in August of 2009. Some Daewoo-built G3s remained on dealer lots well into 2010, but they were 2009 models stranded by their Aveo-ness. That makes this G6 one of the last handful of Pontiacs ever made.

2010 Pontiac G6 in Colorado junkyard, engine - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsLike most late-production G6s, this car has the base 2.4-liter Ecotec (rated at 164 hp) and a zero-frills interior.

2010 Pontiac G6 in Colorado junkyard, interior - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWe can feel fairly certain that it served as a rental car for a couple of years, then soldiered on as an increasingly neglected cheap commuter for the remainder of the 2010s.

2010 Pontiac G6 in Colorado junkyard, rear view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThen a fender-bender happened, and what sane person pays a body shop to patch up a slightly bent non-truck from a defunct marque in 2020 Colorado? You’ll find every self-service car graveyard around Denver packed with 10-to-15-year-old Detroit sedans in not-so-rough condition, while their truck and sorta-truck-shaped brethren stay on the street.

2010 Pontiac G6 in Colorado junkyard, instrument cluster - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI still need to shoot a 2011 Mercury and a 2001 Plymouth for this series, but I’m still not certain that the final Saturns deserve such an honor. We’ll see.

For links to 2,000+ additional Junkyard Finds, Treasures, and Gems, head to the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

The G6 was a Chevy Malibu under the skin, but it benefited from Pontiac Excitement.

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56 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2010 Pontiac G6...”


  • avatar
    tallguy130

    I had one of these shortly after college and it was one of the worst cars I ever owned. The steering wheel made a noticeable clunking sound when turned all the way over that always made me nuts. I just happened to take it to a shop where a former GM assembly line worker was who had built these cars worked.

    He chuckled and told me this was a known issue. GM discovered there was some problem with the steering wheel assembly shortly after the line when into production. Apparently it would have been a pretty simple fix but they never wanted to spend the time or money to fix it so thousands of cars were built like that.

    This sums up pretty well why I haven’t owned a GM product since..

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Its young age is shocking, but these were never good cars, and Pontiac needed to die. Despite all the clothes-rending about this in 2010, GM is way better off now without those killed-off divisions.

    Pontiacs are still everywhere here in western PA. I guess they are cockroaches, but with the 10-year requirement to support them expired, they will thin out pretty quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      I would expect the last generation of Grands Prix and Bonnevilles to last for a very long time- if equipped with the 3800.
      And no one is junking a G8 anytime soon. They’re still selling for five figures.

      • 0 avatar
        redgolf

        My 97 GP 3.8 is still running as I drive it weekly, I bought it new and have never had any major issues, it still looks decent with some clearcoat peeling and front facia paint fading, 180 K miles!

    • 0 avatar
      mmreeses

      apples and oranges, family member bought a 2009 CRV new. Put on 293,000 miles until it was sold to our mechanic last October.

      Probaby will see 400,000 as all it needs are new suspension parts and a new VTEC solenoid.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        “apples and oranges, family member bought a 2009 CRV new. Put on 293,000 miles until it was sold to our mechanic last October.

        Probaby will see 400,000 as all it needs are new suspension parts and a new VTEC solenoid.”

        Darn tooting! Up here in Minnesota, we sold my mother in law our 2008 Honda Crv with only 206,000 miles. We replaced the starter and she’s got 218,000 miles or so.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Instead of keeping tried and true names like Sunbird, Grand Am, Grand Prix and Bonneville Pontiac decided to change the nomenclature to what sounds like the hip new high tech operating system or computer or “hey it sounds European or Japanese”.
      Longtime brand loyal customers were probably turned off by it. That and subpar cars helped to kill the brand.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        To be fair, it got a song. I don’t recall hearing any songs about a Grand Prix, Bonneville, Grand Am, Sunbird, Catalina, etc. Just the GTO and the G6, like a G6.

        https://youtu.be/lSOsaeGwWaw

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    Do you ever run a CarFax to see the history?

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      I just remembered, CarFax has a free app that allows you to put in either the VIN or plate number to view the history of the vehicle. Its not a full CarFax, but it will give you details like last emission test or oil change, and those usually show mileage.

      Its called “Car Care”, you don’t get ownership change info, but you do get service history.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        CarFax seems to have voluntary – or selective – participation.

        When my 12 Leaf got smashed in 2014, it suffered $4000 damage which was repaired at a Nissan-authorized shop. After I traded it in 2015, it ended up on a used car lot 4 states away with a clean CarFax. Neither the dealer or its repair shop said a word to CarFax about it. I let the used car dealer know this, but never heard back. They were happy to let it slide.

        Since I do all possible service and repair on my cars, CarFax would show almost nothing on them, except maybe safety inspections.

        So I don’t put much faith in CarFax, especially when so many used cars come with a free copy of a clean report. Why should they report anything different?

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          YMMV, but I see *a lot* of used cars with reported accidents using CarFax. They can also tell you # of owners, location registration history, and if it was private/fleet/corporate owned.

          I’m not saying it is 100% perfect but I’d rather have it over nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            The worst I’ve seen went the other way. Some kid I was with in Afghanistan stored his STI for the deployment. Dude could literally log into site and see the car sitting there in a climate controlled bay. He’d purchased it new.

            Yet somehow during those 10 months “accident with airbag deployment” popped up. I don’t know if he ever got it straight, but he has been getting the run-around for months when I left.

            A mistake like that would also cost someone thousands and there seemed to be no remedy for him.

            I feel like a competent inspection is probably enough to find the sort of damage I’d worry about on a used car and the most frequent use of Car Fax is use car managers trying to low-ball a trade in because someone backed into it at the mall once and your insurance company paid for a new bumper cover.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ Art – Yep, something similar happened to my family. My parents were buying a new vehicle in 2010. Their trade-in was a car that they’d purchased from a relative’s estate. The dealer tried to low-ball them because the trade-in “had been in an accident.” We’d known the car since new; the deceased relative was a retired mechanical engineer and took great care of it.

            Per the CarFax, the accident occurred (a) in a location 2+ days’ drive away and (b) 1 day after passing an emissions check in our state. The dealer mostly buckled when my father went into lawyer mode and pointed this out, but it was still annoying. Plus, this was on a Detroit car over 10 years old and with 6-figure mileage, so the haggling amounted to hundreds of dollars rather than thousands.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I’ll occasionally see the retractable top version of the G6 for sale selling for decent money because of its uniqueness. Those were only equipped with the 3.5 or 3.4 V6. However they might have some issues with the top mechanism and getting replacement parts for it.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I still remember the Dan Neil (when he was writing for the LA Times) review of this car. Not only did he pillory the car six ways from Sunday, but he started by going after General Motors for having the gall to come up with these models and claim this “would push the Accord back to Japan.” Dan was absolutely livid in his review, and, as it turned out, was right in just about every detail when the bankruptcy hit two years later.

    I seem to remember he hit one hell of a nerve, as GM pulled all their advertising from the paper for about six months afterwards.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Couldn’t find that review, but I did find this article:
      https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2005-apr-06-hy-neil6-story.html

      “The G6 is not an awful car. It’s entirely adequate. But plainly, adequate is not nearly enough.”

      Clearly the guy didn’t think much of the car, but I’d stop short of saying he pilloried it.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Thanks for digging that article out. I don’t remember reading that one before, I could have sworn that the original review comes from the previous fall, when the car was introduced, as it was the most important GM product at that moment. The moment that was supposed to show that “GM was serious about competing in cars, not just SUV’s and trucks.”

        This paragraph I remember from the original review:

        “Performance: The GT model I drove had a 3.5-liter iron-block V6 under the hood, good for 200 horsepower and no surprises at all. And — though I can’t believe I’m writing this sentence in 2005 — this pushrod six is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. It is because of this powertrain that the phrase “thrashy and unrefined” has become the hackneyed cliche that it has.”

        And this one sums it up nicely. More politely than the original review, because by this point he wasn’t just loudly making an opinion, but had five months of sales figures to back it up:

        “This is an uncompetitive product, an assertion borne out not by my say-so but by sales numbers. When ballclubs have losing records, players and coaches and managers get their walking papers.

        At GM, it’s time to sweep the dugout.”

        Unless fifteen years have skewed my memory badly, the original review was a lot louder and nastier than this. This article is more of a “see, I told you so.”

        While I’ve always enjoyed Dan Neil’s writing (still do, his take on the Mustang Mach-E in the Wall Street Journal is classic Dan), the G6 review is the one that made him a must-read in my mind.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Caricature of the automotive press, a guy complaining that a cheap family car had “zero appetite for hard driving”, followed by complaining about the engine being thrashy and unrefined when he tried to play racecar with it.

        G6 isn’t an awful car but Dan Neil is an awful journalist.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t remember these being particularly terrible or particularly good. Although I thought the convertible version looked nice.

    I *do* remember the 6-speed auto the Epsilon cars got later in life being a big improvement. However that transmisson upgrade seemed to be very rarely optioned on the G6 2.4L cars.

    I generally liked the Saturn Aura as well.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    The fuzzy pink steering wheel cover indicates that the final owner was named Shawna.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    Are these the cars that Oprah gave away on her show?

    • 0 avatar
      mmreeses

      yes. before there were memes, there was oprah giving away (out of GM’s marketing budget) the G6.

      iff I recall correctly, there was a minor kerfuffle as the winners had to pay income tax on the prizes…until IIRC, Oprah? covered the taxes

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Exactly. All Pontiac G6’s, “worth $28,500” to 276 audience members. She didn’t give them away, it was paid by GM (from its Pontiac advertising budget), along with the sales tax due.

      The recipients were stuck with about $6,000 in state and federal income taxes. Some of them took the car and complained about the tax. Others sold the car and pocketed some cash. Thereafter, any giveaways on Oprah’s show included a check to cover taxes so they could keep the gifts.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I only recall that these came out right around the same time that terrible pop song was popular and that they were the go-to for the same demographic that always flocked to Grand Ams.

    My only seat time in the generation was in an Aura with the 3.6. At the time I’d had an 03 Accord LX coupe with a 2.4. I know which I preferred and it wasn’t the Saturn; it felt entirely too lumpen.

    • 0 avatar
      Datanerd

      I inherited a low mileage Saturn Aura a couple of years ago. XR, 3.6. There’s a lump on the b-pillar where the seat belt roller is, so you can’t just plop into the car, you have to carefully sit in at a 90 degree angle, then slowly slide the rest of the way in. Once you’re in, it’s not a bad ride and it is very quick. Downside, it has the peeling plastic doorhandles of all 2000s cars and reliability is horrifying. I spent close to $2,000 on it when I got it taking care of a bunch of deferred maintenance and things you wouldn’t notice just driving to and from church.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Reflections:
    • Buying any less-than-fullsize vehicle from Old GM was usually a mistake [as they were afterthoughts and got no respect from Important Decision Makers]
    • Oldsmobile had *some* promising product at the end, but one of the reasons Buick made the cut was CHI-NA.
    • 4th picture: Those coils and plugs are way too accessible. Bury them deeper!
    • When your plastic bumper fascia is knocked in on one corner (not as severe as we see here), park it in the hot sun in August for several hours and then take a blunt/rounded object [no sharp corners] and push it back out, working from the back. (Doesn’t cost anything, might be a 90% repair.)
    • Third picture: “Creative” in-house typefaces and graphic elements should rarely be exposed to the outside world. [Ford turns them into badges and decals – big mistake.]

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    I remember driving an early V6 G6 as a rental and thinking it was reasonably stylish and peppy until I drove it for a while. Then it got old real fast, especially the interior which got uglier by the second and wasn’t particularly durable.

    There’s nothing like driving for hours with the loud blinkers stuck on because the G6’s cheap black plastic dashboard oozed goo around the hazard light switch in the Colorado sun and got it stuck in the on position.

  • avatar
    shane_the_ee

    GM actually produced a small number of 2011 Pontiac G8s which were sold through Holden dealers in Australia. They were not true federalized Pontiac G8s, but rather Commodores with a “Pontiac” appearance package.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    Re: the second commercial embedded in the article, I actually thought the PONTIAC >> ACTION animation was very clever. It was an evolution of “Designed For Action” which replaced “Driving Excitement.”

    Unfortunately “Action” was replaced by the “Pontiac is CAR” campaign which was like a bad joke, but produced this commercial that has some cool visuals and is a good example of the marketing vibe they were going for at the end: https://bit.ly/38VA7uK

    …Why do I know this stuff??…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I drove a 2009 G6 with a V6 and it had plenty of pep. The styling was not bad but yes the interior was on the cheap side. GM use to be a leader 50 years ago but that GM doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t think Ford is a lot better and forget about FCA having any quality.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    yes. before there were memes, there was oprah giving away (out of GM’s marketimg budget) the G6.

    iff I recall correctly, there was a minor kerfuffle as the winners had to pay income tax on the prizes…until IIRC, Oprah? covered the taxes

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I want to be party to the FIRST EVER impalement of the person(s) who invented the terminology and concept.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You sound like a golfer I met who wanted to hang the guy who invented the island green. When told it dates to the 19th century and the guy is dead, he wanted to identify the guy, dig up his corpse and hang him anyway, “…to serve as a warning to golf course designers that even death will not save them from just retribution.”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Well, I find myself here once again as the odd man out. My parents stubbornly only bought cars from one dealer in my town for 17 years. My mom started leasing in the early 90s and so they were there often. She got her first Pontiac (other than the 90 Sunbird my sister got as her first car which I later took over) in the form of a 1999 Grand Am SE. Then she followed that with a 2002 Grand Am GT. And finally a Grand Prix SE in 2005. I hated that one.

    But in 2006 my alma mater made it to the Final 4 in Indianapolis and knowing it was going to be a once in a lifetime event I went to see it in person. I rented a G6 from the Dayton airport and drove it all over Indiana killing time between games. It was metallic black or maybe really dark grey and a leather trimmed GT sedan. I really quite liked it and I would consider one even today if priced right. Maybe it’s all because of the memories associated with why i was driving it, but I had absolutely no complaints about it.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    Look for a 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis.

    I believe the last Mercury was a Grand Marquis built in January 2011. I’m still daily driving my 2002 Grand Marquis I paid $11,000 plus sales tax in September 2005.

    A little piggish on gas, but I haven’t replaced it because no makes anything like it anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yup the last Mercury was a GM, all other models were discontinued after the 2010 model year. Ford had opened the GM order books before they decided to drop the brand so they had orders to fulfill. They were supposed to finish the build out of the 2011’s in 2010 but parts weren’t received on time so a handful were built Jan 3rd-4th.

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      I had an 01 grand marauis from 2011 to 2018. It was the best car Ive had. Besides the great reliability It was the simple utility of that masssive trunk that made it awesome. It was like a 4 door el camino with a bed lid, or if the honda ridgeline was a sedan. I only sold it because it was having little issues build up and not worth fixing anymore. I now have an accord v6 and while its fun to drive i miss the utility of that trunk. I think this is why people are flocking to corssovers. Good utility and mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        taxman100

        Mine has the rear air suspension, so you can load the trunk down, and it magically rises back up.

        When I installed my paver patio, my Mercury hauled paver brick and sand with no trouble – at one point I had 1,000 lbs in the trunk.

        I did replace the rear air bags last fall – the prices for the air suspension parts have fallen quite a bit, even if you pay extra for the name brand parts vs. the Chinese knock-offs.

    • 0 avatar

      I just found a 2011 Mariner and photographed it. Should I hold out for the Grandma Keith?

  • avatar
    UnfocusedMajin

    “Have you ever started a car from across the road? Given your backseat passengers a tan? Or driven a four-door like a sports car?”

    Yes, frequently. That one’s a no. And yes, every day.

    On the G6 topic, my ex-wife had one and it had to be the hands down worst car I’ve ever driven, it was gutless, the steering feel was numb to nonexistent, and the build quality was trash. At the time I had a Grand Prix GXP, which in itself was a terrible idea, so many transaxles… And the build quality difference was substantial, which says a lot because the GXP was meh at best.

    Pontiac deserved such a better farewell, a last run of Firebirds (that weren’t just an aftermarket panel swap) or the G8 carrying the Bonneville name, something, instead it just went like a whimper in the night.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My co-worker bought a new 2008 silver G6 with the 3.5 and kept it until last year and I drove in that car many times. Yes the interior was rather cheap feeling with the harsh fake cloth seat coverings and black plastic everywhere but what that was pretty much the norm for the Big 3 at this point and this G6 was better than the old Grand Am. She put well over 100K on that car with little issues other than tires, brakes and a couple of fender benders. The 3500 was actually pretty quiet and refined and the old 4 speed automatic shifted flawlessly right to trade in time so I’m not sure why this was considered thrashy.

    I owned a 2007 Malibu with this same VVT 3500 and it was a very competent engine that got fantastic mileage. It was rated for 217 HP in the Malibu and 221-224 in the G6 so it was a big upgrade from the base 2.2/2.4 engines! No issues with it either!

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      My friends parents bought the all-new 2004 Malibu and had so many issues with the power steering, they had GM buy it back, and never owned another GM product again. My cousin also daily drives a 2009 G6 and has to deal with the power steering cutting in and out (common issue). It’s been more problematic than his wife’s Town and Country that also has issues.

  • avatar
    wjtinfwb

    I’ve been a weekly traveler since the early 2000’s and have been in hundreds of rental cars. In 2006-2010 G6s were a staple of the rental fleets so I landed in many of them. The base G6 was indeed an awful creature, with terrible interior trim and a noisy paint shaker EcoTec 4 banger that managed poor performance and mediocre fuel economy simultaneously. But, if you could find a G6 GT or GTP, they were a much more acceptable car. I landed in New Orleans one evening and the Emerald Aisle was depleted of choices. Dead tired I selected a silve G6 coupe and drove to my Hotel. The next day I had a couple hundred miles ahead of me so I buckeld into the G6 and hit I-10. This G^ was unlike the others I’d driven as it felt more buttonneddown, solid on the road and had good, linear power and a comfortable if snug interior. After closer inspection it was a G6 GT coupe with the optional 3.9L pushrod V6, a six speed automatic, 18″ wheels with Goodyear RS-A’s and a decent interior highlighted by OK black leather and a pretty robust Monsoon stereo. I thought why can’t all G6’s be like this instead of built to the lowest price point as the base car? Very typical for GM, they forced you to pay extra for every good piece of kit and reminded the person who didn’t pony up of just how bad GM could be when they just didn’t care.

  • avatar
    Turbo Is Black Magic

    I had one of these as a government issued car for a few years, 09 GT with every option you could get… around that time the government was buying them off the lots by the truckload to try and keep GM alive. I remember it was light years better than the Gov issued Malibu… but I still would never spend my own money on it. Also I remember it was governed around 114 mph… I had to frequently drive it out to a secluded place in the middle of the desert and it would just sit on the limiter for hundreds of miles at a time. I put 60k miles on it and it never blew up, some poor sucker probably picked it up at a GSA auction and promptly had it explode.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    For some reason the rear bumper bottom sag, and it looks like a fat person with the muffin top hanging outside the sweat pant belt line.

    I’m sure the rest is just good enough rental car quality GM sedans. It is expected to be junk this early when they were made cheap for this kind of market.

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