Under The Hood

Good-bye, Pontiac?

It’s becoming more official with each passing day: Pontiac is on its way out.

The performance-minded brand is not generating the sales it once did, and with GM struggling, many sources are reporting the marque’s demise, perhaps prematurely. However, it’s no surprise that Pontiac is flailing in this economic climate, since performance has taken a back seat (or trunk position) to fuel economy these days. (Thanks, oil companies. We still haven’t forgotten last summer’s fuel prices yet, or the record profits from them.)

Longtime OCW readers know Pontiac is near and dear to retired OCW editor John Gunnell’s heart, as he’s authored several books on the GM marque, and owns several examples, going back to the 1930s.

Here’s the latest news (or speculation) I found on Pontiac’s demise. We’ll keep tabs on what develops in the future, and once anything is cast in stone, we’ll give readers a full report in OCW.

UPDATE:
It’s official: Pontiac killed by GM

After almost 83 years as a division of General Motors, Pontiac will be no more. The companion car that grew out of General Motors’ Oakland division in 1926, then overtook it, was, for many years, a quality family car offering more cylinders than a Chevrolet. It then gained a performance-car image in the 1950s and ’60s, then morphed into an affordable personal luxury car into the 1970s and ’80s, but has not been able to survive in its latest form as a performance car again.

Along with cutting Pontiac, GM will also cut 21,000 hourly jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal and Detroit Free Press, and reduce the number of plants from 47 to 34 by 2012. Car-wise, the automaker expects to reduce its total number of nameplates from 48 to 34, a number which presumably includes the entire Pontiac lineup.

Suprisingly, the future of Hummer has not been announced, but given the poor climate for SUV sales, especially that of Hummer, it’s truly shocking that, if cuts were to be made in the GM stable, passenger car-heavy Pontiac would get the axe before Hummer. Along with Hummer, GM expects to announce the future of Saturn before the end of 2009, though possible offers for the division by outside parties have been presented to GM management.

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