Report: Demand hot for new Pontiac, but GM worries dealers could ask for high prices and hurt image. June 17, 2005: 11:29 AM EDT NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - General Motors Corp. has sent a letter to Pontiac dealers, asking them not to hike the price of the Pontiac Solstice, according to a news report. In the memo, which was sent to Pontiac's 2,700 U.S. dealers, GM discouraged them from charging more than the manufacturer's suggested retail price, or MSRP, for the Solstice, a two-seat roadster the automaker plans on delivering to showrooms this summer, The Detroit News reported Thursday. Some dealerships have been asking for "well above" the $19,995 base sticker price for the Solstice, which has been building buzz since ads for it began running in January and it was featured in the TV show "The Apprentice" in the spring, the newspaper said. GM already has 9,000 pre-orders for the sports car, the report added, and dealers have been playing off the hype to push up prices. Dealers often charge above sticker for vehicles that are in particularly high demand. Automakers generally discourage the practice. The Solstice's low base price is one of its main attractive features. It's one of the new models GM is counting on to win back customers from Japanese brands and help lift sales and executives fear inflated dealer pricing will alienate buyers. "As you sell Solstices this year, please consider more than just the near term," GM officials reportedly said in the memo. "We are at a critical point in Pontiac's resurgence and encourage a long-term perspective of the total Pontiac opportunity." The troubled automaker is reeling from the $1.1 billion it lost in the first quarter and plans to cut 25,000 jobs, about 17 percent of its U.S. workforce, by 2008. "All across the country, we have a unique opportunity to impress potential Solstice buyers, many of whom may have never considered Pontiac prior to this vehicle, let alone visited a Pontiac showroom," the report quoted the memo as saying. The Solstice is scheduled to arrive in showrooms late this summer.