The Future of Pontiac - All & Only RWD Cars

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 30, 2006.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Proposal plays up RWD performance cars in attempt to revive ailing brand

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    The future of the Grand Prix sedan, one of several front-drive Pontiac vehicles, is reportedly being debated.

    By JAMIE LAREAU | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
    05/29/06, 2:30 am et

    DETROIT -- After debating Pontiac's viability this year, General Motors' leadership plans to revive the brand's heritage of performance with a product lineup of exclusively rear-wheel-drive cars.

    There would be no trucks and - after the next generation of vehicles - no front-wheel-drive cars either.


    GM will unveil a rwd sedan concept at January's Detroit auto show, company sources say. This echoes the strategy that GM adopted with the 1999 Evoq concept, which revealed Cadillac's new brand "look."

    The Pontiac plan is not final. GM executives continue to build a business case for it. This ambitious proposal is a plan to save the brand, which has suffered declining sales. GM sold 437,806 Pontiacs in the United States last year, compared with 599,123 in 1995.

    One insider says it would take five years to convert the brand to all rwd. That's why Pontiac will get one more generation of fwd and all-wheel-drive small cars.

    A Pontiac spokesman declined to comment on the brand's plans. Fwd cars will not go away soon, but rwd vehicles will become more prominent "in the near term," the spokesman said.

    Sources inside GM and close to Pontiac say GM leaders are debating:

    >> The future of the Grand Prix sedan.

    >> A possible GTO replacement based on the Chevrolet Camaro.

    >> A resurrected Firebird muscle car.


    In recent years, Pontiac has been wracked by debate over its future. During a controversial speech at the New York auto show last year, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz called Pontiac "a damaged brand."

    In a recent interview with Automotive News, Lutz said he had never asserted that the brand was "irreparably" damaged. While Pontiac is still struggling, GM is repairing the damage, and the bleeding has stopped, Lutz says.

    Nevertheless, sources say top-level GM executives did debate a phaseout of the brand. In January, senior executives met to discuss Pontiac's future. GM decided to revive Pontiac as a pure performance brand.

    GM will trim product lineups as it consolidates Buick, Pontiac and GMC into three-brand dealerships under its retail channel strategy. In a recent interview, Lutz told Automotive News that Pontiac and Buick will not carry trucks.

    Lutz declined to speculate whether the Pontiac Torrent crossover, a rebadged Chevrolet Equinox, would one day go to GMC, but industry sources say it's likely.

    The strategy will force Pontiac to sort out its product plans for the Grand Prix. While GM hasn't set a time frame, it's likely the automaker will discontinue the current incarnation of the fwd Grand Prix after the 2008 model year, industry sources say.

    GM is considering a new mid-sized rwd sedan to replace it, says an industry insider. The source says the vehicle will be "one notch up" from the present Grand Prix, which has a base price of $21,990, including shipping. Whether that vehicle keeps the Grand Prix name is uncertain.

    A rwd lineup could give Pontiac performance credibility, says John Pitre, general manager of Motor City Auto Center in Bakersfield, Calif. "They're right on track with the performance division of GM," he says. "BMW has been born and raised on rear-wheel drive. For us on the West Coast, rear-wheel drive feels better to drive and seems to last longer."

    But Pontiac's drive to become a pure performance division would sacrifice sales volume, predicts Doug Scott, industry analyst at GfK Automotive in Southfield, Mich. For example, many G6 buyers in northern climates want a front-wheel-drive car for winter conditions.

    Scott also said GM is pressuring dealers to combine Buick, Pontiac and GMC franchises into single stores by cutting the brands' product lineups.

    "They really want to narrow the range of products and narrow the sales objective," Scott says. It means sacrificing sales volume at dealerships for profit at corporate level. "It's forcing the channeling strategy," he says.

    Pontiac brand executives hope that if GM builds the Camaro for Chevrolet, the architecture could provide a similar product for Pontiac. The previous generation of GM muscle cars included the rwd Pontiac Firebird, a sibling of the Camaro.

    But Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson is quick to add, "We want a truly differentiated product. We don't want a rebadged vehicle."

    Company insiders say that if GM decides to build the Camaro, GM will not revive a Firebird version. "There will be no Firebird," says one source. "Rear-wheel drive? Yes. Pony car? No."

    Dealers also want a replacement for the GTO, one of only two current rwd Pontiac cars, the other being the Solstice two-seater. Pontiac will kill the Australia-produced coupe this fall after just three model years.

    Insiders say there will be a replacement for the GTO, but the product gap will remain for a couple of years.

    Says Pontiac's Hopson: "We haven't made any bones about the fact that Pontiac needs a rear-wheel-drive performance vehicle."

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  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I think it's smarter to stick a fork in Pontiac (and Buick and GMC). But this is not a bad idea either.
     
  3. Kelvin96GSR

    Kelvin96GSR OEM>YOU

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    yeah real smart!

    Lets do the opposite of a sucessful car company say... TOYOTA and I bet we'll make more money :run:
     
  4. t1h

    t1h Guest

    i'll believe it when it happens. pontiac has been a disappointment ever since the muscle car era ended except for a few vehicles (fbody,gto,soltice)
     
  5. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It is actually, you can't out-Toyota Toyota. Nobody does soulless and boring better.
     
  6. Jericho

    Jericho Active Member

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    every year we get a bunch of news stories about GM "restructure" and go on about changing the company for the better
     
  7. Kirlain

    Kirlain First world problems

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    Just makes my baby a collectors item. :) BTW you see the pics Trishield? I :love: you, you fellow GTO lover.
     
  8. Hirvy

    Hirvy New Member

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    not a bad idea, they could potentially fall on their face doing that tho.
     
  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The concept they're going to unveil will be a Holden Commodore SS underneath the skin.
     
  10. Jericho

    Jericho Active Member

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    so you're saying they should stick to boring fwd cars instead? :hsugh:
     
  11. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    You can't repair numerous brands overnight. The story says this plan would take five years to complete alone.
     
  12. DevilsAdvoc8

    DevilsAdvoc8 New Member

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    Wasn't it Pontiac's plan a few years ago to phase out all rwd and two door cars?

    Here is a very easy plan: Build cars that people actually want to buy, no boring bland dogshit.
     
  13. t1h

    t1h Guest

    but you know GM North America will fuck it up. They'll put a fugly pontiac bumper on the front and make the rest of the car look like a cavalier :mamoru:
     
  14. t1h

    t1h Guest

    I think GM has too many brands and is too heavy. You know what I mean....build one vehicle, rebrand it 5 times :ugh: stop doing that shit.
     
  15. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Yeah, they fucked up the Solstice so bad it's one of the hottest new cars on the market period. :ugh:
     
  16. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    They need to stop the alphanumeric naming bullshit. Nobody knows or cares about that. Pontiac has lots of great names, use them GM.
     
  17. DevilsAdvoc8

    DevilsAdvoc8 New Member

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    So was the Fiero.
     
  18. LowkeyG

    LowkeyG OT Supporter

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    I'd rather hear that than hear the brand is gone
     
  19. t1h

    t1h Guest

    the solstice/sky is a niche market vehicle only being branded twice

    I was more referring to the Trailblazer rebadges, and the grand prix/impala/monte carlo/lacross

    I mean, if I wasn't going to buy it as a <insert brand here>, I'm not going to buy it under <insert all the other brands here>
     
  20. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    awesome!

    If i was ever stupid enough to buy a new grand prix, that would be the color right there.... that or white.

    as you can see tho, they are taking steps in teh right direction. I like what they are doing with simplifing buick from a 5-car lineup which all looked the same, to one that has 2 cars that stand out.
     
  21. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Guest

    I wonder if this will stop the poor old niggas thinkin it's a cadillac?
     
  22. you know me

    you know me OT where the douchbags play

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    couldn't have said it better
     
  23. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    the problem is that everyone thinks that it works since it worked w/ the germans and made it a silly trend. :rolleyes:

    And its not just GM doing it. I was kinda pissed when they Acura changed the name of their cars....especially the Legend.
     
  24. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I think a compact (think Civic), RWD car makes a lot of sense too.

    The Cobalt is bland and sucks, but imagine if there was a stylish, RWD, Nova SS coupe and sedan based on the Pontiac Solstice in it's place. That would set that market upside down.
     
  25. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    its part of the reason why as much as i am getting a Yaris for close to invoice, i don't wanna get one.
     

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