In a press release issued this morning updating its viability plan, GM has confirmed rumors that emerged late last week that Pontiac will be phased out.
In the press release, GM says that Pontiac "will be phased out by the end of 2010." Gm is planning to whittle its offerings down to 34 nameplates by 2010, losing almost one-third of the 48 nameplates it offered in 2008.
Though Pontiac will linger on for another year, GM's other three miscreants will be taken care of this year. "The revised plan moves up the resolution of Saab, Saturn, and Hummer to the end of 2009 at the latest," the statement said. "Updates on these brands will be provided as these initiatives progress."
"We have strong new product coming for our four core brands: the Chevrolet Camaro, Equinox, Cruze, and Volt; Buick LaCrosse; GMC Terrain; and Cadillac SRX and CTS Sport Wagon and Coupe," said CEO Fritz Henderson in the statement.
The rumored acceleration of dealer closings has been confirmed as well: GM wants to cut the 6246 locations it counted in 2008 by 42 percent, down to 3605, by the end of 2010. That's 500 more dealers than before, and in four fewer years than initially conceived.
"A tighter focus by GM and its dealers will help give these products the capital investment, marketing and advertising support they need to be truly successful," Henderson said.
GM said it will also lower its breakeven volume point to 10 million vehicles by reducing its plants from 47 in 2008 to 34 by the end of 2010, cut an additional 7000 to 8000 North American employees in addition to the cuts dictated in the February viability plan, and reduce labor costs from $7.6 billion in 2008 to $5 billion in 2010.
Just when Pontiac was beginning to live up to its name as the "performance brand" with cars like the Solstice and G8, its legs get kicked out from under it. Perhaps in the next year, Pontiac might prove it's a brand worth keeping around.