Pontiac's Future Product Lineup Uncertain

Joshua Duval
2010 Pontiac G8 St

Earlier this month when GM submitted its restructuring plan to Congress, we learned that Pontiac's role in the Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel would be significantly reduced. Speculation has been flying since then about what models may disappear, and which are safe-but Buick-Pontiac-GMC vice president Susan Docherty says that there may not be any nameplates kept off the chopping block.

"I would tell you that the white board is clean. Anybody that tells you that we got this thing figured out today, exactly what it's going to be, the answer to that is, no.

"We need to skinny it up, get it very focused and create a very special role for Pontiac within the BPG channel," Docherty said. "But it needs to be with a very focused entry or entries."

GM has said that it will focus its development funds on what it considers to be its four "core brands"-Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC. Pontiac will become a specialty brand, and is likely to get imports like the current G8, which is assembled by Holden, a GM subsidiary located in Australia.

"The Pontiac G8 is a perfect example," Docherty said. "With a minimal amount of investment, we are able to have a unique entry."

Pontiac currently has six nameplates excluding the G3, which is still scheduled to be added-though it will have a short life. "We always knew the G3 was a bridge strategy: We told that to our dealers," Docherty said. "This will help us through this period of time where fuel efficiency and affordability are two top reasons for people who are purchasing in that segment of the market.

"It will fill a void for us on a short-term basis. We needed it in the economic environment we are in, but the G3 does have a limited life cycle."

GM is reconsidering its plans to launch the 2010 G8 ST next year. The G8 ST sport pickup was developed on the G8 sedan platform. GM projected annual sales of only 5,000 units for the G8 ST, and it has been considered a novelty vehicle along the lines of the Chevrolet El Camino.

The future of GM's Kappa-based Pontiac Solstice (along with its platform mates, the Saturn Sky and Opel GT) is also uncertain. Rumors of the platform's demise have been circulating for months, and the odds that GM will support another generation of Kappa cars have lowered considerably with the economic turmoil.

Source: Automotive News

If Pontiac is to have a future it must answer the need to a specific market and NOT canablize sales from Chevy on the bottom and Buick above. I don't think there is such a market, at least not a lucrative one, but the current G8 (V8 and V6) series sedans and possibly a sports wagon to compete with current offerings from BMW, Merc and Dodge Magnum (at least until they are all gone, what a shame) etc. may be viable. However, GM must NOT give into the temptation to offer smaller cars like the G6 types and Cobalt level offerings. A kinder action would be to let Pontiac go the way of Oldsmobile with some dignity.

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