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Pontiacs Future Products Focus on FWD Economy

How best can you discern Pontiac from Chevrolet?; That's a problem that's staring product planners at GM square in the face.; Aside from the Solstice roadster and the G8 muscle sedan, there's little else in Pontiac's lineup that's unique or exciting.; From what we've heard of Pontiac's future product plans, little will change over the next four years.

If you've always wanted a
Chevrolet Aveo but couldn't live without a Pontiac-style grille, you'll love the 2009 Pontiac G3.; Little more than a badge-engineered Aveo (itself a badge-engineered Daewoo Gentra), the G3 has been sold in both Canada and Mexico for the past three years, but now finds itself headed to the U.S. in both sedan and hatchback forms.

The slinky Solstice roadster gains a removable-hardtop coupe for 2009.; Both may see soon see higher-horsepower engines, but the Solstice's long term future - like other Kappa-platform roadsters - is in doubt.

Along with the G8 ("Don't call it El Camino") ST pickup truck, look for a possible replacement for the slow-selling G5 coupe.; We're told it will, like the G5 itself, will be a rebadged version of another front-wheel-drive Delta platform vehicle - the Chevrolet Cruze.; Look for both coupe and sedan versions to be offered.

Nothing else is on the horizon until 2012, when Pontiac gleans another captive import.; Automotive News claims the car will be a sedan, sized between the G3 and the G5.; We'll go out on a limb and suggest a "G4" nomenclature (although a cable network may not approve), and anticipate yet another front-wheel-drive vehicle built by GM's Daewoo subsidiary.

If the planets align just right, we may see a rear-wheel drive G6 in the 2012 model year.; The car was originally supposed to be revised on the next-generation Epsilon platform, leaving it with front-wheel-drive.;

However, management then wanted to move the G6 to a new rear-wheel-drive architecture, code-named "Alpha. "; Given GM's recent shift away from rear-wheel-drive programs, the entire program may be in limbo.