Feds Demanded Death of Pontiac to Secure GM Bailout

Feds Demanded Death of Pontiac to Secure GM Bailout

It’s one of the greatest performance brand’s America has ever produced and it was killed by politicians. That, at least, is the assertion of former General Motors product boss Bob Lutz in a new interview.

Speaking in a recent interview at the Peterson Museum, Lutz reveals that during the bankruptcy and reorganization of General Motors in 2008, the bailout came at the cost of the Pontiac brand.

“The Feds basically wanted to get GM down to Cadillac and Chevrolet,” he says. After convincing the money lenders that Buick was critical to GM’s success in China and showing them the profitability of GMC, the focus then turned to Pontiac.

Turning no profit in a decade the decision was made. Was it so simple? According to Lutz, yes. “When the guy who is handing you the check for 53 billion dollars says I don’t want Pontiac, drop Pontiac or you don’t get the money, it doesn’t take you very long to make up your mind,” he says.

Lutz laments the decision, commenting that, “I badly wanted to keep Pontiac.” He says the brand was “on its way back” even spilling info on what were then the brand’s future plans, positioning it as a marque with only rear-wheel drive models, with the G8 and Solstice soon to be joined by a new G6 model based off the Cadillac ATS.

Perhaps the blame for the death of Pontiac isn’t all to fall at the feet of beaureaucrats and politicians, however. Lutz does admit that in many ways it was the victim of mismanagement over the decades. “Mechanically there was nothing about a pontiac in the ’90s that would make your heart beat faster,” he s

[Source: TTAC]

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  • Gregie

    From an accountant’s perspective, this sounds normal as it reduces the risk.

  • airmocha

    I know nothing about Buick’s success in China, but it is SUCH a snoozefest here in the USA. I was and remain disgusted by Pontiac’s getting the cut instead of Buick. Pontiacs have always been, to me, the most exciting cars made by any American brand.

  • GUi Eberhard

    BS, killed by the feds? Ah if I mismanage my business or budget, and as for a bailout, and I do not get one, I am sure it is the feds fault….BS, Pontiac made some very bad decisions, and sadly paid the price…. Aztec’s where the nail in the coffin…

  • roby

    GM is to blame for Pontiac’s demise. Just using the Feds as a scapegoat. Look, Oldsmobile died the same type of death. The Achieva, and those nasty looking 88’s & 98’s of the nineties. The Oldsmobile perception was too far gone by the time the Alero came along. Same thing with Pontiac. The 2004 & up Grand Prixs were terribly designed cars. (Still owned two of them, though) I owned a GTO when they came back, it was in the shop most of the time I owned it. By the time the G6 & G8 came along, it was too late. I’m done with GM. I now own a Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec. I love the looks and performance of the car and GM needs to take some lessons from Hyundai’s Service Departments. I never wanted to own anything else. Now that Pontiac’s gone I’m not “settling” for a Chevrolet.

  • Sarge81

    Even though the ’04-’06 GTO and ’08-’09 G8’s were technically Holden’s, they were some nice cars. I was looking forward to see what the future of Pontiac was going to bring. At least my wife and I had the privilege of owning a ’04 GTO 6 spd, ’08 G8 V6, ’09 G8 GT. I don’t see a bright future for the new Chevy SS sedan. There’s already troubles happening with that. For now we will enjoy our ’13 Dodge Challenger R/T 6 spd.
    So long GM! Enjoy selling those snooze mobiles to the Chinese.

  • DinoD2

    I also agree that the GTO’s(Holden Monaro) were nice cars…I bought an ’06 GTO 6spd. myself when the ’06 was released and loved it! Never had a single problem with it at all and it held up rather nicely considering the paces I put it through–I truly drove it too using every one of those 400 horses that LS2 had in it! The only other GM vehicles I’ve owned that held up as well as the GTO was the 2004 C5 Vette and the new generation Caddies! I know that is not a fair GM comparison–especially since the Vette is it’s own brand with a dedicated team behind it which sets it apart from the rest but in a way, very similar to Holden, so I put the GTO in the same category–compared to others it was a well built car which seemed to exhibit the same level of pride and passion from it’s builders as those responsible for the Vette in Bowling Green, KY and it was truly sad to see the Holden GTO go as well as the Pontiac brand in my opinion.

  • grammar nazi

    Arrrgg… WHY can’t so-called journalists figure out the correct usage of apostrophes (NOT apostrophe’s)? Plurals (not plural’s) don’t get an apostrophe! Your lead sentence with such a gross error (…one of the greatest performance brand’s America…) really undermines (not undermine’s) the credibility of the writer. Get it right! Oh, and to stay on-topic, we own and love a 2004 Pontiac GTO, and wish we’d been able to pick up a G8 GXP and a Solstice GXP before the demise of the marque.

  • Bradley

    You know it’s bad enough everything is made in china, but to know they chose china over America to axe a brand. china really does own us.