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Earlier this week General Motors officially turned off the lights and locked the doors at its Boxwood Road assembly plant for the last time, marking the end of the line for the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.
The two vehicles (along with the Opel GT) were manufactured at the plant in Wilmington, Delaware, which is being closed as a part of GM’s restructuring process.
General Motors has decided to eliminate the Pontiac brand and sell Saturn to the Penske Automotive Group. The announcement to close the plant came on July 1st when GM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time GM gave short notice to plant workers saying the facility would be shuttered by the end of July.
GM spokesman John Raut said the final vehicle to roll off the assembly line was a silver Pontiac Solstice.
It’s not exactly the sort of news worthy of a celebration, but some cautious optimism is certainly appropriate as word comes that the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky might not suffer the same fate as almost every other fun vehicle under the General Motors umbrella.
Fritz Henderson, GM’s new CEO said that the company would be willing to part with the plant where the two sports cars are assembled. The Wilmington, Del. plant is also the location where GM manufactures the Opel GT – a European version of the car.
“If someone were to approach with a proposal that made good sense for our people, we’d be open to it,” Henderson said.
Both the Solstice and Sky were introduced in 2006 as front-engine, rear-wheel drive roadsters. The models come standard with a 173hp four-cylinder, with a turbocharged 260-hp four-cylinder optional.
General Motors is still intent on selling off the Saturn brand and scuttling the Pontiac nameplate, however, it won’t rule out selling the Wilmington facility as there is likely to be some interest in the niche-market vehicles.
Last year GM moved close to 20,000 units of the two American models, with the Solstice selling 10,739 units and the Sky 9,162 units.
The move is similar to the one made by Chrysler in regards to the Dodge Viper. Chrysler has yet to find a buyer for that iconic nameplate.