R.I.P. Pontiac: General Motors Kills Iconic Brand


As we reported last week, General Motors has indeed made the decision to kill the Pontiac brand. The news comes as a part of a new viability plan (yes… another one) submitted to the federal government today.

The new plan will see Pontiac eliminated by the end of 2010, but that’s not all… not by a long shot. Also included in the new proposal is a long list of drastic and sweeping changes that General Motors says are much needed in order to stay in business. Among the list of big changes is the fast-track dissolution of Saturn. Originally scheduled to be dismantled by the end of 2010, the plan now states that the niche brand will be eliminated by the end of this year.

Also on the chopping block are half of all current U.S. General Motors dealerships. Not surprisingly, GM’s previous viability plan wasn’t pessimistic enough, calling for 34 percent of the current 6,246 dealerships to close. That number is now a solid 50 percent.

Other major cuts include the closing of three plants and the loss of 7,000 more hourly workers. This would put the number of hourly workers at 40,000 – 7,000 less than the last viability plan said there would be and 21,000 less than there were in 2008.

In total GM will cut 14 models from its lineup, with just 34 different vehicles being offered in 2010.

Most importantly, however, is that General Motors will offer current debt holders stock in order to reduce the company’s debt. But if too few debt holders cash in, then GM will go bankrupt. And that is looking quite likely as GM says it needs approximately 90 percent of its unsecured debt covered or else it believe the U.S. Treasury will not see the company as viable.

General Motors still faces the likelihood of filing for Chapter 11 but in the mean time it will run with its new viability plan and concentrate on its core brands: Chevy, Buick, Cadillac and GMC. With just over a month to go before the Obama Administration’s June 1st deadline, however, nothing is really certain. Maybe there will be another viability plan? Maybe more will be cut…

[Source: Automotive News]


miguel says:

Just another little bit of America that’ll be gone under the hand of Obama. He really didn’t grow up in American in the ’60s, so he has no real idea of the place in our culture held dear by Muscle Cars or any other cars for that matter. Obama probably never drove a care until his mid-late 20’s, if at all, and you can be sure he’s had very little experience in a V8 car. Elect a poor man, get a poor man’s car…and the real tragedy is that Pontiac was the best performance value in all the automotive world. I know..I drive a GTO.

Joe says:

As much as I do not agree with the Obama auto policies it`s GM`s own fault that are sliding down hill fast!First they destroyed Olds,now Pontiac and I`m sure another brand that dates back to the early 1900`s will fall next.The runaway greed at GM has turned the greatest car company in the world into the saddest excuse for a car company in the entire industry!GM`s quality has been on a steady decline since 1972,I`m surprised it has taken this long for them to fall!Maybe they will survive if they finally wake up and realize that they do not have to worry about market share and the bottom line if they worry about turning out quality cars that people want,as they did in there glory days of

Rick says:

GM is a bloated dinosaur and this is recession is the huge kick in the butt / wake up call it needs. Sure, I know GM was in the middle of it’s pseudo-renaissance, but with cars like the Lambda Traverse/Outlook/Acadia/Enclave, Epsilon Malibu/Aura/Lacrosse, and my personal favorite, the GMT360 (takes a deep breath…) Trailblazer/Envoy/Bravada(x)/Rainier/Ascender/9-7x, it was completely asinine to retain so many brands. Chevrolet alone in its heyday had 25% of the market share; today, GM in its entirety doesn’t have it. They need to lean themselves out, make sure they stay on top of R&D so that new generation cars are always in the pipeline as to not get overshadowed by the competition (a la Saturn of the late 90’s early 2000’s), and focus on long-term sustainability rather than next-quarter profits (thank you 90’s SUV-fad). I know GM can’t lean themselves out too much and they need to: 1. Keep costs down and 2. Sell enough units so that the economies-of-scale allow them to be profitable and platform sharing is a good way to get nail both of those so I’m not saying every car needs to be 100% it’s own. Also, “Mr Marchionne, who successfully returned Fiat to profit in 2006 after six years of losses, has long maintained that in the future carmakers will need to sell more than six million vehicles a year to survive.” (BBC) so, again, I’m not saying dump the whole idea of platform sharing. I love my Saturn Sky Redine but if shedding these brands off it what’s going to make GM viable in the future then so be it. Of course, there’s the whole other side of the coin with these greedy, overpaid union workers who are so indoctrinated into this whole UAW worker’s environment they have no clue what it’s like for the rest of America gladly accepting pay cuts and what not to keep their job, but alas, that’s for another post.