Pontiac has no real identity--it is the "driving excitement" brand, but the cars are just not that exciting. Until recently, they were just warmed over, plastic clad versions of GM's platforms. Barely disguised Chevys and Buicks.This was before the G8 appeared, but also before the G5.
The press is now reporting that GM will be killing Pontiac. From Detroit News:
In its restructuring plan rejected by President Obama's autos task force last month, GM proposed shrinking Pontiac into a niche brand with one or two offerings. But the task force wants GM to cut deeper and faster, necessitating the decision to eliminate Pontiac, which leaves the automaker with four core brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.
From a product portfolio, this makes sense. Even with the life-support of Bob Lutz' heroic efforts to get some real excitement product for Pontiac (Solstice, G8, aborted Sport Truck), it was not enough to revive the brand, which was still being poisoned by its old-school badge engineered products. Whatever street cred was gained by the Solstice and G8 was drained, zombie style, by the G5 (Cobalt), G3 (Aveo!), and Torrent (Equinox).
The big question now is, what happens to the dealers? Most Pontiac dealers are multi-brand, using Pontiac as a complement to Buick and/or GMC. Many smaller dealers will not survive without Pontiac. How will the franchises be closed--through bankrupcy court? Dealer lawsuits could swamp GM's emergence from bankrupcy court for years. Or will Obama have to buy them out?