In recent weeks, there has been a lot of talk about slimming down GM’s brand portfolio to help it weather the economic storm. In those reports, emphasis has been put on saving Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, and Buick. Absent from those reports has been any mention of Saturn, or Pontiac, leaving the option of pulling the plug on those two brands. This evening, NBC News reported from Detroit that GM has decided to kill Pontiac, throwing it on the heap with Oldsmobile.
We got the feeling this might happen after it was announced that the El Camino-style performer based on the G8 GT was scuttled. We expect that the Saturn and Hummer brands will be the next to go. (Why GM hasn't officially announced Hummer's demise is a complete mystery to us.) Meanwhile, GMC, which makes trucks exclusively, will inexplicably continue on--also confirmed by NBC News. With Washington’s primary focus on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions, we find it hard to image that a truck division would survive, while the more fuel-economy friendly Pontiac division would be killed, but that’s the way it played out.
Meanwhile, Ford got good news today by posting a much smaller first quarter loss than expected. Ford has sold off unprofitable brands like Jaguar and Land Rover in recent years, while renegotiating labor contracts and restructuring debt. Ford has yet to ask for Federal bailout funds, and is riding a wave of public popularity as a result.