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Did GM Kill The Wrong Brand?

Pontiac Gone
Posted April 29 2009 05:36 PM by Johnny Hunkins 
Filed under: Hard Driving

Pontiac G3 will be gone next year

It’s been sinking in over the last few days, and I’m convinced that ending Pontiac was the wrong move. 

Perhaps you’d expect me to say killing Pontiac was a bad move with its performance history and all, but in the bigger picture, I realize one or more GM brands had to be eliminated in order for GM to survive. Nevertheless, I was struck by a quote from GM CEO, Fritz Henderson, who said (and I’m paraphrasing) that on the surface of things, ending Pontiac might not look like the right thing to do, because Pontiac does make a lot of money.

With 50 percent of GM now owned—or soon to be owned—by the government, the White House is running things at GM. The thing someone needs to explain to me is this: with the emphasis on improving fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gases, why in the world did they kill the only GM brand that doesn’t sell any trucks? Did GM make the actual call to cut Pontiac, or was it the White House? We may never know for sure, but the future of automotive transportation in the US is clearly not in trucks—it’s in lighter, more aerodynamic cars, like Solstice, Vibe, Torrent, and G3. So a truck-heavy brand like GMC or Hummer will be next to get the axe ya think? Nope. That’s going to be Saturn, another truck-light, fuel-efficient brand.

Above is a photo is of the Pontiac G3—it gets 34 mpg and costs about $15,000. It’s combined city/highway fuel economy is better that the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Scion xD. It goes more than 400 miles on a tank of gas. The Pontiac G3 will be gone next year, however, you’ll still be able to buy a 5,800-lb GMC Yukon Denali that gets 12/19 mpg. Please note that I’m not anti-truck, I’m just trying to follow the White House’s logic of choosing to kill fuel-efficient models, while allowing gas guzzler SUVs to proliferate. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have the Denali’s 403-hp 6.2-liter power plant tucked under the hood of a sporty G8 GT instead of wasted in a pilot-less soccer-mom-mobile?

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