So I’m kind of tired of seeing posts on Facebook on how the GTO aided in Pontiacs death. If anything, the Aussie influenced GTO aided the quote-unquote excitement division. To be honest, the “excitement division” was as exciting as…let’s say…the reproductive cycle of a worm. Well…seeing as that was a really bad comparison, I’ll give you a few reasons why Pontiac is dead, other than the GTO.
1. The Pontiac Aztek.
Photo courtesy of http://images.thecarconnection.com/med/2005-pontiac-aztek_100030712_m.jpg
Do I really need to say more.
2. The Demise of the Trans Am
So take one of GMs BEST cars or should I say “exciting muscle cars”, and trash it. What were they thinking? Someone tell me. The twin brother of the Camaro was Pontiac’s claim to fame at the time, and when it was discontinued the “excitement” discontinued with it. The Ws6 was lethal when compared to other muscle cars and the legacy behind the name was incredible. Smokey and the Bandit…Kitt…come on now. Although it was a bit long in the tooth, you can’t deny its performance. Sure, you had the Grand Prix GTP and the SSEi Bonneville but those were doomed to rental car lots. Not to mention, there was too much room left for the Mustang to dominate the market. Good job GM, really, good job.
3. Badge Engineering
The doom to any carmaker. The same process led to Oldsmobile’s demise, when GM decided that Olds wouldn’t produce more modern and cool car. Unlike today’s badge engineered cars, there was a severe lack of differentiation. You could find a less body claded and less unreasonably rakish model in another GM dealership. For example, the Montana or Transport was just a Chevy Venture or Uplander, the Vibe was a Toyota Matrix, the G5 was a Cobal etc…The cars lacked personality as well. Souless machines unlike the golden era for Pontiac and the time period that leads into the next topic…
The Pontiac G8 GXP, Solstice/GXP, G6 GXP, and even the Bonneville and Grand Prix GXP. Lets face it, towards the end of the automakers life, the excitement returned through the GXP trim level. Most notably, the G8 GXP. Although Aussie engineering didn’t help before, this Aussie muscle had plenty of potential. Just think of where they could have taken Pontiac had they boosted a few of their cars, the G8 could have opened room for the return of the GTO and Trans Am. Also, the G6 and Solstice aided in the revival. However, within the same decade of the GXP emergence, came the demise. A day late and a dollar short. Lets also add in that a G8 ST would have attracted the El Camino lovers.
5. GMs Habitual Genocide of it’s Automakers
Truth be told, Pontiac, was on life support since the 80s. How many rememberable/remarkable models did Pontiac make in the 80s and 90s, other than the Firebird/Trans Am, Bonneville, and the Grand Am. (Disclaimer: those are the only two I can remember, your opinion may vary). When Pontiac had its own identity, the cars were amazing, if not legendary. Seeing as GM loves to take an automaker and fail to produce loveable models, Pontiac’s fate was decided. Also, add in Buick’s emergence in the past few years internationally. It made no sense to keep Pontiac alive, especially when the “excitement division”‘s excitement had died down. Had GM kept the excitement alive we would probably be comparing GTOs or Trans Ams to Mustangs and the short lived Chevy SS wouldn’t have came to thuition.
Sadly enough, Pontiac is another dead automaker who had promise. Had the proper models had be put in place and the proper designing of models occurred, the excitement division would have been more exciting than the reproduction cycle of a worm…I guess that comparison didn’t work either.
Photo courtesy of http://www.spencer1984.com/hold/pontiac-grave.jpg