When I was a kid, I always believed that the ultimate car of cars was the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. First it was Burt Reynolds in “Smokey and the Bandit.” Then it was David Hasselhoff in NBC’s “Knight Rider.” I just thought that car got better and better. For me, there was nothing more exotic than a Trans Am.
It is a strange thing to watch the passing of an 102 year-old American icon. Yet that is what is happening with the Pontiac brand of General Motors (GM). GM announced this week that it is shutting down its Pontiac brand in order to “concentrate resources on its remaining, strategically more important brands: Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC trucks” (see report from MSNBC.com). A 102 years is a pretty good run for a company, but it is now over.
MSNBC.com has a slideshow showing some of the history of the brand. Make sure to read the report as well.
I am a generation older than you, so the Pontiac GTO is the one I remember most. When it came out with one of the first fiberglass front-nose pieces it really made heads turn.
As sad as it is, it’s basically a smart move. let’s face facts, there’s not a car in pontiac’s line that doesn’t share a platform with another GM car. At which point, well, what’s the point?
Let’s face it, at this point, GM really could survive on Chevy, Cadillac, Saturn and Saab.
It’d be easy to merge GMC into Chevy’s truck line (which they’ll need to do now anyway, because GMC dealers were always paired w/Pontiac).
Buick is a moderately upscale brand that could be wiped out by simply enlarging the Cadillac lineup.
Saturn has its own thing going on, and it seems to be working. So, no matter how ugly or vanilla their whole M.O. is, it might as well stick around.
And Saab, while it has lost everything that made it interesting when it was its own company, is now basically a pretty easy way for GM to bring Opels to market in the US.
With the already stated fact that all Pontiacs are shared platforms, not too many people are going to lose jobs, save for possibly at the dealership level. Save for those people and their families, I can’t say this is sad.
And Denny, I don’t know how people in Louisiana viewed the Firebird back in the day, but up here, it was always the coke dealer car. They just scream skeezy.
Where I’m from, Burt Reynolds is revered as one of the greatest film legends of our time . . . if that tells you anything. 🙂