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  1. #1

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    Default Pontiac is no more

    GM dumps Pontiac brand

    The struggling automaker General Motors is expected to eliminate its iconic Pontiac brand, NPR has learned.

    An official announcement could come as early as Monday, according to NPR's Frank Langfitt.

    "This is the end of a famous car name," Langfitt said on Friday's All Things Considered. "But for anyone who has been following Pontiac, it's not a surprise at all."

    GM is living on more than $15 billion in government loans and faces a June 1 deadline to cut its debt, reduce labor costs and take other restructuring steps. If it doesn't meet the deadline, the company's CEO has said it will enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

    The move follows GM's decision to shed other brands, including Saturn and the Hummer line of sport-utility vehicles.

    GM knows it has "too many brands and too many models," Langfitt says.

    GM said Thursday it will temporarily close 13 assembly plants in the U.S. and Mexico — some for more than two months — laying off nearly 24,000 workers to pare back a bloated inventory.

    "In the days and weeks ahead we may hear about some permanent closings," Langfitt says.

    The announced closures, which will start in May, vary by factory from as short as three weeks to a long as 11, including the normal two-week July shutdown to change from one model year to the next.

    GM said the shutdowns will help control high dealer inventories and bring manufacturing in line with sales. The company plans to cut production by 190,000 vehicles and reduce inventory from the current 767,000 to 525,000 by the end of July.

    As for Pontiac, about 40 dealers who sell the brand exclusively will be hit hard by the news, Langfitt says. More than 1,000 dealers sell Pontiac along with other brands.

    In eliminating Pontiac, GM is closing out a famous muscle-car brand memorialized in at least one rock song and in films such as Smokey and the Bandit.

    Langfitt says dealers were told as recently as two weeks ago that Buick and the GMC truck line will survive.

    Meanwhile, the summer plant closings will affect about 24,000 hourly and salaried employees at the affected assembly plants, but there will be thousands more layoffs and temporary factory closures when GM works out its schedules for engine, transmission and parts stamping factories.

    The troubled automaker has 22 assembly plants in North America as well as dozens of other parts and powertrain factories.

    Laid-off hourly workers will get unemployment benefits and supplemental pay from the company that amounts to most of their base wages. Salaried workers also will get some income, GM North America President Troy Clarke said Thursday in a conference call with reporters.
    The end of an era, indeed....I guess there will not be a new Firebird

    Last edited by Danny Tse; 04-24-2009 at 07:43 PM.

  2. #2

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    This is such sad news. I have been a Firebird fan all my life. My 3rd car was a Firebird. One of my very favorite cars is the 1989 20th Turbo Trans am pace car. Wow the world is coming down around me.

    This is truly the saddest 2 years of my life.

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  3. #3
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    I will miss the GTO.

  4. #4

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    Sad indeed, and something I don't think GM wanted to do.

    Have a 1966 428HO engine in my garage. Love Pontiac engines, but they killed those 30 years ago so what 1979 was the last engine year of Pontiac.

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    That was the car many of us lusted after in our youth, once we got old enough we bought Toyotas. Actually my wife has the Toyota, I'm driving a GM family sedan (Impala).

    cnh

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    That Stinks big-time!
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  7. #7

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    Well I guess the important thing will be if GM can get through this at all. If they can do that they can bring back the other lines latter on.
    I hear Chrysler is not expected to make it at all.

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    GM has 767,000 cars currently in inventory! DAMN!!!

    They are dropping other lines as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    This is such sad news. I have been a Firebird fan all my life. My 3rd car was a Firebird. One of my very favorite cars is the 1989 20th Turbo Trans am pace car. Wow the world is coming down around me.

    This is truly the saddest 2 years of my life.

    Dn
    ooooohhhh yes the 89 turbo one kick ass 6 along with the GNX are in my top 3
    Last edited by NotaSuv; 04-24-2009 at 09:20 PM.

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    That's a thing I can't understand. Ford is doing OK. You take much of their Ford/Mercury and related Mazda lines and the vehicles are largely interchangeable. I honestly do not buy the story that "while superficially similar" better parts (higher price) are used as you move among brands within the same lines.

    While GM is guilty of the same practice and I have never been a fan of GM in particular, at least the Pontiac line had some distinctive models to call their own.

  11. #11

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    When I was five, my Dad bought a brand new 1960 Pontiac Catalina. I can still hear that 389 moan. Hate to see them go away.

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    MOPAR is most likely done. All that may be left are the Jeeps, Minivans, and Ram trucks. Instead of being a white knight and bailing Chrysler out, Fiat will probably just cherry pick the names they want after the bankruptcy.

    Sad to see Pontiac gone. GTOs, Trans Ams, Bonnevilles...a true legacy gone for good. (probably). Much like what happened to Plymouth a few years ago.

    Lately Ford has done ok with the Edge, F-series, Focus, Fusion and Mustang in the US and the Focus and Fiesta in the rest of the world. They saw the light early and started making smaller vehicles. I just wish they would get the Euro Focus over here instead of crappy one sold in the US.

    A world without Dodge, Oldsmobile, Chrysler, Plymouth, Pontiac...Very sad for an old muscle car junkie like me.
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  13. #13

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    Wow! No more support and parts too? That sucks! I'm looking forward to the new '10 Camaro!

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    Bummer. At least GMC is staying around. My family owns a dealership started by my Grandfather, they sell GMC, Buick, Pontiac, and Jeep. They were a little worried about losing Pontiac, GMC and possibly Jeep. Oddly, the Pontiac's are their best sellers right now.

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    The after market for parts will hang on for a long time. What will be first to go is replacement body panels, then castings. Those are hard to make parts that require presses or hard to create molds. Body panels are still usually done by the manufacturer. The rest is usually contracted out, creating a knowlege base for independent businesses to continuing manufacturing as long as there is a viable market.

  16. #16

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    I'm surprised they're killing Pontiac but keeping Buick. In my part of the country (southwest Missouri), Pontiacs are good sellers. I guess not so much in most of the world, though. Too bad.

    Another thing: we own a Pontiac Vibe and have, for the last few years been getting an extra $1000 patronage rebate whenever we buy a new Pontiac. I guess we can kiss that little perk goodbye.:(
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillbilly61 View Post
    That's a thing I can't understand. Ford is doing OK. You take much of their Ford/Mercury and related Mazda lines and the vehicles are largely interchangeable.
    This is true only in the US. Worldwide Ford has many vehicles that are not marketed in the US because they are small, lack creature comforts, have manual transmissions and are made in factories that don't have the UAW to deal with. These businesses are thriving in Europe, Asia, Africa, China and elsewhere.

    Domestically, they are doing poorly like everyone. Their legacy costs are frightening. Ford Motor Company is the 8th largest healthcare company in the US. They are not seeking stimulus money (bailouts), but don't be surprised if GM and Chrysler negotiate a pre bankrupcy deal with the Justice Dept, Ford is right behind them looking to get out of their UAW contracts. I'm not talking about the autoworker wages, so all you UAW workers don't get all huffy. But the legacy costs (retiree healthcare, pensions, etc.) are frightening. They need domestic change or all of their autos will be built 3rd world countries overseas and sold in the US. They are already doing it in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. The product quality is not bad, it just is not an American style car. But that may change.

    Wait until the Chinese start building American style autos. At first, the quality will be lacking. But after 10 years, their product will be better than most American products. China graduates more than 10 times the amount of engineers that the US graduates. The future belongs to the Chinese and Indian ecoonmies. Well, at least for the a large part of the 21st century.

    Do yourself a favor and read some non fiction books while you have the Polks signing in the background. The future is scary for the US economy and it's not a Democrat/Republican thing. Although I thing the liberal socialist agenda will accelerate the US economies decline because of the eventual higher taxes to pay for unbridled spending for everything liberally imaginable. The Beltway bandit firms the Administration is forming for National Healthcare, a green economy, free market regulation, limits on executive compensation, windmills, you name it. Businesses are being formed to be factories to burn tax money.:(
    Last edited by schwarcw; 04-25-2009 at 01:11 AM.
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougy View Post
    I'm surprised they're killing Pontiac but keeping Buick.
    GM is not going to dump the brand that just dethroned Lexus in initial quality. Buick and Jaguar are tied at the top for quality right now, with Lexus and Toyota following closely. On top of that, Buick is a hot selling brand in China right now, therefore GM wouldn't want to mess around with success.

  19. #19

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    The mental image of a billion Chinese driving Buicks is just too much to fathom :-)
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  20. #20

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    Buick should have been taken into the woods and shot a long time ago.

  21. #21

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    Through most of the 60's my tiny butt was shuffled around in uber fine Poncho's (my Pa ws a huge fan) Tempest/GTO/Catalina/Bonnie's :)

    I understand the why? but how could they??
    Huh? Wot?? Dig it :tongue:

    Where can I get me some??

  22. #22

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    I'm sporting a 400 hp 6.0 GTO/Holden right now. Definitely not a freakin Cavalier. Sux it's an auto, though.
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  23. #23

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    Default It's about time...

    GM has too many products. GMC is not safe. The word is Cadillac, Chevy and Buick will remain. I think that is too many as Buick is not necessary.
    The commercial GMC trucks are mostly Chevy trucks with a GMC badge, sharing almost all parts/design.

    They should just focus on making great Cadillacs and Chevys. If they focus on just two, they might survive. Too many distractions got them into this mess.

    disclaimer: I am a Certified GM Service Manager (GMC, Pontiac, Buick, Chevy and Cadillac).
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  24. #24

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    I kinda wondered that instead of randomly giving billions to GM, why not just buy out their remaining pensions (if the government has to bail something out) then let them go bankrupt so they can get out of their UAW contracts? That way they could restructure, be free of the pensions and all the UAW crap that is dragging them down and they could start over again. Im not sure if that would work or not but it seems logical to me. UAW wages and UAW productivity along with staggering funds going to pension plans is whats killing the Big 3 - this way theyd be out from under those anchor weights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    I kinda wondered that instead of randomly giving billions to GM, why not just buy out their remaining pensions (if the government has to bail something out) then let them go bankrupt so they can get out of their UAW contracts? That way they could restructure, be free of the pensions and all the UAW crap that is dragging them down and they could start over again. Im not sure if that would work or not but it seems logical to me. UAW wages and UAW productivity along with staggering funds going to pension plans is whats killing the Big 3 - this way theyd be out from under those anchor weights.
    We would spend more on taking over the pensions than we are giving them in bailout loans. It really doesn't matter. If they go bankrupt the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corporation will honor the pension benefits. PBGC is a federal corporation created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It currently protects the pensions of American workers and retirees in more than 29,000 private single-employer and multi-employer defined benefit pension plans. PBGC receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed by insurance premiums set by Congress and paid by sponsors of defined benefit plans, investment income, assets from pension plans trusteed by PBGC, and recoveries from the companies formerly responsible for the plans. Problem is that a GM or Chrysler bankruptcy would probably use up all the reserves and more forcing the govt. to fund them anyway.
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  26. #26

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    I hear ya. The one thing tho is that buying up these pension plans would cost hundreds of billions (pure guess on my part) but as time went on, the cost would decrease as the retirees died off. Within maybe 20 years they would all have assumed room temperature and the government's responsibility is done and GM, Ford and Chrysler would still be thriving businesses. At least thats my theory.
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  27. #27

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    Never been a GM fan, not since the early '70s(pre'72), but GM should have taken a little more advice from their Ausie brand, Holden.. Maybe not worthy, to some, of the GTO nameplate, but it'll kick any "stock" GTO's ass from the past.

    Definitely not a Cavalier, most definitely a sleeper, especially if the boy-racer scoops were removed.
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  28. #28
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    it sucks, no more firebird :( My first car was 1982 firebird that i got for graduation, it was excellent car. It had like 2,600 miles on it and i got it in 98.

    Miss that brown firebird :( Never got speeding ticket til last day i moved out of college 4 years later, it sucked!
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  29. #29

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    1968-1972 GTO's. The rest you can keep.

    +1 xj4094dg.

  30. #30

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    You forgot the 64-67s, before they were bloated parodies of themselves. I still like the tacky boy-racer Pontiac stick-ons, though. Just not as much as stuffing a 389 tri-power under the hood of a lightweight(for the timeframe) Tempest.
    Last edited by ND13; 04-26-2009 at 04:26 PM.
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