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Posted by: David Welch on July 07, 2009
Here’s an example of throwing the baby out with the bath water. As General Motors barrels through bankruptcy and ditches the long-troubled Pontiac brand, along with it goes the G8 sports sedan. What a shame. The car started in price at $28,000 and the sticker price got close to $40,000 if you bought the high-powered GXP model. When is the last time a Pontiac sold for that kind of sticker price? You’d have to sell two G6 coupes to get that kind of money.
What’s more is that the cars were selling pretty well, especially considering how dismal this car market is. Sports car fans loved the roomy sedan that could be had with a 256-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 or the 361-hp 6-liter and 4-2-hp 6.2-liter V-8 engines. It’s far better than the GTO was when it came back in 2004. Motor heads snapped up the G8 models as GM prepared to shut down production. Its Australian Holden unit made the last G8 in June.
Sure that last-minute rush pushed sales up. Still, G8 sales rose 150% last month. Pontiac, which everyone knows is dying, sold nearly 16,000 G8s this year. That’s more than Acura sold of its top-selling TL sedan and Infiniti sold of its G37 sedan. In other words, GM had a sporty sedan that was appointed with luxury amenities and sold at top-shelf prices. And out it goes.
I asked a few executives if they might bring it back as a Chevy or a Buick. They would sell a lot more of them at Chevy dealers and inject a bit of passion into a Buick showroom. But so far, it seems not to be. The business case for bringing cars from Australia to the U.S. is pretty tough. But for a company that needs every hit car and all the buzz it can muster, it seems that GM might find a way to keep this one. For those looking for a great sports car, there are some left at Pontiac dealers. And those dealers are willing to haggle.
Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Detroit bureau chief David Welch , Dexter Roberts and Ian Rowley bring daily scoop, keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business from around the globe. Read their take on such weighty issues as Detroit’s attempt at a comeback, Toyota’s quest for dominance and the search for an efficient car.