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The Pontiac G8 Is Still Dead

Well, so much for the Pontiac G8 coming back as the Chevrolet Caprice. Vice-Chairman Robert A. "Bob" Lutz had a keen eye to bring the beloved Pontiac G8 back to the U.S. market as a Caprice. BusinessWeek first reported the story on July 10. But the company has decided against it. Bringing the car from Australia, where it is sold as the Holden Commodore, is just too expensive. Plus, the car's big V6 and V8 engine options make meeting fuel-economy rules tougher, says GM spokesman Pat Morrissey. It seems Lutz had been out when the idea of reprising the G8 as a Caprice was nixed by other members of management. The cost of shipping the car from Australia to the U.S. hurts the car's profitability, especially since it sells in low volumes. While the G8 was well-liked, and outsold sporty models in the same $28,000-$40,000 price range like the Infiniti G37 and Acura TL, its low sales volumes make for a tough business case. GM may still bring the G8/Commodore to the U.S., but only as a police car. And analysts think it could be a success. Ford's ( (F)) Crown Victoria goes away after 2010, says James N. Hall, principal of auto consulting firm 2953 Analytics. That leaves only the Dodge Charger as a rear-wheel-drive police cruiser. But as a sports sedan for the general public, "you'd have to differentiate it more to make it a Chevy," Hall says. "In the environment GM has to work in, it doesn't make sense to spend the money on that car."
Welch is a reporter for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek in Detroit.

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