Posted by: David Kiley on March 17, 2008
It’s hard to find a more confused brand in General Motors’s outsized portfolio than Pontiac. The brand is nominally supposed to stand for “performance.” But the lineup hasn’t delivered a legit performance oriented product portfolio in a long time.
While this ad from Publicis Leo Burnett is more on track than any Pontiac ad I have seen in years (it is a riff on the 80s video-game SpyHunter, it’s hard to look at Pontiac’s monthly sales tally and not be bewildered about the future of the brand.
Most of Pontiac’s sales these days are in the G6. More than 23,000 of Pontaic’s 31,000 sales in 2008 are in that car.
There is now a G8, large, fast four-door sedan that I haven’t driven yet, but gets high grades from my old partner, James T. Healey at USA Today. There is the Pontiac Solstice, Pontiac Vibe and Pontiac Torrent. The Torrent is going to be racast as a GMC vehicle.. And there is the odd looking G5 coupe.
There was a time when Pontiac’s future was tied to a product plan for rear-drive performance cars. That made sense. But tougher fuel-economy standards and cost concerns are side-lining that idea.
Now, it looks like a strange mix of sedans with no discernible products of true distinction. Consider that we are coming out of an era, too, where Pontiac was home to the Aztek SUV, Montana minivan, GTO performance coupe, Grand Prix, Bonneville.
What a frightening hodgepodge of bad disconnected designs and cheap interiors that are only now starting to give way to better models.