If product is everything, then Pontiac may be one of General Motor's shining examples. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, while sales for the sporty brand may have dropped in the first quarter this year compared to 2005, some of those figures can be attributed to GM's de-emphasis of fleet sales as the automaker moves away from that market. And while the Solstice is still sold out, the G6, now made (in)famous on Oprah, has already posted a 78-pct increase this quarter compared to last year. GM partially attributes the G6's sales success to new trim packages, more powerful engine choices, and appealing design. The automaker points to studies showing that the brand has some of the youngest buyers in its segment, helping it to compete with Honda and Nissan.

But Pontiac watchers are concerned. They point to the upcoming G5, based on the Chevrolet Cobalt, and worry about a repeat of the badge-engineering that damaged the marque in the first place. Pontiac, though, says the G5 will be distinctly a Pontiac.

[Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]