• Aug 24, 2007
When the Pontiac Solstice hit the market last year, there was enough electricity surrounding the new model in GM's "Excitement" division to power a small mid-western town. That buzz has apparently dropped off in quick order. Whereas before, dealers were tacking on huge markups, there are now reports of $1,000 being thrown on the hood of Pontiac's beautiful, bulbous roadster.

An article in the New York Times outlines a number of reasons for the recent sales slump, which include sales of the Saturn Sky rallying, Pontiac's brand perception waning and fashion victims, whose tastes change quicker than their Platinum card balance, losing interest in a vehicle that is becoming more commonplace.

Historically, highly stylized sports cars and convertibles have a short shelf life and that, coupled with the introduction of the GXP variant of the Solstice, may be the biggest culprits in the recent sales decline.

[Source: New York Times via Winding Road]


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      • 7 Years Ago
      The Camel humps have to go. Or at least make it a boat-tail for nostalgia sake.
      jeff
      • 7 Years Ago
      hello,
      i came across this discussion by accident and am not in the car business. i am a physician in my early 40s. my last cars were a 99 miata, a 2001 porsche roadster, and my latest a '06 civic hybrid. so, u can tell, i like small convertibles. i had considered buying one of these when i bought the hybrid. the dealer near my house in columbus ohio had 5 of them on the lot. he added about 10,000 dollars to the price tag of each. the salesman seemed unappologetic and maybe even a little haughty about this price gouging. as a result, i walked away with a basic attitude of extreme dislike for the way this greedy bastard was running his dealership. and the chances of my buying one of these in the future declined dramatically. and, i'm no expert...but why does the top look so improperly made and ill-fitting? the convertible top makes me think that maybe the whole car is still suffering from sub-par american engineering (compared to the japanese and german cars that i've bought more recently).
      my father was a member of the auto union. he swore to only buy american for years and years. his last 2 cars have been toyota avalons.
      i really hope that american car companys can get a clue. if they can't start making attractive cars that are reliable and get over 50 mph and give an impression of quality construction, then i'm afraid they can just close up shop and we'll all be owned by the asian rim.
      best of luck, i hope someone on this side of the pacific can rise to a position to meet this challenge.
      Ben K.
      • 7 Years Ago
      These niche cars are great, but not worth $25-$30K plus dealer markup. Greedy dealers ruin these low volume vehicles, like the SSR and Solstice. I'm afraid the G8 will have the same problem, since GM won't be able to provide enough volume from Australia. The G8 will be the only Zeta sedan for two years, so dealers will screw it up with markups. Pontiac desperately needs new product, but capacity restraits cause these problems. The Camaro might suffer the same fate, at least the General plans on 100,000 units a year.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Easy.
      The pontiac has cheap dual beam headlights.
      The saturn has real headlights. With projector low beams too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think the Solstice looks better, much smoother lines, more classic roadster. My take is the Solstice launched first so it tanks first. The Sky will be tanking next year.

      This is after all a car with no trunk. Once the "ooh it's pretty" wears off, you realize it is about as practical as motorcycle. There are a lot of used ones available already.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No trunk and a car utterly devoid of creature comforts hurts. The car's limited in a very big way. Add to that a byzantine roof and a drivetrain that feels like it's from a pick up and who does this car appeal to? In non-supercharged versions the car can't compete with an Mx-5 on any level - performance, ride comfort creature comforts, ease of use, trunk/storage space. So really, only in the most hopped up version can it beat an MX-5 in just the performance metrics. This limits the Solstice (and eventually the Sky) to a niche within a niche.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Greedy dealers mess up a good Launch. They in the long run hurt themselves the car Company whose product they sell and alienate the would be customer.
      Those with money will pay the price others will be peed off and buy else where. People who have a bad dealer also blame GM too. As far as some customers are concerned They buy from GM making GM the dealer.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree. Greedy dealers.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I believe the Miata's sales are really strong. Once again I looked at a solstice up close and the quality is just not there they couldn't even figure out how to make the convertible top look fitted in the closed position? Any freshman level engineer could have shown them how to accomplish that task. Sad
        • 7 Years Ago
        I went to the local Pontiac dealer the other day (Todd Wenzel in Grand Rapids, Michigan) looking to test-drive a "basic, Clubsport, stripped-down" version of the Solstice. Much to my surprise, every model they had was fully-loaded, nearly every option box checked, even on the GXP models. Fewer than half had manual transmissions, many of which also had the tacky GM add-ons that don't do anything to enhance performance.

        You wanna know what the salesman said?

        They won't have a stripper on the lot unless a customer orders one. IMO, thats bad business. Even Saturn across the street knows enough to keep the stripper models on the lot...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Absolutely agree. Dealers are rolling the dice when they're counting on only one chump to pick it up.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That is exactly what happened to the now discountinued Ford Thunder Bird. When this retro car came out it was a very good looking retro car but dealers wanted $10,000 more than list. Even though it was built in limited supply very few were willing to pay the price.
      ToMiTa
      • 7 Years Ago
      Both are great cars

      Item....License plate

      Sky: Looks good with front license plate

      Solstice: Looks terrible!! There is no place to put it!!

      A design flaw, IMHO
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dealer greed and GM greed for refusing to build them when demand was there. I want one still but I am not paying the dealer add on profit or buying the loaded bloated cars on the lot.

      I remember seeing a 4500 add on displayed proudly on a new Crossfire when it first hit the market. HA!!!!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        John,
        If you place an order at my Saturn store, we do not add anything to the car, or the price. I do believe there are still a lot of retailers who don't mark up the sky if it is ordered. As far as if it is already on the lot, that is different. We add accesories to other vehicles as well, not just Sky's.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I guess what it boiled down to is what car makes you look more queer.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oh my Gad, what an ignorant comment.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I was under the impression that the only reason the Pontiac's were selling so well was because the Saturn's were back-ordered for so long.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd buy a Solstice, if it wasn't a Pontiac. I'd buy a Sky, if it wasn't a Saturn. GM is stupid for competing against its self. I'll take a Mazdaspeed Miata, thanks!
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