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Since Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealers are in the process of consolidating their showrooms, many were likely hoping for a halo product that could draw customers into the showroom. Hey, wouldn't a version of the upcoming Chevy Camaro badged as a Pontiac Trans Am revival do the trick? Maybe, but at the NADA conference this week, GM told these dealers that a Pontiac Trans Am is not going to happen. Blame the new, more stringent federal fuel economy regulations for killing off this cool idea. In fact, the new regs also mean that the automaker will be scaling back on transforming Pontiac into a rear-wheel-drive performance division. Though GM assured dealers that Pontiac will remain a car-only brand, the assurance that a debacle like the Aztec won't happen a second time is little comfort to those who were hoping Pontiac would once again be the brand that builds excitement. And who says performance has to be totally sacrificed for fuel economy? New powertrains are being developed that make the most of the internal combustion engine's efficiency, and a twin-turbo, direct-inject four-cylinder can make gobs of power while being much more efficient than an equally powerful V6 or even V8.

GM did inform Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealers that they would be getting 12 new or special-edition vehicles over the next 20 months. A special-edition GMC Sierra pickup called Pro Grade was mentioned, for instance. Still, the quashing of any hope for a new Trans Am means that the number of vehicles slated to share the Camaro's rear-wheel-drive Zeta platform in the U.S. is dwindling. Only the Pontiac G8 and G8 ST car-based truck are confirmed, with Zeta-based rear-wheel-drive sedans for Buick and Chevy still up in the air. This means that without the ability to spread out costs across a number of new vehicles, the price of producing these vehicles will likely be high and passed on to the performance-minded consumer.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd, Photo: Winding Road]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Typical of Bob Klutz Nutz blaming CAFE for not making cool cars. I don't blame CAFE at all. I think it's more laziness on GM's staff. Other companies can make cool cars without using fuel sucking V8's, why can't you GM?

      I guess you really don't want customers. Well i certainly feel more right for continuing my hatred towards GM since 94.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Grand National was awesome...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Cool and all, but this isn't going to help GM at all.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "But it is also sour-grapes behavior from GM about the regulations that makes it less impressive, and makes me less inclined to buy products from whiners."

      And you're not whining? It's not like GM is saying you can't have a pointless musclecar. They're just saying when it comes out, you're only going to be able to buy the Camaro. Man people like to bitch about ANYTHING!
      shaun petrusa
      • 7 Years Ago
      responsetobenfolio.mustangs inplaceofT/As? who wouldof
      thunkit?unbeleivable!Also,gmcantmakeaT/Aw/aV8?Whataboutallthegmgasguzzling,politicallycorrectSUV'sout there? HA! Lake Tahoe.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "some major flaws in your argument. Chrysler's 6.1 makes 2x the power/torque and is matted to a rwd much larger car. Also, other v8's like GM's ls engines are a more fuel efficient and ligher design than chryslers, so that part cannot be attributed to all v8's, or all pushrod v8's in specific."

      No flaws, you just need to improve your reading comprehension.

      I was refuting the claim that 4 cylinder motors: "drink as much fuel as bigger engines in both EPA tests and in the real worlds, they’re harsh, noisy and develop all their power at a billion RPM" according to davew.

      I post a point-by-point refutation using a large V8 for comparison with a well regarded 4-cyl motor. I can't see a flaw since point-by-point I showed this not to be true. As for sizes...

      300C VW GTI
      Front Headroom (in.) 38.70 39.30
      Rear Headroom (in.) 38.00 38.50
      Front Legroom (in.) 41.80 41.20
      Cargo Volume (cu. ft.) 15.60 14.70

      The real difference in size for the 300C is in the rear legroom and shoulder room. It's actually pretty pathetic that the 300C has less than 1 cubic foot more cargo room than a Golf/GTI/A3. On my daily commute there are far more people driving solo to work and I would imagine 85%+ off miles driven in most cars is with 2 people or fewer. If you have a large family I see the need for large SUVs and the new Tahoe hybrid is a nice compromise. I don't see the point of the 300C/RT the Challenger or the Trans Am.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well duh, why would they give Pontiac a product that would sell. They will blame it on the new CAFE standards I'm sure.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Say what? No Trans-Am for the Pontiac division? Why, that's just un-American!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Pontiac needs to be a performance brand to lift itself up from being just a Chevrolet with a 5% stiffer suspension. GM needs to distribute the development costs of ZETA among as many products as possible to get a satisfactory ROI and RWD cars with an available v8 and DI V6's would do all those things. Turbo charged 4 cylinder engines are idiotic. They drink as much fuel as bigger engines in both EPA tests and in the real worlds, they’re harsh, noisy and develop all their power at a billion RPM’s. GM should strive to get as many MPG’s out of its products as feasible in regards to CAFE, however if they do not make what people want they will simply move to other manufacturers who do or better yet go to the used markets. If GM cannot meet the 35 MPG goal than just pay the fine by passing the very small cost onto the consumer. The only people that would care that Gm did not meet its goal are hard core Eco freaks and they are a small idiotic minority whose opinion doesn’t matter anyway because they are not a significant cultural force or even plausible GM customers because they will never forgive GM for popularizing SUVs and the death of the EV-1.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I missed out on the Bandit edition of the Trans-Am. Any child of the 70's can appreciate that!

      But it is good to see that GM is not going to do the typical badge engineered thing. Keep the concept pure and let the Camaro get the sales.
      • 7 Years Ago
      they should let Buick use the platform and put a sick, but gas sipping small displacement turbo 6 in it. I know, it's a wild idea. never been done, I'd imagine. A true first for GM. I mean, really, it's not like there was ever a market for a car like that. And have Buick sell it? that would be just nuts. I mean really.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No need for a transam right now. As somebody already said they get the Solstice & Chevy gets the camaro. Instead it's better to focus more on the mass sellers like the G6.
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