• Apr 16, 2009
When the president tells you to sharpen your pencil and improve your last-ditch survival effort, it's time to grab the big eraser. According to reports, General Motors may ditch its GMC and Pontiac brands to demonstrate just how serious it is. If the auto lines go, GM would be pared back to Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac, a mere shadow of its former self, but the nameplates might become more clearly defined with the added breathing room. Ford's got its trifecta of Ford, Mercury and Lincoln, so GM would match that setup should it unload Pontiac and GMC in some way, as well as carry through with its ongoing process of shedding Saturn, Saab and Hummer.

While Pontiac actually has some unique offerings, GMC is rumored to stand a better chance of sticking around. It still wouldn't be cheap to do away with the brands. There are dealers who will not go quietly into the night, meaning GM will be looking at the possibility of finding a buyer for yet another piece of its puzzle. Of course, everyone's keeping mum about the possibility of life without Pontiac or GMC.

UPDATE: According to General Motors' sales chief Mark LaNeve, the automaker has no intentions of killing off Pontiac or GMC. LaNeve admits that GM is continuing to tweak its strategy, but reports that "GMC is going away are just unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue."

[Source: Bloomberg]


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  • 104 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just a reminder:
      By the Numbers: March 2009

      Chevrolet 94,704
      GMC 19,086
      Pontiac 17,583
      Cadillac 8,209
      Buick 7,369
      Saturn 7,333
      Saab 1,265
      Hummer 831

      Although the sales of GM vehicles was down significantly (44.7%), each brand (except Saab and Hummer) did post reasonably acceptable sales considering the economic malaise. Therefore, cutting any one of these brands could seriously affect GM's ability to survive as a going concern. Cutting brands is NOT the answer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      goodbye pontiac; it was good knowing you -- you've outlived your days but I'll be damned in your younger days you sure shined.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ... Said lim PJ and Tool driving away in their respective Toyota Camry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        PJ; you forgot the great lamented late-80's LeMans
        • 5 Years Ago
        Post-1950s, the GTO and Firebird *were* this brand. Great cars, and I'll miss the Pontiac name for that, but the rest was always filler. And over the years, its product planners' comically self-deluded "excitement" claims for cars like the T1000, Grand Am, G3, etc. have exemplified everything that's wrong with GM and its bureaucrats.

        That said, it's heartening to see GM making the tough decisions, even if they had to be pushed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are more than two types of car enthusiast in the world, RK.

        I've owned an Impreza, turbo Volvo wagons, an Eclipse, and two modded Miatas, but never a Toyota (let alone a Camry).
        • 5 Years Ago
        If GM gets rid of Pontiac and GMC -- which is exactly what it needs to do -- how would it channel Buick?

        I think they should go all the way and pare the brands down to Chevy and Cadillac only. I realize that Buick is hot in China, but is a shadow of its former self here in the US (all of its customers are dying off).

        Just imagine how potent GM would be with these two very focused brands. Then GM would be a powerhouse, with two strong brands, a cleaned-up balance sheet and some new mojo.
      Christopher
      • 5 Years Ago
      note to GM: if pontiac must go... please for the love of god and all that is good and at least semi-right in the world..... make the G8 at another brand. the basic goodness that is a zeta-platform rear drive sedan must be allowed to survive.
      all a caprice or impalla would need is a chevy nose and interior badge and lighting changes. with some minor sheetmetal changes and a bit more luxury to the interior + proper nav option it could be a new buick park ave if the intention is to do away with pontiac but keep buick. market it one rung above the new lacrosse as flagship model. just please please please keep a zeta sedan in the U.S. market
      • 5 Years Ago
      GMC: This division has never made sense to me.

      Maybe some years ago, GMC p.u.'s had some unique engines and options to their division, but not now.

      GMC's are built on the same lines that Chevy P.U.'s are built.

      There is no difference between these two brands except for a few badge variations, and minor grill designs.

      This is no different than Lincoln having a version of the F-150 a few years back. Just a fancy named F-150 Lariat.

      Detroit, Detroit, will you ever get it. Stop the badge engineering.

      Yes, I can see the logic in GMC going bye bye, but less so with Pontiac.

      However there is talk of a buyer for Saturn. I'd think that would happen for Pontiac as well.

      Even Hyundai can't sell their Mini-van very well, as it is identical to their Kia division's Sedona Van, which is doing well.

      Hyundai has announced that their badge engineered Mini van will cease to be built. Bright move! Common, GM.....GMC doesn't make sense right now, and might never make sense.

      Just let Chevy carry the light/medium/heavy duty truck lines.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Taglane;
      "The CX is for someone like my aunt - she has a Buick Roadmaster with cloth seats because she didn't want leather. They're bench seats too - she insisted on it. Yes it's sad for someone who is still under 60, but I'm telling you, there's another segment of the market that may not want leather in their car. That's where the CX comes in."

      I agree there are some people like your Aunt. My lady friend bought a 3 series mainly because they still offer genuine naugahide while their competitors force you to take leather. My point is though, your Aunt needs to buy a cloth bench Impala. For every one sale to someone like her the simple existence of these low buck CX's chases away three people that see the cheap brand image they perpetuate.

      What is so hard about GM simply asking the question, "Would Lexus do it?" If the answer is "No", call it a Chevy.

      • 5 Years Ago
      NOO! NOT GMC! WHAT THE HELL IS JACK BAUER GOING TO DRIVE NOW?!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM wants to mimic Fords trifecta but Ford is still not 100% sure it needs 3 brands. Chrysler has 3 brands too and that's a disaster and only Toyota has done ok with 3 and Scion is now slipping. Most companies have 2 brands like Honda/Acura, Nissan/Infinity, VW/Audi just to name a couple and they do well with them.

      Ponitac is easier to get rid of because there are about the same amount of dealers but they are both often paired with Buick. The dealers would much rather be able to sell GMC trucks along side of Buicks than Pontiacs because they are completely different markets. I'm not saying people cross shop Buicks and Ponitacs but having the ability to sell GMCs caters to the many truck buyers.

      The only bad thing about getting rid of Pontiac for dealers is the fact that they lose the low end, entry level market of the G5-G6. There are not many really cheap Buicks.

      So get rid of Pontiac, keep GMC but trim it down a little. Stick to a core group of product, maybe make a Jeep Wrangler competitor instead of the compact SUV that Buick could have. Make GMC "professional grade" and leave the rest to Buick and Chevy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        For the same marketshare, the Japanese have 7 companies here. Many of those have 2-3 brands.

        This is one way to eliminate dealers. But that could have been done accross the board.

        Although some brands could stand to go, this was in part to satisfy the political peanut gallery.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti don't really have a low end either. Acura use to have the RSX and Infiniti the G20, but those have all gone away. I see Buick being GM's Mercury, slightly dolled up Fords, but not as much as a Lincoln.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you talking about Japan or the US market when you say here?

        Only Toyota has 3 brands while Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Mazda are all stand alone companies and have no other brands.

        At least in the U.S. market.

        I agree that most of this is politcal though. Yes it's needed but now you'll have politicians taking credit if it works or turning the back on it if it doesn't.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, about VW/Audi...

        They have, from the top down:

        Bugatti, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche, Audi, VW, Seat, Skoda.

        I'm not sure if this is really the smart way to do things, but with most of their brands being limited in production it might work well for them. Plus Skoda is the recycle brand, using defunct car lines from VW and Audi. I don't think thats replicated anywhere else.

        I think the lesson here is that your products really have to differentiate, and then you can get along with as many brands as you can. I can see VW running into probs with Seat/Skoda/VW though for the same reasons GM is encountering.

        It comes down to dollar propositions. If Caddy could move to the real upmarket, and compete with Mercedes/Audi et al, then Buick would have a nice home underneath it - and above Chevy. Sadly, if GM hadn't burdened Cadillac with its horrendous pimp-mobile image in the 70s, then dumbed it down further with the absolute small crap it got then I wouldnt be discussing this.

        That still leaves Pontiac out cold though, unless all they sold were roadsters or supercars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Something is going on. Obama is seriously lying about the econoomy or more probable, someone is trying to destroy American corporations. All GM needs is to survive the next year or less, it doesn't need to sell brands off to the chinese, etc.

      What is going to happen is, if Obama and the fed is right (and when are they ever?) this economy is going to turn and GM is going to be left which so little manufacturiing ability they can't even compete. If the economy was semi-fine GM would be in great shape right now. BUT the union (why are the democrats not going to bat for these workers and retirees???) will have been destroyed. i.e. - GOAL.

      What you will see next is a MASSIVE government program to take care of the union workers. ANOTHER socialist program.

      This whole thing smells funny and Obama smells even more. We all, well the ones with brains, knew not to vote for that idiot. The rest wouldn't listen.

      If GM is so bad off, has anyone looked at the other major automakers? Someone else should be in the same situation if the economy were really bad and the aim was not to destroy America and the unions. Either we're being kept in the dark or something else is going on.

      Either way, this all smells!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Regardless of your obvious political opinion GM has been in financial trouble for at least a decade, the current economy was just the nail in their coffin. Unions are a problem, their inept management is a problem and their overstaturation of meaningless brands is a problem. GM US should be Chevy and Cadillac, anything else is needless and repetitive. I'm not for government intervention into private business but the companies begged for it and now they have to deal with the consequences that come with it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The only thing I smell is you, sir.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Alex Hobbs

        The main problem is that if the union is crushed, it will likely lead to closing of 10 US assembly plants and their suppliers as well as 1700+ GM dealers across the country. The economic nightmare that would follow would make Lehman Bros look like a Sunday school picnic in comparison.

        Thousand of people across the entire country would be forced out of their jobs. City and State tax bases would be irreparably harmed. Services would have to be greatly curtailed.

        I don't think the non-union employees outside of GM should have to suffer because of short sighted Federally instigated economic policies. There are more reasonable and prudent ways to approach this matter so that a complete economic upheaval doesn't occur.
        • 5 Years Ago
        okkopkpkp,

        Will you please shut the hell up with your political agenda? I already told you that you have no concept of Socialism.

        Read a book.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Buick isn't popular in the U.S., but it's a HUGE brand in China. GM would be crazy to drop Buick unless it did so in the U.S., only.

      The upcoming Buick LaCrosse might be a welcome surprise--an attractive competitor to any upper-scale, but not luxury, sedan sold in the U.S. Buick's reputation for quality is well-known, too (check the latest J.D. Power stats).

      Pontiac is redundant and has nothing that can't be found in a Chevy (the Solstice and G8 are too low-volume to matter). GMC trucks are re-branded Chevys, so they're unnecessary.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM should only keep the G8 and sell it as a Chevy Pontiac G8.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't want to see Pontiac go, but if they won't build true excitement cars, it has to happen, for GM's sake.

      The G8 and Solstice alone can't support the "excitement" image Pontiac has been striving for.

      GMC in the sub-4500 HD market is redundent as well.

      I say do it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Keeping Buick makes no sense....just like Mercury makes no sense nor did Plymouth.

      Chevy and Caddy is all GM needs. Any unique vehicles from other brands should just be folded into one of these two divisions.
      Buick Enclave...is now the Caddy Enclave.
      Pontiac G8 is now the Chevy Impala.
      Pontiac Vibe is now the Chevy Vibe.
      Buick Lacrosse is now the Chevy Lacrosse.
      Pontiac Solstice is now the Chevy Solstice.

      All the rest are eliminated........
        • 5 Years Ago
        Pete, Buick is big in China. I would hope they keep GMC for medium duty truck sales only. Even though Chevy makes the same medium duty trucks, I don't think they have sold as well as GMC. If they get rid of Pontiac, I hope the G8 becomes the next Impala. Then we could have a real SS Impala.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think Buick is huge in China?
        • 5 Years Ago
        However, Buick sells a lot of cars still to the 50+ age bracket. Many couldn't afford a newer Caddy as it has moved upmarket, and many wouldn't want a Chevy. They want something a bit nicer. And you have to have cars that sell in every age bracket. And yes...Buick sells a lot to China. Pontiac and GMC are mostly duplicate brands, but Buick is not so much.
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