• Apr 27, 2009
2009 Pontiac Vibe – Click above for high-res image gallery

There are a lot of questions left unanswered after General Motors announcement this morning that its Pontiac division was not long for this world. One of those is what will happen to GM's joint venture agreement with Toyota to produce models at the New United Motor Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) facility in California. The Pontiac Vibe is currently produced there along with the Toyota Matrix, its platform mate. GM has stated that it's already negotiating with Toyota to produce a new model at NUMMI that would be sold under one of the automaker's remaining four brands – Chevy, Buick, Cadillac or GMC.

Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson told Automotive News, "There's really nothing wrong with the Vibe. Its only problem right now is that it is a Pontiac." The Vibe, a tall five-door hatchback, could simply be rebadged a Chevy to keep development costs down, though selling such a model in bow tie dealerships could cannibalize sales of the HHR, which itself is scheduled to be replaced in 2011 by a production version of the Orlando Concept. Or, GM could simply start fresh and develop an all new model off of the Corolla-derived platform that underpins the current Matrix and Vibe. As with all things GM at the moment, nothing is firm and more details (and rumors) will surely follow.

Check out our own review of the 2009 Pontiac Vibe.

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

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      First of all, I don't think the Matrix is made side by side with the Vibe in the NUMMI plant. I believe Toyota makes the Corolla there and the Matrix in Ontario. The NUMMI website doesn't mention the Matrix as one of it's products:


      Secondly, I don't know why some people are saying the Vibe didn't sell. I think I just read recently that 70,000 of Pontiac's 270,000 cars sold last year were Vibes. That's a pretty respectable 26%.

      The NUMMI plant GM products (Vibe and Prizm/Nova) may be dull, but they are some of GM's most reliable vehicles, and some of the few that would be a tempting to Toyota and Honda buyers. They never advertised any of them though. But really, almost all GM advertises is trucks/SUVs. Heck, that's all any of them do. Toyota doesn't advertise the Corolla much either, for example. The profits are in trucks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        you are correct. NUMMI builds Corollas, Vibes, and Tacoma's. I'm no fan of the styling but Vibes are probably the best cars to where a GM badge, just as the Prizms were in the 90s. GM could do worse than to sell a rebadged Toyota. you're right, they cant pull one over on us. but why would they want to?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Vibe has always sold well, and when they first came out they were VERY hard to get. I had to wait 6 weeks for mine because all the regional dealers had few in stock. Most they did have on the lot sold quickly.

        With the glut of similar vehicles around now, it's easy to forget that this and the Matrix were the first of the small crossover wagons and helped create a new segment. The higher seating position and larger interior set them apart from the later Mazda 3, and they had a bunch of innovative features, like the 2 prong outlet, sliding tie-down tracks, washable cargo area and really durable seat fabric. The Vibe even was a styling trendsetter with the reverse angle D-pillar that is now used on pretty much every new hatchback that comes out.

        Overall, this was an example of GM doing something right for a change. It was a well thought-out and generally well executed and highly functional little car. They were in on the project from the beginning and did co-develop it with Toyota, not just do a restyle, to the point that Toyota sold the Vibe body style for years in their home market as the Toyota Vitz. It also did attract some import shoppers like me, who would never have bought a "real" pontiac. The reliability has been 100% bulletproof, and while I understand the need to axe Pontiac in general, it seems dumb to throw away a model that was just recently redone, especially when it meets the profile of the small, fuel efficient and adaptable vehicles that they need more of. If they just do a minor nose job and tack it onto the Cobalt or Cruze lines as a wagon, it would not require the marketing support needed for a different nameplate. Why throw away a few badly-needed sales?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm a happy owner of a NUMMI-produced '99 Chevy Prizm 5-speed, purchased new. I hope that a new design, sold as a Chevy, will come out of NUMMI - something that could remain Corolla-based but would fit better into the Chevy lineup than the Prizm did. (At the time, all the marketing effort in that segment went into the Cavalier - a true piece of crap that nonetheless overlapped the Prizm's potential market; the Prizm was practically never advertised.) Also, no more Matrix clone please - we need cars that are easier to see out of!
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The Pontiac Vibe is currently produced there along with the Toyota Matrix, its platform mate."

      The Matrix isn't made at NUMMI, the Corolla is.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson told Automotive News, "There's really nothing wrong with the Vibe. Its only problem right now is that it is a Pontiac."

      Actually, there is something wrong with the Vibe. Everytime I see the back hatch of one, I think it's be rearended and someone has put painted cardboard over the rear window.
      • 5 Years Ago
      they should just move the vibe over to Cadillac and keep the Vibe name plate. it is a great car and should deserve to survive this crap.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "Or, GM could simply start fresh and develop an all new model off of the Corolla-derived platform that underpins the current Matrix and Vibe."

      Lord I hope a GM exec reads that! ITS THE COROLLA! Best selling car ever, use the platform to make a great car sold as an american!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      hopefully it'll be under 20k in not to long during the pontiac firesale and we'll all grab M5 beaters for half the cost of a well optioned 1 series.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uhm? Which one is the M5 beater according to your statement?

        Drugs are bad, mmm kay :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I know for fact that the Matrix is not produced at the NUMMI plant. Not sure where you get your information from.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @ P. V.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Called it!

      Its replacement should be an entry-level Buick if Chevy's going to be giving us a Cruze-based Orlando.

        • 5 Years Ago
        It's been rumored that the Pontiac Vibe will be replaced with another shared Toyota model called Chevrolet Chevette ;~)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I've heard rumors it would be a Cadillac, but Buick would be a great place to put it. Their lineup needs something a little smaller.
        • 5 Years Ago
        hey its not half bad as a buick =) luxo it up... works for lexus (of course im not saying buick and lexus are the same)

        • 5 Years Ago
        Hopefully they will use the platform to build that new little Chevy (the Beat I think it was called?)

        Perfect size and Chevy could use a good little small car to run along with the aging Aveo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      From what I've heard, the NUMMI plant was unionized back when Toyota was competing for North American market share. They make the Corollas for the US and the Vibe for North America. The Cambridge, ON plant makes Corollas for Canada and the US, and the Matrix (as well as others) for North America.

      NUMMI is either the only unionized Toyota plant, or one of few, as far as I know, and upper management has been waiting for a reason to increase production back to full-speed in Cambridge (moving all Corolla production to Canada) and killing the Vibe, and closing the old unionized plant to cut costs and increase profits by using the non-unionized plant. I don't think it needs to be said that (especially the) car companies don't want anything to do with unions.

      GM would love to have a segment-leading car based on/like the Corolla to advertise as their own. I don't think any Toyota execs in their right mind would hand market share back to the company they finally took the trophy from by giving them a vehicle they could really use.
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