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My grandfather was a huge Pontiac guy. Every year or so, he would treat himself to a new Bonneville, even if it didn't have any major changes. Pontiac resonated well with it's audience. Creating beautiful muscle cars such as the GTO (which started as an option package to the Pontiac Tempest) all the way to beautiful mid and full sized cars such as the first generation Grand Prix.
You would think with such a great beginning, Pontiac would have received better treatment and also would be one of the biggest brands out right now. Well... It could have been (in my opinion). There were a few things that contributed to Pontiac not being one of the biggest automotive brands today. Those are: Brand Identity, Brand Placement, and a lack of vision for the brand overall. Let's break these down one at a time.
Pontiac fell prey to the famous GM badge engineering. In the 2000s, GM would develop a vehicle and spread it over many companies with little change in design. This is evident with the Pontiac Montana, Pontiac Torrent (aka Chevrolet Uplander/Saturn Relay/Buick Terraza), Pontiac G5 (aka Chevrolet Cobalt), and Pontiac G3 (aka Chevrolet Aveo). Cars such as the Pontiac G8 and fourth generation Pontiac GTO were based on cars from GM's Australian division Holden. Now the Holden based G8 was actually an excellent addition to Pontiac. Since it was only shared with Holden, it was unique to the Pontiac brand and it was a well built, a very powerful sports sedan. However it was vehicles like the G3, G5, and Torrent that really confused buyers as to what Pontiac's vision for being an auto brand was.
With having several companies under it's belt at the time, GM had some brand placement issues. Pontiac could have been considered an sports brand, but wasn't Saturn trying to go for that image? It could have been considered as an family brand but isn't that what Chevrolet and Buick was for? GM had the SUV arena covered with GMC and Chevrolet, and it had it's upper market areas covered with Buick and Cadillac, so Pontiac was really in an dead space. And at the time it seemed that GM really wasn't pushing for research development to see where Pontiac could be placed.
Sadly, Pontiac was discontinued April 27, 2009. A company with rich history and an possible new future was cut along with Saturn, Hummer and SAAB. I would be quick to say it was the economic conditions that lead to Pontiac's demise, but that isn't the full truth. GM's lack of vision, badge engineering, brand placement, and lack of promotion and marketing led to the demise of Pontiac long before GM considered it for the Chapter 11 restructuring chopping block. But the question still remains: Could Pontiac be revived again. There is actually one answer... Yes.
Now before we get out our automotive shield and swords, hear me out. GM is seriously lacking something, and that's an dedicated sports brand. Cadillac is too busy chasing the German Big Three with over priced products, and some may argue that Cadillac doesn't have much of a vision these days. Chevrolet tried to put another (Holden Commodore/Pontiac G8) type of vehicle in it's lineup to replace the gap left by the Impala SS with the Chevrolet SS (which will be cut after the 2017 model year). The truth is, Pontiac could be better suited of taking on the task of being an dedicated sports brand. Instead of being an BMW fighter (like Cadillac), Pontiac could start targeting markets that Porsche and Jaguar are in while also keeping their vehicles at an affordable price range. The Pontiac Solstice could return and be positioned against cars such as the Porsche 718 Boxter/718 Cayman, Alfa Romeo 4C coupe and spider, and the Jaguar F-Type. The Pontiac G8 could return as an sports sedan positioned against the Alfa Romeo Giulia, while the G6 could be marketed as a smaller sports sedan. Of course the RWD formula could be introduced, and Pontiac could help GM bring in an new dedicated audience.
It would give Chevrolet room to fully focus on being a family brand. It could also help Cadillac reboot it's vision of chasing after Germany's big three, and we won't see anymore Chevrolet SS cars placed in areas it shouldn't be in GM's brands. In my opinion, Pontiac has a chance to be revived with a new identity and new automotive vision that helps it supplant it's legacy once again. Would it sell in huge numbers? Not in the beginning. But with time (and true effort from GM) it could be a good brand again.