Pontiac Solstice Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,210 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Intersting what's happening with the recent launch of another Pontiac niche car, the GTO. Wonder if this might be food for thought as they plan launch of Solstice...especially if the part about launching a car in winter is true. I don't agree with the comparison of first year niche car to Aztek.

Even Humble Aztek Outselling Pontiac's Touted GTO
June, 2004
JIM MATEJA
Chicago Tribune

There are a few red faces at General Motors.

In the first four months of this year, sales of the Pontiac Aztek sport utility, considered by many the most gosh-awful-looking vehicle on the planet, totaled 7,416 units, down from 11,311 a year earlier.

But the countdown to Aztek obscurity is not what's causing the red faces.

In the same period, sales of the Pontiac GTO totaled 2,800 units, meaning Aztek outsold the highly touted performance coupe by more than 2½-to-1.

GTO is derived from the rear-wheel-drive Monaro produced by GM's Holden operations in Australia.

Even before GTO went on sale in late December, critics complained that the styling was plain and not suited to a nameplate that kicked off the muscle-car era in the 1960s.

Although Pontiac is considering styling tweaks on future models to soothe the critics, it insists that as many people like the look as object to it and that styling isn't what held back sales.

"While we'd always like to sell more, we haven't been disappointed with GTO sales so far," Pontiac spokesman Tom Beaman said.

Not disappointed even though Pontiac forecast sales of 16,000 to 18,000 units a year, and is on target to sell only about 7,400?

Beaman cites a winter launch of a rear-wheel-drive performance car as one reason for slow early sales in the Northern states.

He also said that although the GTO did not fare well in the Snow Belt during the winter, it has done well in southern California, where Pontiac is traditionally weak.

There, more than 40 percent of GTO sales are conquests - captured from rival brands - so more GTOs will be shipped there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,844 Posts
You think the big rebates on the Aztec's and the bigger dealer markups on the GTO's might have just a little to do with the numbers? You want it $4000 under MSRP or $5000 over? Dealers swallowed GM's hype about it's projected popularity when they pulled their mark up out of the air. Predict we'll be hearing the same about the Solstice. :mad
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
The GTO has been a dissapointment for two reasons; too plain looking and too much money. The time of season for the release is a contributing factor. While the look of the GTO is totally forgetable, at least it's not offensive or down right ugly.(Something GM has a knack for producing as of late!)

The performance is there, so they got that right, but at a distance people might mistake it for an Acura or Honda, and someone that plunks down that kind of cash for a first year release wants to turn heads. Still if the price were lower, many people would pick it up just for the performance aspect. Of course dealer gouging doesn't help, but that should correct it's self soon.

Out here in California the Pontiac name plate does not command much respect. Fair or not, most GM brands have a reputation for being mediocer to lousey out here. (Intrestingly, that perception doesn't seem to apply to trucks or SUVs. Everybody seems to think those are great.) So GM has to be careful with their price points. If they price it too high, many will not risk it, even if it is great.

I sort of see a parrallel happening with the Thunderbird. It has the looks, but not the performance to match it, and again, it was initially priced too high. Now with Ford offering rebates and the dealer mark up gone, people are starting buy them. It will no doubt be the same for GTO. The shame is, that once the damage is done in the first year, many executives get scared, and want to cut their losses and run. This puts alot of pressure on a design to be a runaway hit upon release and dooms many potentialy great cars. (IMHO, both Thunderbird and GTO have that potential.) We'll see how the SSR does, IMO they have priced that too high and come up short on performance as well.

As long as Pontiac stays with the 20k intro price, and the specs for the Solstice don't down grade, then I don't think the Solstice will share the same fate. However, if the niche cars don't start to pan out soon, the share holders will hand Mr. Lutz his walking papers. They don't seem to have much patience for innovation. I would hate to see him go, it's been a long time since a "car guy" has run that company. Who knows who'd they get next? Probably someone who made a fortune selling toothbrushes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
"design being a runaway hit" is the key.

I asked one of the chevy guys I know and he said the SSR is actually selling quite well... but they were only trying to sell 10,000 of them per year. They still grab attention, and most dealers are still selling for +$2500 over MSRP.

Hmmm, a $25,000 SUV vs. a niche market mis-nameplated (IMHO: looks like a Chevy rather than a Pontiac to me, but everyone has their different preferences) $35,000 Sport Coupe... seems like a fair comparison. :rolleyes

Styling sells the first 6 months. Make no mistake - that is the Solstice's strength. Fresh options, more toys, and good, sound engineering (including well-executed quality) maintains momentum past the intro and into history. Hopefully this is well thought out at GM.

It'd be interesting to find out what the GTO scores on a poll about styling. I give it a B-/C+. I'm sure some think it's stunning, but I have to look twice to make sure it's not a Lumina.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
They had to lower the price on the Aztek to sell any of them. I bet if they lowered the price on the GTO they'd sell a bunch more
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
wow.......comparing the styling of a Lumina to a GTO! Isn't that a bit of an exageration? I don't see the similarities. Well it does have four wheels like a lumina, and it's engine is in front like the Lumina! hhhhmmmmm??????
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top