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Discussion Starter #1
Well went to the Pontiac dealership today to seek some questions on the Solstice. This is what I found out from what I was told.........

- They are going to offer a Supercharged version with a 1.8L The VERY FIRST year.
I didn't get any HP numbers ors specs.

- Anything and everything thats going to be on the Solstice is coming out the first year, there is going to be wait till next year when this option or that option blah blah blah, everything that the Solstice is going to be equipped with is going to be out the first year out.

- The price is going to top out at around 23-24k for a fully loaded car. GM was trying to keep the price of this car as low as possible

- Comes into dealerships the early part of fall 2005 (most of you already know this)

- You can pre-order but not nessasary, should be able to choose and pick your options without having to pre-order. They should have pretty much anything you want right there at the dealership when it comes out. Of course if they don't have it, the dealership can get it for you.

- The guy said he had already snuck in a special order to GM to get one early. He sounded excited about this car as much as I am. He pictures of this car all over around his desk.

It doesn't sound like that there is going a real hassle getting one and sounds they are selling about the same as they would a Grand Am.

DISCLAIMER!!!!! This is what I was TOLD from a CAR SALESMAN who works for a Pontiac dealership. I AM NOT GOING TO GUARANTEE WHAT I POSTED IS COMPLETELY TRUE OR NOT. Please don't bash this post saying none of that is true, I am just telling you guys what the CAR SALESMAN told me.
 

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Thanks for the info. I'd still bet they will be in short supply the first year.

Anyone know how many Pontiac dealerships there are in USA? We can divide it by 20,000 units and get average per dealer (I know they get allotments based on previous sales but it's an average
 

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Sounds like a "Fermi" question, so here goes:

There is somewhere like 1 dealership in one of the western michigan counties that I am familiar with, with a population of about 24,000. That's a pontiac dealership for every 24,000 people, but this is probably an overestimation.

That means about 415 pontiac dealership in michigan (population around 10M). I checked bigbook for "pontiac" in Michigan and got 622 entries - a majority of which were pontiac dealerships, but not all (pontiac is a major city in michigan). Extrapolating 24,000 people per dealer gives an upper limit of 11,875 delerships for the US population.

But CA is about 35M, and I know someone who lives in San Jose, and he told me there is only one Pontiac dealer near him. A quick check on BigBook shows 342 dealers in CA, or a dealer per 100K people. Extrapolating from there means about 2850 pontiac dealerships in the US. Seems a reasonable lower bound.

Without talking to a Pontiac, I think the 2850 number is closer to the true number - but at least we're in the "order of magnitude".

Assuming 2850 dealers, that's about seven solstice(s) per year at full volume. But the first year is a ramp up, so the first year should be less, maybe two or three?

Anyone know anybody at Pontiac?
 

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http://www.autonews.com/files/00dlrcensus.pdf

I swear, I found this after one more Google session, AFTER I posted the last post (searched for ["pontiac" "sales per dealership"])

This says, (no S**T!) 2830 pontiac franchises in 2000, and an average of 192 pontiac sales per franchise. Knock me over with a feather.

My guess is the larger pontiac dealers will probably get up to 10 the first year, and some of the smallest will get none. At full production, the big dealers probably 1-2 per month the small ones maybe 5 per year.
 

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A touch misleading, if you look at the entire report there were 7831 GM dealers on 1 Jan 2001 and 16,848 fanchises (where the 2830 came from). A "franchise" could be a multi-make dealer - Chev-Pontiac-Cadillac and a number of those will probably not want to floor a Solistice though will be willing to order one.

In 1969 wasn't the 697 TransAms produced supposed to be one per dealer ?
 

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Padgett,

I think you are correct.

I was assuming a "franchise" is one license from GM to a dealership to sell Pontiacs. I'm also sure that GM controls the franchises to mix and match the correct nameplates (so you don't get too many cavaliers competing with sunfires).

Aren't most or more than half of the Pontiac dealers associated with GMC trucks when combined brands exist? I thought I heard something like that a few years ago - a big problem with some Pontiac-Buick Dealer in NJ that was forced to drop Buicks and pick up GMC trucks. I think that guy, Zarella, was involved at that time (pre Lutz).

I would guess still half or more of the franchises are Pontiac-emphasized, and would want some dealer stock if they could get it. Call it 1500 dealerships. If the first year volume is 10,000-12,000 vehicles, that's still only a few (6-10) for those big dealerships for the floor each for the first year and even less for the multi-dealers that are willing to order one for customers - if they can get one at all.

Oh well. More interesting brain teasers.
 

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Yes, Pontiac and GMC joined late in the last century. Caused quite a bit of consternation in POCI because there had been a controversy for years about admitting the Pontiac engined GMCs of the late fifties and suddenly the question was moot.

Have a feeling the numbers are going to mix again as the Oldsmobile franchise holders are going to have to find a new home.

Personally think the reason Olds got the axe was because it had almost every car model possible and Buick was down to four (doors) at a time when the general was trying to cut back on model proliferation. Or might just be that Flint is closer to Detroit than Lansing (and Pontiac is closer yet).

Only time will tell if the Solstice is a hit or a miss. Last time the general introduced a twenty grand two seater was the Reatta (and hope the lesson was learned about introducing a "sporty" car with insufficient power. Don't think the Reatta *ever* sold out in a model year and total production in four model years was only 20,000.)
 

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are we assuming that only 20K will be built? i dont know what the capacity of the plant is, but if GM is planning on also building the nomad and possibly 2 other kappa variants at the same plant, can we not assume an 80K car capacity? GM can be dumb, but if 40K people want a solstice, im sure they will build more.
 

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Can't consider the Solstice in a vacuum. Production depends on a lot of things and demand is only one (why the Jag SS is so rare).

Plant capacity and breakdowns, other car lines produced there, the demand for them. how long it takes the line to changeover, political clout of other divisions produciing cars there, availability of parts all come into play. Any of these could foul up production plans and have.

Still to a modern factory 20,000 or 30,000 is nothing once everything works. The real question is how many people will pay U$20k+ for an open 2 seater with a 4 cyl engine from Pontiac ?
 

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March 08 Automotive News, article by Dale Jewett about the Kappa:

Implied from the article and quotes from the chief engineer and the vehicle line executive was because of the way the body panels are formed (sheet hydroforming), the long cycle times limit the usage to niche vehicles in the volume of only 20,000 vehicles or so.

The low volume also limits risk on GM's part - if it completely fails, which it shouldn't, then they haven't lost gigantic amounts of volume and/or investment.

It was also implied that at a low volume, 4-5 year run, the tooling life allows lower investment (since the tools only have to run for 100,000 vehicles versus 500,000 to 1,000,000 vehicles).

I don't have the Automotive News magazine, and you have to subscribe online to get the article, but it was interesting, and supports why they are only saying volumes in the neighborhood of 20,000 or 30,000.

Remember, too, that bowling green is producing less than 70,000 vehicles per year (I don't know how many in actuality, but I'm sure some people on the CF know those volumes by heart).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well what is the 1.8L though? Is that the Ecotec? I don't know a whole lot about this late model motor. Everything I have gotten from it is a 1000 times better attempt of a performance 4-cy than the Quad Four HO ever was. Well the thing is it then are there 2 different motor choices then or what? Like I said I donm't even know the size of the ecotec or if there are different sizes of the ecotec. My thinking was if there are two different sizes, will I get more HP if I just the Supercharger on myself then the factor supercharger on this different or smaller motor? anyways I confused about it.
 

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padgett said:
The real question is how many people will pay U$20k+ for an open 2 seater with a 4 cyl engine from Pontiac ? [/B]
True the market for 2 seater sports cars is a small world. They are not practical so they only tend to be sold to young people as primary car or middle age or older people as 2nd car.

Here's the overall breakdown of sports cars from Forbes. If Solstice sells 20k units they'll be high on the list.

Model Units Sold 2003 Units Sold 2002
Nissan Z 36,728 13,253
Chevy Corvette 27,974 32,555
BMW Z4 20,182 10,490*
Ford Thunderbird 18,100 19,085
Mercedes SL 13,318 13,717
Mazda RX-8 12,346 new
Mazda Miata 10,920 14,392
Lexus SC430 10,298 14,462
Porsche 911 9,408 11,443
Honda S2000 7,888 9,684
Audi TT 7,880 9,513
Porsche Boxster 6,088 9,875
Mercedes SLK 6,023 7,784
Chrysler Crossfire 4,021 new
Toyota MR2 2,934 4,705
Jaguar XK 2,905 3,935
Dodge Viper 2,103 1,511
Chevy SSR 1,664 new
Cadillac XLR 875 new
Aston Martin 519 487
Acura NSX 221 233
*Combined sales of Z4 and predecessor Z3. Source: Automotive News
 

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Ah yes... but this is the sports car revolution! Everyone is wanting one nowadays. I think the SUV craze is declining a little - that or everyone that owns an SUV wants a sports car now. Look at the 350Z numbers. If the car boasts some cool styling and some power for the price - people will want them like crazy. I believe if the solstice was sold with a supercharger, it would sell like hotcakes. I am not sure how much a solstice will weigh, but it must be around 2700 lbs. Any heavier and we would have a serioius power to weight ratio problem. The car has the styling and the technology, it just needs some numbers on paper. I believe it will sell because of styling alone though. It would help alot for long term sales if the car would boast some HP though. I believe that is why the MR2 does not sell very well. The engine is just too weak for us Americans.

-Whit
 

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My question is really whether the American public is going to flock to a 4 cyl engine. Traditionally fours are associated with economy cars, not upscale ones. Around here I am seeing more MB 320s than 2.3Ks.

Overseas you have short distances (you can drive further in Florida than England), narrow roads, and high taxes on both engine size and gasoline. This led to very small high performance engines that often included engine overhaul instructions in the owners manual.

In the US we have long distances, roads designed to accomodate large vehicles, no taxes on engine size, and relatively cheap gasoline. This led to relatively large cars with large engines that turn slowly at highways speeds. Cars designed for making 9 hour Orlando to New Orleans trips or Detroit to Washington. Often.

Now the Ecotec has a lot going for it. At 307 lbs it is light. But GM had to put a lot of work into making it smooth. They did a good job, when I travel I prefer Aleros and Avis has a mix of 3400 and Ecotecs (for some odd reason I usually get Ecotecs in the mountains and 3400s in flatlands). Until you try to pass a truck on US1 in the Keys there is not much perceived difference.

But that is everything the Solstice is supposed to be about. Obviously there is a lot of politics going on in the background and while adding a supercharger does not require a redesign of the cradle and adds little weight so is a cheap (for the general) option, it is still a four, Something the Fiero was roasted about in 1984.

Now the Ecotec has almost double the hp of the Iron Duke, 30 hp more than the 2.8 V-6 so on paper (and this is what Pontiac is betting on) it should be "enough". That Pontiac also has a lot of experience with big powerful fours (300 hp 3.0 in the GTP Fiero) is a given but you can accept a lot from a racing engine that would not be in a passenger car.

Wonder if somewhere in Pontiac there is a plan to drop in a LA3 3.2 V-6. Power is nice: 220 hp/218 lb-ft but could not find a weight. And designed for RWD.
 

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True Americans tend to want more horsepower in sports cars (muscle cars). Typically roadsters do not need a ton of HP but have more more handling and feel of the road. Maybe this is why there aren't many American roadsters over the years.

I think GM is positioning the intro Solstice not as a muscle car but a roadster and will offer options later to make it a muscle car for those who want that.
 

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I think i have to agree with MCEB here. 4-cyl engines are almost synonomo.. synonymy... sy...

a standard part of the "traditional" roadster. Glaring exception is, of course, the corvette.

I thought the miata was originally supposed to be a japanese modern interpretation of the triumph http://www.bsmotoring.com/2002/02feb16_9.htm

That whole class of roadsters were almost all 4 cylinders as the standard. Arguably the most popular roadster in the world (half million according to some sources) the MGB was 4 cyl.

I think much bigger engines, unless designed for from the start, can really upset the balance of a vehicle. They may go like stink, but I would think they begin to loose that tossable, fun, thing that makes a roadster.

As I type, I'm wondering what the BMW Z4 feels like (the 6 cyl one).
 

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Have had a number of 4 cyl cars (MGA, BMW 2000A, Vega, Astre, Mazda 808, FIAT 124 spyder and 850 "Racer" & son has a GA with Quad-4) over the years but with the exeption of the 124, none of which I would want today.

Cars I have considered "sporty" were all either sixes or eights (was really dragged into 8's because there were no good American 6's for a long time after they stopped making the Corvair - have preferred GM cars for quite a while.

Smoothness is one thing though admit I have a hard time telling which engine is in a rental Alero in cruise, but I think that, for me, the real telling point is the ->sound<- of a healthy six such as a Jag with bananas or a Corvair with trombones. Is addictive in a way no 4 or 8 could be.

Guess that is the real reason I like a 6 and all the rest (easy to balance, even intake and exhaust pulses, easy to optimize the chamber for 87 PON) does not matter that much.
 

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I don't know padgett, I'd have to say that a nice healthy 8 is way more addictive than a 6. Shoot, my Camaro's (25 year old) V8 isn't all that healthy and I'd rather listen to it than I would any 6 cylinder. I don't have any problem with the Solstice having a 4 banger, to capture the traditional Roadster feeling that is just fine. I will miss the nice rumble of a V8 but the 4 banger will work just fine for the driving experience. (That's why I'm keeping the Camaro to restore and to pacify my hunger for the V8 roar.)
 

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Well I got a good friend who works at pontiac, I can squeeze some info from him, it does not sound like they will be in short supply because he told me he will call me as soon as one comes in. So I will see if I can dig up and extras. You mentioned supercharged first year how much?
 
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