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Here is a link to an article the talks about GMs strategy in the upcoming years and how the company is going to change the way sales are done a bit. It looks like Pontiac and Buick are going to stick around for a while. Good thing, because I don't want the Sol to go anywhere.

http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0505/19/A01-187008.htm
 

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Its nice for GM to spell out a strategy and promise all kinds of improvements. Lets see if 1: Pull it off, 2: stick to it, and 3: be successful with it. I hope they can! :)
 

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brentil said:
As I've said before, I think the Buick+Pontiac+GMC merger would be a really good idea.
I like the overall focus too. The combination of the 3 allows each to specialize but still provide a higher level multi-brand umbrella.
 

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mceb said:
I like the overall focus too. The combination of the 3 allows each to specialize but still provide a higher level multi-brand umbrella.
Because I mean really, who the hell can take Ponitac seriously as the performance brand when they sell SUV's and rebranded Toyotas? Personally the Grand Am, Grand Prix, and Bonneville never exuded performance to me at all either. All three of them looked like horrid body side cladding mistakes, with very lame excuses for 'performance' tail pipes. Those odd funel shaped things that were usually fake? I know a lot of people like Pontiac, but until the new GTO, G6, and primarily the Solstice; Pontiac has NEVER been a brand I would have considered even if it was given to me for free.
 

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brentil said:
Because I mean really, who the hell can take Ponitac seriously as the performance brand when they sell SUV's and rebranded Toyotas? Personally the Grand Am, Grand Prix, and Bonneville never exuded performance to me at all either. All three of them looked like horrid body side cladding mistakes, with very lame excuses for 'performance' tail pipes. Those odd funel shaped things that were usually fake? I know a lot of people like Pontiac, but until the new GTO, G6, and primarily the Solstice; Pontiac has NEVER been a brand I would have considered even if it was given to me for free.
What you said makes a ton of sense, and to a very large degree I do agree. However, I think there could be a lot of debate on exactly what a Pontiac should be. Its always referred to as the “performance” brand, which is a pretty broad category. First off they need a working definition of performance. Does that mean up-rated engines? Does it mean better handling? Does it mean performance looking styling? Does it mean performance sedans, or just sports cars? Sporty cars? Sporty SUVs’?? If sporty SUV’s, then on road sporty, off road sporty? Etc Etc. (Those are rhetorical BTW) :)

Some of the answers must dictate where the brand goes, but the trick is to do it without turning your back on your loyal buyers. I believe in 15 years, brand loyalty will be gone with buyers, but until then you still don’t want to run off loyal Pontiac buyers who would never consider a different GM brand (yes, they are out there and they buy a lot of otherwise lackluster Pontiacs!).

I have a feeling those loyal buyers are more interested in having a car that appears “sporty” but drives more like a typical, comfortable sedan. Think Chevy sedan with exciting/different styling. Then there are the buyers GM wants who buy low end Acuras and BMW’s, Nissans, who want a car that is a lot of fun to drive and performs very well, but also doesn’t break the bank and is very functional.

It’s a balancing act of trying to still be all things to all people, but not look like that is what your really doing.
 

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The problem is I think they're still mixing the signals they're trying to send. Ok the GTO and the Solstice are either [1] higher performance from power or [2] higher performance from handling. Both of these cars come across showing Pontiac as a 'performance' brand to me. I like the G6, but it's defintely not a performance anything in my mind. The 3900 engine will give it some better 'performance' numbers, but it's still not a 'performance' car. It come across as a mid sized, mid class, sedan (or coupe) to me.

If everyone still currently thinks of Pontiac as the performance brand, I think they need to capitolize on that, and try to resurect it in the eyes of the current generations. Every model should have a GXP. GTO GXP, Solstice GXP, G6 GXP. Drop the SUVs, MiniVans, and 'luxury' performance Bonneville. As I said the Vibe is in the wrong division, and the Grand Am/Prix should be voted off the island. Bring a GXP epsilon car in for the compact import fighter. Give Pontiac "a new face, a new body, and a new soul." Something the current generation can look at and like visual, and desire for it's performance. If they can't afford the GXP they'll still be drawn to the brand by desire, and get the base model in hopes of one day having the real thing, or upgrading the base to be like the GXP.

I really feel been counting via badge engineering across all the lines has been part of the cancer that has eaten up the souls of Pontiac and Buick. These brands thrived due to what they were before all the branches were brought in. Then they were made to play nice and share. All it left was an illusion of Buick luxury and Pontiac performance. It's not there anymore, and the lines are starting to show their age. However I think GM is moving in the right direction recently though. I'm just afraid they wont commit 110% to it though. They'll make these nice Solsti, GTOs, and G6s but then throw in another new MiniVan or god forbid the Pontiac pickup truck or some crap. To be succesful they have to make sure anyone who sees any one of their vehicles will know there's a performance version, and it should be recognizable on site as being different from the normal base cars too.
 

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brentil said:
The problem is I think they're still mixing the signals they're trying to send. Ok the GTO and the Solstice are either [1] higher performance from power or [2] higher performance from handling. Both of these cars come across showing Pontiac as a 'performance' brand to me. I like the G6, but it's defintely not a performance anything in my mind. The 3900 engine will give it some better 'performance' numbers, but it's still not a 'performance' car. It come across as a mid sized, mid class, sedan (or coupe) to me.

If everyone still currently thinks of Pontiac as the performance brand, I think they need to capitolize on that, and try to resurect it in the eyes of the current generations. Every model should have a GXP. GTO GXP, Solstice GXP, G6 GXP. Drop the SUVs, MiniVans, and 'luxury' performance Bonneville. As I said the Vibe is in the wrong division, and the Grand Am/Prix should be voted off the island. Bring a GXP epsilon car in for the compact import fighter. Give Pontiac "a new face, a new body, and a new soul." Something the current generation can look at and like visual, and desire for it's performance. If they can't afford the GXP they'll still be drawn to the brand by desire, and get the base model in hopes of one day having the real thing, or upgrading the base to be like the GXP.

I really feel been counting via badge engineering across all the lines has been part of the cancer that has eaten up the souls of Pontiac and Buick. These brands thrived due to what they were before all the branches were brought in. Then they were made to play nice and share. All it left was an illusion of Buick luxury and Pontiac performance. It's not there anymore, and the lines are starting to show their age. However I think GM is moving in the right direction recently though. I'm just afraid they wont commit 110% to it though. They'll make these nice Solsti, GTOs, and G6s but then throw in another new MiniVan or god forbid the Pontiac pickup truck or some crap. To be succesful they have to make sure anyone who sees any one of their vehicles will know there's a performance version, and it should be recognizable on site as being different from the normal base cars too.

Brentil- AMEN!!... :agree: :agree: :agree:
 

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I see your points Brentil, and for the most part agree. However, those bread and butter Pontiacs have been there for a long time too. Cars like the regular G6 are what give the division its volume. GM has been kind enough to let some niche vehicles on the market, such as the Solstice, GTO, and SSR. However, they are still going to look for volume sales from most models, and you need some affordable, bread and butter cars to do it.

I also agree that a GXP should be standard across all lines at the division, and I think they are on their way. G6, Grand Prix, and Solstice will have it. GTO doesn't really need it, but a LS7 "Judge" would be nice. The Torrent I could live without, but maybe they could use a crossover similar to the Cadillac SRX, with really good handling and a powerful engine. BMW can get away with the X5, so Pontiac could make a sporty crossover SUV work too. But the Theta platform just doesn't seem up to the task.

There could be room for even the Vibe. However, I'd find a way to squeeze the supercharged ecotec under the hood instead of the Celica GTS buzz-bom of a motor that is in the GT right now. Its a good handling sport wagon, but that engine is just annoying! (At least in my opinion!)
 

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mceb said:
I like the overall focus too. The combination of the 3 allows each to specialize but still provide a higher level multi-brand umbrella.

In most markets, Buick-Pontiac-GMC are already combined under one dealership. It doesn't make alot of marketing sense for Buick to have a varient of the same SUV that is offered by the same dealer rebadged as a GMC. Dido for vans etc. I like the idea of dropping model dupilcation it will give a greater identity to each nameplate.
 

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I can fully agree with the each model have a GXP version. Or GTP. As it is now there are GTP versions of G6 and GP, the folly is that you can get the "look" of a GTP in a base model. The GTP or GXP has to stand out and that's where the new GP GXP falls flat. Sure the V8 and wider track than ordinary GP make it special but where is the cold-air-induction hood or really aggressive front end to say "hey, there's only 1999 other cars like me out there" Of courxe then to complete the performance image there needs to be GTP or GXP versions of Vibe (GT now), and Solstice. It's like Chevy with SS. SuperSport means something more than a SUnday driver unless you drive Sunday's at Thompsons' in Ohio (drag races). Eventually every HOT Chevy will come in an SS flavor. Should be similar for Pontiac.
 

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PAS22 said:
In most markets, Buick-Pontiac-GMC are already combined under one dealership.
Wonder how they'll handle the stand-alone dealerships? Will they still have just Pontiac or Buick only dealers? Will the specialization help or hurt stand-alone guys?
 

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Standalones

mceb said:
Wonder how they'll handle the stand-alone dealerships? Will they still have just Pontiac or Buick only dealers? Will the specialization help or hurt stand-alone guys?
My bet is the standalone guys (Pontiac, Buick, GMC) will eventually pick up one or both of the other two lines. Although it could be argued that a standalone Pontiac dealer is gonna do pretty well for himself the next couple of years, as long as he can keep Solstices in stock! :D
 

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solsticeman said:
This begs the question of whether it is really appropriate for Saturn to get a Sky.
Does EVERY division need a Kappa?
Good point, kind of like there they go again. Kappa really belongs in the performance class which they've defined as Pontiac.
 

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solsticeman said:
This begs the question of whether it is really appropriate for Saturn to get a Sky.

Does EVERY division need a Kappa?
It would be interesting if they followed up on this, to what would happen in the Sky forum :lol: :lol: :lol: As my signiture denotes Hmmmmmm :cool:
 

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bigjon

The problem with all of GM except maybe for Cadillac is old technology. As long as bean counters run the company and car guys are pushed to the back, they will continue to define performance as cladding and scoops aka the Grand Am.

GM has several good engines, but refuses to put them in the "cheaper - high volume" cars. Even the cheapest rice burners have multi valve/overhead cam engines. The 3800 series engine dates back to the 60's and no amount of tweeking can make it a hi tech motor.

Gm needs to bite the bullet like Nissan finally did and produce cars people want. Solstice is a great start.
 

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Pontiac has NEVER been a brand I would have considered even if it was given to me for free. brentil
For years I've thought of Pontiac as dead in the water, and Buick/ Oldsmobile as boring but stable. (No offense to anyone out there) I found better design/performance in a Nissan Altima. From what a dealer told me, the bulk of America buys these cars. Millions sold as opposed to 160,000 nationwide for Volvos. There's anti-foreign mentality in this great land and I think it reflects in car sales. Not to mention most average joes aren't really car enthusiasts and wouldn't know how to change their oil, let alone check their air pressure. If the Grand Am is their grand design, let them eat cake.
 

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Fformula88 said:
I see your points Brentil, and for the most part agree. However, those bread and butter Pontiacs have been there for a long time too. Cars like the regular G6 are what give the division its volume. GM has been kind enough to let some niche vehicles on the market, such as the Solstice, GTO, and SSR. However, they are still going to look for volume sales from most models, and you need some affordable, bread and butter cars to do it.
Sorry, I'm not saying get rid of the bread and butter versions of them. I'm all for having the base, mass produced model. I know it's where the majority of the money really comes from. However you're not going to win over new customers, and bring in the repeats with a soulless dieing brand.

However I feel every single Pontiac should have a GXP. Give each model a high 'performance' GXP either it be from power or handling. It's the whole Catch 22 thing. You can't bring in the real interest without a performance model, and you can't support the performance model without the mass made vehicle to keep it funded.

[Warning long post ahead]
I wrote this up last night, but didn’t get to post it till today. Was thinking about it and felt kind of motivated about this so I got a little long winded and wrote up the following. I'm not saying people have to agree with this, or this is how it should be, it's just how I see it. I don't have inside sources, I don't have all the information a Exec would, and I'm definitely not qualified to make these decisions from an experience level. But this is an open forum, and I felt like sharing something that actually got me really thinking and active.

  • Grand Prix – kill off or redesign. Performance large sedan seems to be where you can make a lot of money, but it needs to stay out of Buicks luxury large sedan. The Zeta based G8 could have been this car, but w all know it’s been axed. Zeta Light might fit the bill eventually. The Grand Prix to me kind of symbolizes the soulless ‘performance’ Pontiac. I just can’t stand the looks of the car, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single person rave about it being that good of a performer or handler. Yes I’ve heard people here on the forums say they love it, but before here [where we’re Pontiac biased] I’ve heard zero positive comments about the Grand Prix or Grand Am.
  • Grand Am – being killed off, replaced by G6. This car also is showing its age to me design wise. When I see these on the road along with the Grand Prix, it rally makes me wonder who buys them?
  • Vibe – kill off, if you really need a ‘performance’ hatch back the G6 is supposedly riding the MAXX platform already [from what I’ve read, it might be wrong], it would take time but a possible Pontiac MAXX could be made or a G6 variant. I think it’s a reliance on Toyota that isn’t needed, for a model I feel is in the wrong branch.
  • Sunfire – being killed off, replace with Pursuit|G4. A performance brand has to have a cheaper model to let people work their way into the brand. I know the philosophy I’ve read before was to start in Chevy/Pontiac move up to Olds->Buick->retire in Cady. But now they’re trying to sell Cady’s and Buicks to younger and younger people. But now it seems more like they’re trying to hook people on individual brands instead. I mean really, if you’ve got teens hooked on Cady where do they move up to? So lines need a low end, several mid ranges, and high end to move up to. Which is where a G8 would come in. The G4 is a decent looking car. It would come in at a time where GM has fixed a lot of issues on this platform through the ION and Cobalt, and would benefit from the high performance work being done on those two. Pontiac could deliver a very nice car that’s got some history with a GXP model at the same time.
  • Montana – kill off, let GMC fill the gap. ‘Performance’ SUVs??? Performance trucks maybe, but I don’t know… performance SUV just makes me sick.
  • Aztek – kill off, enough said.
  • Bonneville – kill off, let Buick fill the gap for mid class luxury/performance they are supposed to be the BMW fighters from what everyone keeps saying. That might not be GM’s intentions but that’s the image it’s gotten. Even if it doesn’t do it well yet.
That leads to these three cars left;
  • G6 – It’s got sedan, coupe, and convertible version. It’ll have three engine variants soon. Low cost 2.4L VVT, the 3500, and the 3900 HO. Looks like it’ll be a really nice complete line in its own. As I’ve said though it needs a GXP eventually.
  • Solstice – The reason we’re all here. :D I think this car is a very powerful move forward for Pontiac, and a step to revitalizing their soul. As above it needs a GXP version to complete the performance image, to compete against other brands, and to make it stand out. It needs to differ some how from the Sky RL though besides facia and leather choices. Saturn is not the performance brand, it’s supposed to be the “Between Chevy and Buick” brand. Give the GXP sport suspensions and other grass roots racing technologies that the Sky seems it’s going to be missing.
  • GTO – Since I’m in the mid 20’s crowd I never lived in the age of the “real” GTO as people are saying. I hate to brake it to everyone, this might not be “your” GTO, but it’s still the real modern GTO for now. Was supposedly going to get redone on Zeta, but I mentioned Zeta already. Right now it’s just a Mustang GT competitor that’s priced more then the GT and looses in reviews ONLY because of it’s looks. It should still have a GXP version though. Not the LS7 however, that’s the Z06’s thing. I feel the Corvette should have at least one special engine in it’s lineup since the LS2 has been whored out. Maybe a tuned LS2 or some sort of Supercharged/Turbocharged variant.
That leaves what’s missing;
  • Pursuit|G4 – As I said above this could be a very nice car in Pontiac’s line now. A lot of issues have been solved, and the platform has been getting good praise.
  • Firebird – Do they need it, can they survive without it? With the GTO now do they really need the Firebird back? If Zeta had lived people were saying it would have been the new Camaro which we all know was in essence the Firebird too. BUT the newer GTO was going to be Zeta too. Can one line support two RWD 2+2 cars on the same platform just by having different skins? Probably not. I think it’s better to focus on one, offer low|mid|high versions of it. It just looks like Pontiac has chosen the GTO over the Firebird for now at least.
  • G8 – I’ve talked about this above. It was a Zeta car, and Zeta is dead for now. But I still think the line needs a high performance large sedan. There’s nothing left but old platforms to use unless they steal from Cady. I’m not thinking that’s going to happen though. I would have to have more real inside info to make a decision here.
What I feel GXP should mean. In ‘my vision’ of Pontiac every car has a GXP. It needs to be something more powerful, sportier by other means then power, or both. These need to be cars that make people aspire to own them, and when they can’t they want the base instead to be a part of that car anyways. [Mustang V6 and Mustang GT are really the best example.] There should be a standard GXP badge, like the Cady V series logo, used on every model. It needs to be visually different to the point that a person looking at them from a distance KNOWS it’s a GXP even if they can’t see the GXP badge. This could be specifically styled wings, fascia elements, brake outlets/inlets, hood scoops, wheel designs, hood bulges, etc etc etc. The would have any number of details that would be carried across all GXP cars. I’d rather want people to have a harder time differentiating the G6 GXP from the G4 GXP then the Base G4 from the G4 GXP. If they see one of these performance cars they KNOW what it is, and what it means.

[/Warning long post]
 
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