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An article in the business section of the Philadelphia Inquirer indicated that the GM plant in Wilmington, DE is building 100 preproduction modles of the Solstice to check out any mechanical, fit, manufacturing, etc. problems. These 100 units will be driven as test cars then crushed or crashed for TV/movie scenes. There was no indication of when actual consumer production will start. The article did discuss Pontiac's knack of lost timing in the fact that the public will not gt their cars until after the Northeast top down season. They indicated that Pontiac wants to make sure that there are no quality issues as they are counting on Solstice to bring a lot of shine back to the Pontiac marque. Even if they are not going to buy a Solstice, they expect the public to geo to the showrooms to see what all the hype is about, and then buy a different Pontiac.

By the way, I am a confirmed first 1000 order holder. I got the tantalizing email, but have gotten nothing in the mail from Pontiac. No poster, no hat, no nothin'.
 

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susies_boy said:
An article in the business section of the Philadelphia Inquirer indicated that the GM plant in Wilmington, DE is building 100 preproduction modles of the Solstice to check out any mechanical, fit, manufacturing, etc. problems. These 100 units will be driven as test cars then crushed or crashed for TV/movie scenes. There was no indication of when actual consumer production will start. The article did discuss Pontiac's knack of lost timing in the fact that the public will not gt their cars until after the Northeast top down season. They indicated that Pontiac wants to make sure that there are no quality issues as they are counting on Solstice to bring a lot of shine back to the Pontiac marque. Even if they are not going to buy a Solstice, they expect the public to geo to the showrooms to see what all the hype is about, and then buy a different Pontiac.

By the way, I am a confirmed first 1000 order holder. I got the tantalizing email, but have gotten nothing in the mail from Pontiac. No poster, no hat, no nothin'.
:willy: I wonder if the cars we have been seeing are part of the 100 or if there is more than one batch of preproduction models? :willy:
 

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Hopefully these are the last of the pre-production models and the first 1000 will be coming off the assembly line soon and to us! I can't, but will, wait! :)
 

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Great, coming to a theater near you. Maybe they will use the Solstice in a new Bond movie, they must got through lots of vehicles and the Solsti are about 10 times cheaper than an Aston Martin Vanquish.
 

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susies_boy said:
These 100 units will be driven as test cars then crushed or crashed for TV/movie scenes.
:cryin:
We may see Solsti getting mangled in movies before we get ours. At least the ones built strictly for crash tests had a purpose to die for.
 

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susies_boy said:
.........crashed for TV/movie scenes.
They are making another "Lethal Weapon" movie?




(Insert interesting Lethal Weapon/Pontiac Story ;) )

Several years ago, had a yound woman come in an ask for a Grand Am just like the one in the movie. Of course I said no problem, will get you one before the week is over. As soon as work ended, drove straight to Blockbuster to rent the movie to see what I had just sold. :lol:
 

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Here's the article:
http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/business/11815953.htm

Trying to get GM back in gear

Executives can expect an earful at the automaker's annual meeting this week.

By Akweli Parker

Inquirer Staff Writer

At General Motors Corp.'s Wilmington assembly plant, workers are busy churning out nearly 100 preproduction versions of Pontiac's curvaceous new two-seater, the Solstice.

But they are only practice models - most will be destroyed at the crusher, or perhaps in movies, after testing. Street-legal versions are not expected in dealer showrooms until September or October, long after prime time for a warm-weather convertible has passed.

The Johnny-come-lately rollout embodies both the promise and the perils that lurk for GM as it struggles with competition, labor issues and unfortunate timing in an attempt to right itself.

At the company's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday in Wilmington, chief executive officer Rick Wagoner can expect to hear investors' gripes about GM's sales declines and the recent reduction of its credit rating to "junk" status. Management, however, can point to some coming improvements - among them, the Solstice and its forthcoming Saturn cousin, the Sky - plus GM's No. 2 ranking (behind only Toyota) in J.D. Powers' latest initial-quality study as evidence that a turnaround is at hand.

"They are already making midstream changes that are smart," said Jean Jennings, editor in chief of Automobile magazine. "I say give them a little breathing room to get their ducks in a row."

One hopeful sign, she said, is a brand restructuring that clearly positions Cadillac at the top, Chevrolet as its entry-level brand, and Saturn - once a quirky, economy nameplate - right beneath Cadillac as a "premium" brand.

Plus, there's GM's forthcoming line of smaller, "crossover" SUVs, a category gaining in popularity as high gasoline prices have sent sales of large SUVs plummeting.

"There is a lot of good news that will take a long time to get out," Jennings said.

Up to now, the news has not been good at all. GM lost $1.1 billion in the first quarter this year, and sales dropped 13 percent last month. GM's U.S. market share has eroded to 25.4 percent, from 27 percent a year ago. On Friday, the company said it would recall 300,000 Saturn L series cars because of problems with brake and tail lights.

And crucially, GM needs overhauling throughout its business to restore the company to good health.

One Hummer-size issue not likely to be resolved soon: GM's tug of war with the United Auto Workers to trim health-care costs through concessions in the UAW contract, even though it does not expire until 2007.

GM said it expected to pay $5 billion in health-care costs in 2005, up about $1 billion from the previous year.

"GM has negotiated itself into employee and retiree benefits it thinks it can't afford anymore," said Howard Flaxman, cochair of Fox Rothschild L.L.P.'s labor and employment law department in Philadelphia.

Whether the UAW gives in on anything, especially with so much of the clock left on the contract, depends on how dire the union thinks GM's situation is, Flaxman said.

"The union would be skeptical, short of some type of closure or bankruptcy," Flaxman said. And despite GM's junk credit rating, no one is talking about bankruptcy.

While industry observers say the Solstice and Sky by themselves cannot turn GM around, they can certainly help make people more passionate about its products.

At Pontiac, the company whose slogan was once "We Build Excitement," people are genuinely excited about the Solstice, which is seen both inside and outside the company as a possibly brand-transforming car.

The division could use a boost, as rumors circulated earlier this year that Pontiac, along with GM's laggardly Buick division, might disappear if sales did not improve.

Thursday, GM said it would significantly pare back the models offered by Pontiac, Buick and GMC to eliminate duplication and allow each brand to more firmly establish an identity: for Pontiac, affordable performance; GMC, rugged and durable trucks; and for Buick, class and sophistication.

Michael G. Cherenson, vice president of Cherenson Group, a Livingston, N.J., public relations and marketing firm, said GM had the right idea with the $20,000 Solstice, which he said was "hot" and could serve as Pontiac's flagship. GM executives, he said, should be telling themselves, "We need to make people feel good about driving."

GM stoked consumer demand by featuring the car on NBC's The Apprentice in April. Viewers had a chance to sign up online to buy the first 1,000 limited-edition Solstices.

The reserved slots went in 41 minutes, and more than 7,000 additional people have made deposits; they will get cars before the general public can buy one at a dealer.

"It's been heartening to have the kind of response we had," said Jim Hopson, a Pontiac spokesman. But for now, the company is trying to manage consumer expectations, in part by telling dealers not to promise any Solstices to people who walk in the showroom.

"Without dulling people's enthusiasm, we don't want them to get overexcited," Hopson said. "We got concerned people may get the wrong impression - that you can walk into a dealership in August and have 12 of these things to choose from."

The preproduction runs in Wilmington are meant to work out any kinks in the cars or the building process that could sink the car's reputation when it hits the street.

"The last thing General Motors needs right now is to bring out a car before it's ready to be brought out," said Jennings, of Automobile magazine.

"Their whole rejuvenation, their salvation, is in product" - that is, making new cars that people like.
 

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Solstice write-up in the Sunday Philly Inquirer

Philly Inquirer this Sunday (6/6) had a front page write up on the business section about the Solstice and Pontiac.

Gist of the article? GM is placing a lot of chips on the Solstice bet and the production delays are a sign that Pontiac is a bit punchy about making sure the car goes off w/o a hitch. Also talked about the pre-production cars that are out their now at various proving grounds and road tests...all destined for the crusher. Kind of a waste.

There was verbiage about the first 1000 buyers and the Apprentice promos. Also discussion about how Saturn was a premium brand...uh, wtf? Are they serious? I always viewed Saturn as just another econo-class. That and Buick was listed as the Premium/Elite line. Sorry, they better overhaul their branding efforts because to me Buick is, has been, and continues to be the old folks car line.

My own inference from the article was this: if the Solstice is a flop in terms of sales, Pontiac is going to be in a lot of trouble and a world of hurt.
 

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I've merged the 2 and renamed the thread so it's clearer.

Matt123,
Also discussion about how Saturn was a premium brand...uh, wtf? Are they serious? I always viewed Saturn as just another econo-class.
Yup, it's part of the reorganization of GM's brands. Saturn will be more of an upscale Euro-fighter I think.

if the Solstice is a flop in terms of sales, Pontiac is going to be in a lot of trouble and a world of hurt.
Given they have sold out first year they are off to a good start. Money-wise, Solstice isn't going to save or kill GM because it's very low volume car but PR-wise it has to succeed as part of the turn-around.
 
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