Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

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Thread: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

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    Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    I raised this point in a another thread while I was listing GM's failings. I thought maybe if the Zeta platform had been used create a new GTO closer to the 1999 concept than the Monaro-based GTO (which wasn't all that bad a car, purists be darned), it could have sparked new life into Pontiac and along with the G8, formed an alliance with Holden (like what Buick has with Opel), and still allowed Pontiac to continue as a "volume" brand of sorts...I saw it something like this:

    -Zeta GTO (halo car)
    -Solstice (roadster/midrange "halo" car, think Fiero vs. Firebird)
    -Commodore/G8 (sport sedan)
    -Ute/G8 ST ("truck")
    -Caprice/Bonneville (luxury sedan)
    -G6 (midsize sedan/family car)
    -Vibe (crossover)

    Now, the G6 and Vibe might seem a bit out of place in that lineup, but they would've made good placeholder cars until GM/Pontiac could have come up with something in their segments more in keeping with the rest. It's not quite the most "balanced" range, but it does cover most of the bases - including trucks, which Pontiac never had as far as I remember. And it's mainly performance-oriented vehicles, so it stays in line with the idea that Pontiac was supposed to be GM's excitement brand.

    Plus, the extra money from American sales could've helped Holden out as well...given their current troubles, this is really sad to me.

    Yeah, I know hindsight's 20/20, beating a dead horse, no use in thinking about what might've been, etc...I just wanted to get this off my chest.

    Oh, and I will say that I'm one of the few that still believes Pontiac will return someday. Maybe not until the end of the decade or later, but someday. I can only hope by then GM will know better and treat the brand with the respect it deserves rather than just another wing of Chevrolet.
    Last edited by CivoLee; 11-14-2013 at 12:10 AM.

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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    I hear ya man...
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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    You mention the alliance between Holden/Pontiac, and the alliance between Opel/Buick. That Opel alliance used to be an Opel/Saturn alliance, and it was transferred to Buick. The Holden/Pontiac alliance has now been transferred to Chevy (Camaro and SS).

    I was a Pontiac customer. I've purchased over the years (new) 9 Firebirds, and 2 Grand Prixs, as well as an '05 GTO and an '09 G8. (plus a few Chevies in there too) I do prefer the image and styling Pontiac carried, I even greatly prefer my (previously) Pontiac dealership over my local Chevy dealer. My G8 is getting kind of old. But....whatcha gonna do? SS? I don't know...still needs work.
    Last edited by CaptainDan; 11-14-2013 at 08:20 AM.
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    No.

    Pontiac was doomed by a crap economy and bad recognition.


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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    Let's see if anything will be said which hasn't been said a million times before.......
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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    It's difficult to make a stand alone performance brand work. The market for performance vehicles may be high margin, but in Pontiac's dealers eyes, it would have been much lower volume, which would have meant much lower revenues for most. That's why performance brands are usually sub-brands that make use of an existing sales channel (SVT, SRT, V-Series, Camaro/Corvette/SS). I have a hard time imagining this line up creating enough volume to keep dealers happy. Suddenly, they 'd demand a bunch of non-performance cars at lower prices (G3/G5), and next thing you know, you've recreated old Pontiac.

    The reality is that within Chevy, you have a stronger performance line up than Pontiac had in decades (Camaro/Corvette/SS and variants). You have a world-class coupe, sports car and sports sedan running from mid $20K - just over $100K. Volume can vary because Chevy dealers aren't relying on these cars for their bread and butter - they are all high margin gravy. A much better business strategy, even if it leaves many nostalgic for GTOs and Firebirds.
    Last edited by Tone; 11-14-2013 at 10:34 AM.

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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrDenali View Post
    No.

    Pontiac was doomed by a crap economy and bad recognition.

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    In the 1960s GM owned almost half of the US auto market, all by itself, with 6 brands (Did I forget any?) - Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac.

    In the 1990s and 2000s they were losing market share and they had Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, plus Pontiac, Geo, Saab, Hummer, Saturn, Oldsmobile, plus portions of Suzuki, Isuzu, and Subaru. Barely half as much market share as they had in the 1960s, twice as many brands, and they were hemorrhaging money and market share for most of that time.

    I love the GTO. My parents had Pontiacs when I was a young kid. But the brands that were ruthlessly eating GM's breakfast for the past twenty years had fewer models, fewer engines, fewer brands, fewer dealerships. Pontiac has some outstanding products in its history, and the G8 was pretty widely reviewed as the best mainstream full size sedan GM ever built. But if Pontiac had to go, and the only way they should bring it back is if GM owns 30% of the US market again.

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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    2 things that could have saved Pontiac.

    1. Never have started Saturn

    2. No govt bailout

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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    No, it just would have made everything worse.

    Realize that the money spent on that car would have to be taken away from somewhere else. So Pontiac gets a GTO, but that means another program gets shorted. This has been GM's problem since they slipped below 30% market share.
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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    No... Pontiac (and "old" GM in general) was far beyond saving long before Zeta even existed. If GM had just a little vision and moxie during the 1980's, ALL of its brands would still be around today, in one form or another... Even Saturn. But they had no vision whatsoever. They allowed their vehicles to rot on the vine, all the while competitors who made more reliable vehicles: Toyota, Honda & Nissan; More luxurious vehicles: BMW & Mercedes Benz; all stole market share from them... And those foreign brands are not going to relinquish their shares now by making the same mistakes GM made then.

    Don't be fooled by believing that the creation of Saturn somehow hamstrung GM to a point where they could not invest in every other brand. That's an old wives' tale. GM still had very deep pockets in the 1980's & early 1990's. They simply chose to stand pat with their mainstream full-size, mid-size, and compact sedans & coupes... Their only investments were in the Corvette, Riviera/Aurora program, Cadillac NorthStar system and later in their SUV lines and OnStar... And wasting money on things like buying Saab...

    Their corporate thought process was: "They've (American car buyers) always bought our product, they'll continue to buy our product, regardless of what we build."
    They were wrong... Incredibly, inexplicably wrong... They continued to build sub par mainstream vehicles in the 1990's that were simply outclassed by the newer brands' offerings. They simultaneously put off many past buyers who suffered through less than stellar reliability, and opened the door for even more brands/competitors, Hyundai/Kia, Subaru, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, to chip away at the market.

    No car, even a reborn superstar GTO, was going to save Pontiac after corporate GM had cut its own throat many years before and bled out slowly...

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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    Oh, and I will say that I'm one of the few that still believes Pontiac will return someday. Maybe not until the end of the decade or later, but someday. I can only hope by then GM will know better and treat the brand with the respect it deserves rather than just another wing of Chevrolet.
    Amen, brother.

    I think they will be back in some fashion, some day. Niche brand, performance only, 1 or 2 vehicles that's it. Sounds like Akerson is on his way out soon, so that is a good start. Mark Reuss could be the one to start the ball rolling, but it won't be until at least 2020 I'd guess.
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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    By 2000, GM was losing $3000 on every Saturn it retailed. The original $5 billion it invested in Saturn was money that couldn't be invested in other manufacturers (like Pontiac). It was the reason GM ran 4 speed automatics while everyone else moved on to 5/6speed autos sooner, OHC engines, ect. Saturn never made GM one single penny. Anyone can buy business, but that doesn't keep you in business.

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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCritical View Post
    By 2000, GM was losing $3000 on every Saturn it retailed. The original $5 billion it invested in Saturn was money that couldn't be invested in other manufacturers (like Pontiac). It was the reason GM ran 4 speed automatics while everyone else moved on to 5/6speed autos sooner, OHC engines, ect. Saturn never made GM one single penny. Anyone can buy business, but that doesn't keep you in business.
    Saturn was turning a profit until its own funding was cut. The story of Saturn cutting into Chevy's small car market, showing how they could turn a profit with unique cars, chassis, and engines was pissing the rest of the brands off. Chevy put a stop to that, seriously hurting Saturn's ability to come out with proper second generation stuff.

    One could argue that GM should have cut Pontiac (a money loser) to save Saturn (a profitable and different experience at GM).

    I'd much rather have Saturn, Hummer, or Saab come back over Pontiac. Pontiac offers zero difference over Chevrolet while the three aforementioned brands offered something Chevrolet never could dream of.
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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    Zeta GTO was cancelled, Zeta Camaro lived on (but delayed IIRC). There is a reason for that...Pontiac had been a dead man walking for a while.
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    Re: Could a Zeta GTO (instead of Camaro) have saved Pontiac?

    GM couldn't decide if Pontiac was to be a youth brand or a performance brand. Chevrolet can carry the performance side. It's been the only top to bottom performance brand GM has ever had. It was named after a racecar driver after all.

    GM has work to do on the youth side of things. Sonic and Spark are good starts but the Cruze needs to fulfill it's potential.

    Honestly, Pontiac had lost it's soul a long time ago, long before Zeta was ever developed.

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