Pontiac: Slouching Towards Brummagem, or headed for the Promised Land?

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Thread: Pontiac: Slouching Towards Brummagem, or headed for the Promised Land?

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    GMI Contributor Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    Pontiac: Slouching Towards Brummagem, or headed for the Promised Land?

    Pontiac: Slouching Towards Brummagem, or headed for the Promised Land?
    GMInsidenews.com
    Editorial by Ming

    Is Pontiac slipping into becoming nothing more than the car equivalent of GMC, a brand full of Chevrolet Truck clones but with the catchy marketing phrases like "Professional Grade" to set it apart? Is Pontiac's "Total Performance" car lineup of tomorrow based on twin-port grilles? Is GM trading real development dollars for 1980's style Badge Engineering?

    Or, are recent efforts like the GTO, Bonneville GXP, Solstice and G6 enough to keep Pontiac different and fresh , despite the wholesale rebadged Torrent and Montana SV6?

    While the GXP lineup shines as a ray of hope, a look at some of Pontiac's current and upcoming vehicles make one wonder:

    1. Montana SV6: An out & out Chevrolet Uplander clone with a Pontiac grille and some other minor rebadging touches. Orange/red dash lighting a noticeable difference.
    2. Torrent: From what we know of it so far, it looks to be every bit as much of a clone (of the Chevrolet Equinox) as the Montana SV6. Same powertrain, same basic sheetmetal from the Pontiac grille back, same Chinese-made, last-generation engine as the "all new" (ahem) 'Nox.
    3. Grand Prix: The FWD V8 GXP idea sounds great, and different from Chevy at first glance, but haven't I read about the Chevrolet Impala preparing to do the same? Still, this car looks to be reasonably differentiated from its GM platform-mates.
    4. Bonneville: The GXP engine idea was great - perhaps THE significant improvement and differentiator in a Pontiac within the last few years. But with the same basic interior from its 2000 debut, the Bonneville can't help but show its age, and where GM skimped. And its future is uncertain. Let's hope that it sells, and encourages further investment like this from GM.
    5. GTO: A rebadged Holden Monaro, yes, but since we don't get any other Holdens in the U.S., this is a VERY good thing. And what a great driving experience. Sure, the jellybean styling, pleasing to Bob Lutz and his Cunningham tastes, looks dated compared to the newer Holden VZ Commodore (from which it would do well to consider borrowing a few styling tweaks). But with the GTO's lackluster sales so far, this might not matter in the end, and one has to wonder if we will lose this icon for originality in Pontiac's lineup when Zeta comes along.
    6. Grand Am / Sunfire: Extremely outdated by the competition, lets hope these rental fleet favorites, and platform mates of the Chevy Malibu and Chevrolet Cavalier don't last much longer. Not immediately obvious or blatant rebadges of Chevrolets, the Sunfire and Grand Am had their own unique interiors (at least by 2003 on the Sunfire) and exteriors, and things like Ram Air helped the Grand Am differentiate itself even more from the Malibu. The Sunfire had its days of turbo engines and unique interiors, only becoming an obvious clone to the Cavalier in the mid to late 1990's. Regardless, these two are on their way out.
    7. Aztek: Very different, and "look where that got us!", asks GM. The styling of this vehicle aside, GM cut corners on other essential things like the lackluster engine, hoping no one would notice, and hoping young Internet-saavy people would buy. Bad move. An unattractive vehicle powered by a minivan lump of an engine can't cut it, even with a versatile interior. Made for excellent rebates and fire-sale deals, though. Let's hope this one goes bye-bye soon.
    8. Vibe: WIth all of its parts essentially Toyota (even sold in identical form in Japan as the Toyota Voltz), as a GM fan, its hard to get excited about this vehicle, even if it deserves it.
    9. G6: The exception to the rule. Pontiac's own GMC Envoy XUV. The G6 is a great effort for Pontiac that doesn't at all resemble the Malibu, inside or out. With the promise of a great 3900 engine and the absolutely essential addition of a 6-speed manual transmission, the G6 is the car Pontiac should have been selling for the last 5 years, while hopped-up FWD cars were all the rage.
    10. Solstice: This car embodies the promises of Pontiac to deliver driving excitement. No, its not a rude, crude, fire-snorting V8 with leaf springs in the rear - but the modern interpretation of a 1960's British Roadster, or a classic Porsche Spyder. It's a driver's car, pure and simple, and one to be enjoyed without the roller coaster rush of a massive engine. It's a different kind of excitement than what the GTO delivers, and rounds out the Pontiac performance portfolio.

    It's tough to draw a conclusion from the above for what the future holds for Pontiac.

    And it's hard to remain optimistic when Pontiac-GMC's general manager says this about the apparent Chevrolet Equinox clone, the Pontiac Torrent:

    "The Torrent represents a new dimension of Pontiac's commitment to 'total performance'" said Jim Bunnell, Pontiac-GMC general manager. "Along with a spirited powertrain and a crisp handling package rarely seen in a compact SUV," Source: http://money.cnn.com/2004/10/29/pf/a...ntiac_torrent/

    Who does Jim Bunnel think he's fooling? How is making an exact clone of the Equinox in any way a "commitment to total performance" for Pontiac? If that's his idea of "commitment" I'd hate to see what he considers a compromise! How is the engine that debuted in Pontiac's 1996 Trans Sport Minivan in any way part of a credible "spirited powertrain"? The Saturn VUE Redline might fit that description, but from what we've seen of the Torrent, it falls far short of that mark.

    In a Wards Auto World article earlier this year Bob Lutz was quoted as saying:

    "The Pontiac brand has been in decline because it hasn't been properly nourished over the years with exciting products," admits Lutz, noting that the Pontiac Aztek cross/utility vehicle and Montana minivan hardly create excitement. Souce: http://waw.wardsauto.com/ar/auto_judge_gto/

    And the Torrent does? Perhaps Bob was taking a vacation in Europe when the Torrent clone was approved, along with the twin sister of the Uplander, the Montana SV6.

    It makes one wonder if Bob Lutz had to trade his soul to the Corporate Devil for the chance to produce the Solstice.

    And if so, was that a bad thing? Is a trade off acceptable?

    If the benefit of picking up a couple of rebadged Chevrolets (Montana, Torrent) is the result of being able to produce the Pontiac Solstice, import the GTO, and put out more "GXP" versions of Pontiacs, is the trade-off worth it?

    I would say yes, but only if things are carefully managed with the following:

    1. Pontiac cannot give away its Solstice in a mildly repackaged form to Chevy or Saturn within the first 2 years of production.
    2. Pontiac must limit its obvious rebadges to the Torrent and the Montana alone.
    3. Pontiac must continue to release GXP models for most of its lineup, as promised years ago. One model every 2 years while phasing out the previous one won't cut it.
    4. GXP must not become synonymous with Chevrolet's "SS" - in other words, if they make a Torrent GXP, they can't have a complete clone version Equinox SS at Chevy. Since the sheetmetal is different, they COULD do a GXP Torrent with platform-mate Saturn VUE Redline's powertrain, though its Honda roots would make me shed a tear. In other words, GXP must be uniquely Pontiac, even if it means digging in to the GM parts bin and mixing it up a bit.
    5. GXP should not be primarily used as an attempt to bolster sales of an aging Pontiac model. It should be aspirational, and that can't be fully realized with a 4 or 5-year old interior (Bonneville GXP). A GXP model should arrive 1 or 2 years tops after a redesigned vehicle is introduced.

    Of course, the optimum choice for Pontiac and the Torrent would be to take the Saturn VUE Redline's stance and handling, and give it the more powerful, modern 3500 engine with a little Ram Air boost for kicks, and take the Montana SV6 and give it the 3900 engine it demands to keep up with the competition like the Honda Odyssey.

    In conclusion, I think that Pontiac, like Buick, is at a crossroads. It could easily veer down one path, where it fails to create many GXP models, drops the GTO for a Chevrolet Zeta twin, and ends up picking up so many rebadged vehicles from Chevrolet that it becomes nearly indistinguishable from the Bow Tie brand. GM Beancounters would do high-fives in Detroit at the prospect of cost-cutting, and would point to the sales success of the GMC brand to show that rebadged vehicles can sell. Pontiac fans everywhere would be let down, and many would move on to some other brand worthy of respect. If GM won't invest in the brand, why should we invest our hard-earned money into an arrowhead badge?

    On the other hand, if kept in check, suffering through a pair of rebadged Chevies for the promise of more GXP models and the Solstice could make sense. Pontiac could prove to be the "excitement" brand it has always promised it would be with its many advertising tag lines. With the Internet as a research tool that over half of car buyers use these days, its essential in my opinion, that Pontiac head down this path. No more rebadges, no more pretense at performance, and no more marketing gobbledygook - just the pure, unadulterated pursuit of REAL excitement.

    Last edited by Ming; 11-02-2004 at 05:33 PM.

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    Funny thing, I don't necessarily think that Pontiac's doing rebadges means that they're slouching toward Brummagem. As one example, the Vibe may be a clone of the Voltz (or is it vice versa?), but the car is quite competent, and that has translated into strong sales. The same can be said for some of the other examples that you propose. There's nothing bogus or phony about these vehicles; in many ways, they're the real McCoy. Because similar iterations are bound for the marketplace - the GP GXP and its presumed cloned, the Impala SS - does not mean that Pontiac is losing its identity. In fact, the finances behind it make sense, and the two vehicles I'm sure will not be confused for one another. I hope GM manages its business more along these lines in the future.

    GM was able to manage the differentiation well in the past, and there's no reason it cannot be done in the future. Admittedly, some of the vehicles - it pains me to go into detail again about my dislike of the SV6 - are badge-engineering done completely wrong. And the jury is still out on the Torrent - at least it's based on a competent platform. And I'm leaning slightly toward it being done right, however rushed the exterior may be.

    While there is still some work to be done, for sure, overall, I like Pontiac's direction.

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    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 goblue's Avatar
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    I disagree with the powertrain engineering. What makes a pontiac sporty is how it looks, so take the Grand Prix vs the Impala or Regal, or the old Intrigue. They look completely different, and appeal to different groups. Hence GM can sell more cars with a minimum of new investment. They should ride a little different, and they do. However, all should be avaialable with the exact same powertrains, modern OHC V6s and 5.3L V8s. The average buyer does not judge a car entirely by the engine. I know a friend with an intrigue who would never be caught dead in a Buick or Grand Prix.

    Badge enginnering is fine, it saves money, allows companies to have an entirely different look while not breaking the bank. GM cannot support 3 different midsize cars if all required separate engines, ground up redesigns, etc. The trick is to make the visual cues different (the Torrenox is not differnetiated quite enough, the VUE is) and the handling characterisitcs differnet. That said, Saturn should not have the most powerful small SUV.

    The smartest thing GM could do however is leverage more of Holden. Most Americans would tell you Holden is a shipping company, or that they make elevators, so taking their good designs is very smart.

    My ideas for brand differentiation,

    Chevy = mainstream value, middle of the road, functional, reliable, a place to use up the OHV V6s, the last place to get the new 6 speed autos. A basic 20K RWD 5.7 V8.
    Continue to appeal to the people that buy, and apparantly like impalas. Good old American iron.

    Saturn = import fighter, should take Honda head on. The cobalt is sporty but functional, the Ion should be polished, not wierd. OHV should be a bad word in this division. Think upper level of Chevy, this is where the Odyssey fighter should come from. The VUE should be high class. The new midsize should make buying an accord dumb. Leverage their reliability reputation. There are still S series on the road. Target Honda cold.

    Buick = Quiet and soft ride above all else. Modern engines that really can't be heard. Rear legroom so a group of seniors can go to Bob Evans in the same car. Continue to use the Rendevous and SUVs to appeal to a younger crowd to draw them in and get them hooked. Luxury focus at expense of performance (handling, not engine) Go after Toyota / Low Lexus. The Lacrosse seems to hit between Camry and the ES330. Good. Dump the 3800 now.

    Ponitac = Sporty look, the G6 should be the "driver's car" not the Mazda 6. A performance focus at the expense of comfort, Modern OHC engines, manuals available more frequently, etc. Razor sharp exteriors, compelling interiors. Give Nissan and Mazda a run.

    Through brand differentiation done correctly, GM can take on all these different companies while sharing costs. The trick is to do it correctly.

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    Thanks, Ming. You've summed up my feelings about Pontiac exactly. I'm a performance car buff but would not consider any current Pontiac model, at least until the Solstice arrives.

    Pontiac won't make a significant push into 'excitement' territory until it is managed by a leader that gets grease under his/her fingernails on the weekends, attends motorsports events with enthusiasm, and understands the basic technology that makes a performance car fun to drive and own.

    As long as GM puts MBA marketing geniuses at the top of Pontiac, it won't have the vision it needs to truly be an excitement division.

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    GMI Staff Member Premium Member vanshmack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserwizard
    This is perhaps one of the most honest and clear-thinking pieces on a GM division that I've seen posted here. You've foresaken the usual smoke blowing up the backside garbage that is usually heaped on GM divisions and actually taken a critical look at the mess that is GM, in general, and Pontiac, in specific.

    I've read several pieces on GM recently (interestingly never posted here) that postulate that GM is in serious trouble because of inept products, poor design, and its dependence on ever escalating rebates. GM is an addict to market share and is willing to mortgage the future so as to keep their factories pumping out more roadside eyesores. There is a reason that GM is trying to move more units because it artificially plays with the sales/profit numbers. It masks the overall severity of the morass that GM is in to most people.

    Overall, in Pontiac's case, I think that the Montana and the Aztek and the Vibe need to be eliminated from the product line. Pontiac is a CAR division.

    Second, the G6 needs to go back to the drawing board and the car needs some character lines or edges to make it stand out. It needs the now optional engine made as standard equipment while more modern engines are developed that rival the smoothness of rice burners. This car needs to be more than a replacement for the Grand Am. To enhance the sporty image of the car, it needs four bucket seats with the rear sliding like the Chevrolet Malibu Max for class leading refinement in the interior. It needs an upgrade on the materials on the interior and that sliding roof needs to be standard, not optional.

    It needs to be its own car.

    Third, the Grand Prix needs a complete redesign and made to be roomy and performance oriented even on the base models. It needs to have four bucket seats with adjustments (this will be a new trademark of Pontiac interiors). No longer will base engines be enough. Performance in every Pontiac with HO for the enthusiasts as options.

    Fourth, the Bonneville, perhaps the best car that Pontiac sells that has long been foresaken, needs to be based off the new chassis used by the upcoming Buick Lucerne and once again, four bucket seats with adjustments, sliding roof, performance engines standard with handling and great brakes.

    Fifth, the GTO needs to be either eliminated if it must continue on its pathetic Kanga reincarnation or it should be shifted to the new Grand Prix with a serious dose of performance and badass styling.

    Sixth, I don't see the Solstace as a Pontiac. It is too squishy, to swishy, to feminine in styling to be a Pontiac. I know GM thinks if you slap a Pontiac grill on something that it is a Pontiac, but the Solstace is as much Pontiac as an AMC Pacer is a Grand Prix. If this is a true Pontiac, it must have power, power, power, not some watered down wimpy couch potato appealing bar of soap on wheels.

    Seventh, if Pontiac must have a cross over vehicle, it must be car-like in the class of a Freestyle or an Outback but with swoopy styling with v-6 power at the minimum and best in class handling and performance. It should not be an Equinox or a minivan or a Toyota. It needs to be something special.

    If Pontiac built the cars outlined above with the intentions above they'd sell without the need of a single rebate. The cars would all have perceived value and instantly recognizable for performance.

    Today's Pontiac is nothing more than yesterday's Chevrolet with only marginal better styling with nothing special about it inside or on the street. This *******ization of Pontiac must stop and now! Just because Buick and Chevrolet and Saturn are content with building mediocre cars, it does not mean that GM's best division needs to whore itself.
    Wow..I actually agree with most of what you're trying to say here. Particularly, your solutions, which if you offered more of them in your other posts, I'd give you less of a hard time about your criticism!

    Anyway, I agree that Pontiac really needs a lineup makeover. Reality is, they just have too many models. I mean, the Vibe, while a decent car in it's own right, doesn't fit the lienup and the potential buyers it is meant to attract tend to NOT wander into Pontiac dealerships. Grand Am Sunfire are lame-duck, so I won't discuss them. The G6 seems to be a nice car, with a good interior and nice dynamics, however the styling, while not offensive, does very little to excite. Some character lines would help. GTO probably has the best interior ever put into a domestically sold GM product. The exterior reminds me of my old 1988 Beretta GT, which is not a good thing in 2004. Again, the look isn't offensive, but certainly not befitting of the moniker. This is being remedied somewhat in 2005 with new fascia and hood sccops, but the overall shape will be with for a little while longer. Grand Prix, in my opinion, is probably the car that needs the least amount of tinkering. The one sore spot is the engine output, which is limited to protect the archaic 4T65-E 4 speed transmission. This should be rectified one the 6-speed auto is available in a year or two. I agree with Laserwizard in that this is probably Pontiac's best car. That interior has to go, though. I like the theme introduced with the GP, and would love to see something along those lines in the Bonneville. Aztek can't go away quick enough, and the Montana SV6 should have been a GMC with an uplevel interior. The most ironic thing is, Pontiac has pulled the cladding off all it's vehicles (and seemingly sold it to Toyota), but the resulting uncladded cars are so vanilla in appearance, I find myself missing the cladding!

    Of course, the main issue at PMD is the same isue that dogs GM...The wrong wheels are driving many of the models. I know this will change, but the Grand Prix and Bonneville need to be rear-wheel drive. Channeling 300+ HP with equal amounts of torque is just a bad idea with FWD. It worked with early Northstar Cadillacs but the LS4 will have a completely different torque curve which I'm sure will make for tons of torque steer, as well as longevity issues wih transmission if the car is driven hard. The G6 is fine as a front-driver, as is any future Sunfire replacement, but we all know that real Pontiacs should RWD.

    The good thing is, a lot of these issues are already in the process of being solved. The ones that aren't could easily remedied. I'm not sure what to think about the styling direction, though. I only hope that Pontiac and GM as a whole worry a little less about the results from focus groups and really listen to the auto show crowd, as well as sites like GMI when they are unveiling future concepts.
    Last edited by vanshmack; 10-30-2004 at 12:22 PM.
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    There are many compelling aspects of this issue, and maybe I'll comment on those later, but I'd just like to get others thinking. Let's take notice of automotive history, especially in recent years. Chrysler recently disintegrated Plymouth, which was fitting somewhere between entry level Dodge and upscale Chrysler. GM did away with Oldsmobile, which is likewise somewhere between Chevy and Buick. Mercury has hit the skids in the past decade and has been fighting to stay alive; it fits between Ford and Lincoln. Also consider the failure of Edsel, which tried to fit between Ford and Mercury. The lesson here is that, for whatever reason, consumers seem to have trouble commiting themselves to "tweener" brands. If they lack differentiation, they'll probably go for the sister car of the cheaper brand if they're more money conscious, or the more expensive brand if they're more feature oriented.
    Could the fate of Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Geo, Eagle etc. be the same fate of Pontiac, Buick, Saturn in the future? Sadly, this may come to pass, as brands seem to be broadening they're line ups continuously. A $90,000 Volkswagen?! C'mon! But notice that no one is buying it; because if you've gone 90 large in your pocket and you like VW's, your gonna go get a sweet Audi. $9,800 dollar Chevys, $40,000 GMCs; there's no uniqueness to the brands.
    I think one possible solvent may be different options for the brands. Start with cars that are different enough in styling, size, ride etc. Then offer different options: maybe you can get a cold air intake for a 'Bird but not a Camaro, more sound insulation for Buick but not Chevy. Make it the choice of the consumer to further differentiate the cars.

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    I'm always interested in people who think that they have simple solutions for an organization like GM. You know what, if GM were to need to do things like "...Fifth, the GTO needs to be either eliminated... or it should be shifted to the new Grand Prix with a serious dose of performance and badass styling..." and other such driveling nonsense to turn the company into a profit machine, don't you think it would have been done already? It really sort of misses the mark by a mile.

    I'm forever tired of people who assume that GM offers incentives for market share alone; it really does miss the point again. And if the self-proclaimed clairvoyant intellects who really know how to turn GM around (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) would appreciate that, they would realize that turning around GM far exceeds bringing out its own 300 or doing things like "... if Pontiac must have a cross over vehicle, it must be car-like in the class of a Freestyle or an Outback but with swoopy styling with v-6 power at the minimum and best in class handling and performance." Why? Because you know the market so well? Hmmm, paint me skeptical.

    GM absolutely needs to bring out good product, for sure, and cars like the LaCrosse and CSV's aren't the ones. However, Chrysler's new Jeep Toledo plant, with ingenious supplier input (i.e., less invested capital on its part and more work outsourced to the suppliers who sit directly at the plant) gives me a whole lot more reason for pause than the 300. Tom LaSorda knows exactly what he's doing, and it's the behind the scenes stuff like this that will make DCX more of a threat than any fad 300 ever will.

    Toyota is a perfect example of getting the behind the scenes systems in place to turn out relatively uninspired cars at an enormous profit. Name one car that they build that is truly desirable from an enthusiast's standpoint. Then, name one company that even equals them in manufacturing, productivity, or quality. Hence, they generate giant profits. That's quite enviable, no?

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    GMI Contributor Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    I disagree with the powertrain engineering. What makes a pontiac sporty is how it looks, so take the Grand Prix vs the Impala or Regal, or the old Intrigue. They look completely different, and appeal to different groups. Hence GM can sell more cars with a minimum of new investment. They should ride a little different, and they do. However, all should be avaialable with the exact same powertrains, modern OHC V6s and 5.3L V8s. The average buyer does not judge a car entirely by the engine. I know a friend with an intrigue who would never be caught dead in a Buick or Grand Prix.

    Badge enginnering is fine, it saves money, allows companies to have an entirely different look while not breaking the bank.
    So Pontiac's "Total Performance Strategy" is looks? All Pontiac show and only Chevy go?

    Do you work for GM's R&D Accounting Division?

    At the risk of being redundant, I'll say it again: If GM won't invest in the brand, why should we invest our hard-earned money into an arrowhead badge?

    I love the Pontiac looks, but I'd take a wheeling-dealing volume discount Chevy dealer with massive discounts any day when its my money on the line and the cars involved are generally the same.

    But looking further, I think we actually agree on the goal of Pontiac:

    Ponitac = Sporty look, the G6 should be the "driver's car" not the Mazda 6. A performance focus at the expense of comfort, Modern OHC engines, manuals available more frequently, etc. Razor sharp exteriors, compelling interiors. Give Nissan and Mazda a run.
    Well said!
    Last edited by Ming; 10-30-2004 at 03:35 PM.

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    pontiac needs to have its perfomance engines not 3.5 l producing 200hp that is not performance or 3.8 producing 200 hp imagine if new g6 had 3.0l engine and 240 (honda engine) and six speed dont you think that would be more sporty and that they would sell more cars or even put 3.6l that cts usese instead of 3.5l that would make a big difference
    current grand prix is ugly out dates styling and no performance in it what they should of done with it they should of made it with 3.6l cts engine standard and supercharge the same engine to produc 300 hp that is call performance not what they are trying to sell now currently pontica is only selling 1990's cars they still did not produce up to date car like CTS look what it did for cadillac
    look at new g6 you can compare it to 1998 honda accord v-6 and that would be a fare comparison same power same technology only g6 looks better but to compare it to new altima or accord is a joke but if gm put 3.6l engine in it then it would be able to go with them and maybe even beat them

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    Quote Originally Posted by orkan013
    pontiac needs to have its perfomance engines not 3.5 l producing 200hp that is not performance or 3.8 producing 200 hp imagine if new g6 had 3.0l engine and 240 (honda engine) and six speed dont you think that would be more sporty and that they would sell more cars or even put 3.6l that cts usese instead of 3.5l that would make a big difference
    current grand prix is ugly out dates styling and no performance in it what they should of done with it they should of made it with 3.6l cts engine standard and supercharge the same engine to produc 300 hp that is call performance not what they are trying to sell now currently pontica is only selling 1990's cars they still did not produce up to date car like CTS look what it did for cadillac
    look at new g6 you can compare it to 1998 honda accord v-6 and that would be a fare comparison same power same technology only g6 looks better but to compare it to new altima or accord is a joke but if gm put 3.6l engine in it then it would be able to go with them and maybe even beat them
    Exactly!

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    Badge engineering works great if done correctly. The only problem is, you have to badge engineer the engines as well as the sheetmetal. If you want to use the same chassis for the Impala and Grand Prix, that's fine. But give us a 5.3L V8 in the Impala and some s/c OHC engine in the Grand Prix.

    In a perfect world, we could have FWD Chevy family sedans and RWD Pontiac sport sedans.

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    GMI Staff Member Premium Member vanshmack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibechip
    Badge engineering works great if done correctly. The only problem is, you have to badge engineer the engines as well as the sheetmetal. If you want to use the same chassis for the Impala and Grand Prix, that's fine. But give us a 5.3L V8 in the Impala and some s/c OHC engine in the Grand Prix.

    In a perfect world, we could have FWD Chevy family sedans and RWD Pontiac sport sedans.
    VERY, very good point!
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  15. #13
    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 goblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ming
    So Pontiac's "Total Performance Strategy" is looks? All Pontiac show and only Chevy go?

    I see where you are coming from, but I feel the differentiation should not be lets give Pontiac modern OHC engines, and give chevy the chinese backdoor 3400 garbage. GM has entirely too many engines, and it costs them money. We need something in between, say a 2.8 HF on the Malibu, and a HO version on the Pontiac. As well as on the upgraded engine, maybe a 3.4L HF to avoid having the same engine as the CTS. I don't feel they need completely different engines, 20hp is probably enough. I don't think you need entirely different engine lines, because down the road it costs more to improve them. How much money was wasted on the 3500, 3900 when there were in line 5 and 6s, HF V6s, etc. Focus on handling, manual trans avail on everything and make them look differnet.

    Now, if you're going to charge a premium price, then everything changes, the upgraded engines on the Chevy should become the standard engines on the Pontiacs. I could defintely support that. I had thought they would be prcied similarly, Impala vs Grand Prix for instance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laserwizard
    This is perhaps one of the most honest and clear-thinking pieces on a GM division that I've seen posted here. You've foresaken the usual smoke blowing up the backside garbage that is usually heaped on GM divisions and actually taken a critical look at the mess that is GM, in general, and Pontiac, in specific.

    I've read several pieces on GM recently (interestingly never posted here) that postulate that GM is in serious trouble because of inept products, poor design, and its dependence on ever escalating rebates. GM is an addict to market share and is willing to mortgage the future so as to keep their factories pumping out more roadside eyesores. There is a reason that GM is trying to move more units because it artificially plays with the sales/profit numbers. It masks the overall severity of the morass that GM is in to most people.

    Overall, in Pontiac's case, I think that the Montana and the Aztek and the Vibe need to be eliminated from the product line. Pontiac is a CAR division.

    Second, the G6 needs to go back to the drawing board and the car needs some character lines or edges to make it stand out. It needs the now optional engine made as standard equipment while more modern engines are developed that rival the smoothness of rice burners. This car needs to be more than a replacement for the Grand Am. To enhance the sporty image of the car, it needs four bucket seats with the rear sliding like the Chevrolet Malibu Max for class leading refinement in the interior. It needs an upgrade on the materials on the interior and that sliding roof needs to be standard, not optional.

    It needs to be its own car.

    Third, the Grand Prix needs a complete redesign and made to be roomy and performance oriented even on the base models. It needs to have four bucket seats with adjustments (this will be a new trademark of Pontiac interiors). No longer will base engines be enough. Performance in every Pontiac with HO for the enthusiasts as options.

    Fourth, the Bonneville, perhaps the best car that Pontiac sells that has long been foresaken, needs to be based off the new chassis used by the upcoming Buick Lucerne and once again, four bucket seats with adjustments, sliding roof, performance engines standard with handling and great brakes.

    Fifth, the GTO needs to be either eliminated if it must continue on its pathetic Kanga reincarnation or it should be shifted to the new Grand Prix with a serious dose of performance and badass styling.

    Sixth, I don't see the Solstace as a Pontiac. It is too squishy, to swishy, to feminine in styling to be a Pontiac. I know GM thinks if you slap a Pontiac grill on something that it is a Pontiac, but the Solstace is as much Pontiac as an AMC Pacer is a Grand Prix. If this is a true Pontiac, it must have power, power, power, not some watered down wimpy couch potato appealing bar of soap on wheels.

    Seventh, if Pontiac must have a cross over vehicle, it must be car-like in the class of a Freestyle or an Outback but with swoopy styling with v-6 power at the minimum and best in class handling and performance. It should not be an Equinox or a minivan or a Toyota. It needs to be something special.

    If Pontiac built the cars outlined above with the intentions above they'd sell without the need of a single rebate. The cars would all have perceived value and instantly recognizable for performance.

    Today's Pontiac is nothing more than yesterday's Chevrolet with only marginal better styling with nothing special about it inside or on the street. This *******ization of Pontiac must stop and now! Just because Buick and Chevrolet and Saturn are content with building mediocre cars, it does not mean that GM's best division needs to whore itself.
    Most of what u say sounds like a viable solution. I wouldnt be content with just 4 buckets only in all the models. But it would be a good solution if 4 buckets only were used in the top, most sporty trims. Give lesser trims the option of a bench rear seat.
    And yes, Pontiac needs to ditch the minivan, the Vibe (to an extent) and the Torrent.
    If they are a sport division then they gotta make everything sporty. Driver oriented interior (tilted towards the driver), sporty handling (nurburgring tuned), big power (or small powerful) powertrains, most possible gears in the transmission possible (6 speed auto, 6 speed manual), RWD (with AWD optional). IF they are content at keeping the lineup as is (couple cars, a minivan, an SUV and a crossover car/wagon) then make them as sporty as possible.

    2 trim levels, standard GT (bench rear) and top level GTP (quad buckets)
    -Small car (coupe, sedan, vert)= 180hp 2.4L VVT, 215hp 2.0 Supercharged
    -midsize car (coupe sedan, vert)= 215hp 2.0 supercharged, 250hp 3.9L OHV VVT
    -large car (sedan) = 250hp 3.9L OHV, 315hp 4.6L V8

    If they have a minivan, give it the 3.9L OHV

  17. #15
    2.4 Liter SIDI ECOTEC crazeeman's Avatar
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    pontiac either needs to start being exciting or die!

    montana sv6:kill! a rebadge of a mediocre van is not exciting!

    torrent: give it a different engine and ill consider it. otherwise, make a sporty car based crossover, cuz those are the hot thing in suvs rite now. leave the small suv biz to the vue and the nox.

    grand prix: i actually like the styling, but not much else. it needs a real performance engine, cuz i think ohcs are better than ohvs. they give more horse and torque per liter, and they are more refined and give better gas mileage. gm needs a standard 240-270 hp natuarally aspirated engine, like the nissan vq or the upcoming duratec 35. that way, they wouldnt be stuck with 200 hp for the base engine and have to supercharge it to get standard power. put this in the grand prix, make it rwd, and stick in an optional v8, and i like it.

    g6: argh! i hate that name! cadillac already is using euro-ized alphanumerical names, dont follow caddy into doom doom doom! cars are supposed to have real names! anyways, do we really need this car? leave the family sedan stuff to the malibu and impala and the sport sedaning to the grand prix, saab 9-3, and cadillac cts.

    bonneville: gm sez the next gen is going to be rwd, and i hope thats not a like. JUST DONT NAME IT G8!!!!! give it a real name. how about the pontiac chieftan? pontiac was a chieftan after all, and it seems rite to give the biggest sedan the most powerful name. it needs a standard v8 (v6s are for wimps in a full size sedan) to battle the 300c, and then a gxp version to battle the srt-8.

    gto: the current one is perfect, except for its styling. change that and your good to go.

    sunfire: kappa based, rwd compact. in a class of its own. gxp version should compete with subie sti/mitsu evo.

    vibe: one of the only pontiacs i would consider buying. its engine too cool. lotus used it, that should prove how awesome it is.

    solstice: hope they supercharge it.

    as for the brands:

    chevrolet: bread and butter brand, but should have lots of juicy performance too.

    buick: i agree they should target lexus, but the terrazas not really the best way to get there. soft and quiet is the way to go. thats how lexus does it, and there the top selling luxury brand.

    saturn:
    Saturn = import fighter, should take Honda head on. The cobalt is sporty but functional, the Ion should be polished, not wierd. OHV should be a bad word in this division. Think upper level of Chevy, this is where the Odyssey fighter should come from. The VUE should be high class. The new midsize should make buying an accord dumb. Leverage their reliability reputation. There are still S series on the road. Target Honda cold.
    exactly. make the red lines really fast.

    pontiac: mazda and nissan are great examples of how pontiac should do it.

    cadillac: quick and edgy with lots of luxury, just like the styling.

    gmc: they really should be upmarket chevrolet trucks. im surprised they sell so well now.

    hummer: look at land rover. superb off-roading doesnt have to mean cheapo interiors.

    saab: like saturn, target the imports, but the much sportier and a bit more luxurious european ones.



    oya and i dont see wuts so exciting about the 3.9. you can get just as much hp and a bit less torque out of a honda 3.0.
    Last edited by crazeeman; 10-30-2004 at 05:40 PM.

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