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Dull Styling, Sale Hobble With GTO




DETROIT - The Pontiac GTO, a pet project of General Motors product czar Robert Lutz, is off to a slow start.

Dealers say the GTO - touted as a halo car for Pontiac - suffers from bland styling, a high sticker price and no incentives.

"The car is more conservative looking than today's customer expects," says dealer Hugh Fiore, owner of Harbor Motors in Old Saybrook, Conn.

So far this year, Pontiac has sold just 2,451 units. Discounting seasonal differences, that amounts to an annualized rate of 7,300 units - well below Pontiac's 16,000-unit target. GM has a 168-day supply of GTOs, well above the 60-day supply that is considered ideal. A December launch slowed sales of the Australian-built car, says Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson. "Winter probably isn't the best time to launch a rear-wheel-drive vehicle," he says. "However, we're already beginning to see sales pick up with the nice weather."

Pontiac sold 719 GTOs in March and 650 in April.

GM launched an advertising campaign for the GTO in November. Pontiac hopes the USA Network cable TV movie The Last Ride will help spread the word. The movie features the GTO.

Lutz, vice chairman for product development, pushed the Australian car to the United States with only minor changes.

GM engineers reworked the Holden Monaro, giving it left-hand drive and a Pontiac front end. The V-8 received 48 more horsepower, for a total of 350 hp. The exterior received a new front fascia and a spoiler.

Lutz praised the car's "brawny, muscular stance." But many enthusiasts say the reborn GTO lacks the in-your-face styling of the original muscle car, fondly nicknamed the Goat.

Not enough pizazz

"When you come back with a name like GTO, you need something more," says one Detroit area sales manager who declined to be named.

Last week at a press event in Detroit, Kip Wasenko, director of design for GM's performance division, said, "You heard me talking about heritage. That's probably one of the things the GTO could probably use a little more of. But other people find it quiet and reserved because not everyone wants in-your-face, look-at-me kind of style."




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I generally like the GTO.

However, you would think that after watching fellow auto companies botch launches of their vehicles, the astute folks at GM would have learned their lessons: stopgap products don't usually work well, launching a vehicle mid-winter doesn't help, and allowing dealers to mark up cars usually doesn't pay off in the long run, either.

My guess is that there will be zero accountability for the higher-ranking GM people responsible for the relative failure of this vehicle. And in typical GM fashion, the "peon" sales personnel and factory workers will bear the brunt of this car's lack of success.

What a shame!
 

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This car WILL die an early death, guess I'll have to buy that 2006 Charger. I most certainly WILL NOT buy the Rustang that is nothing more than a 1968 model that's been buffed and with modern emenities. Ford has ran out of ideas on that one. The Charger will be the only RWD car left until I hear GM confirm the next GTO on the new Zeta Platform and/or possibly a Camaro. THIS LITERALLY SUCKS!!! All this waiting and hoping that I do.
 

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I don't think the looks are a problem. Price is a problem and certainly if dealers aren't willing to deal or are charging above MSRP, that is a problem also.

I have seen very little advertising, maybe 1 or 2 car magazine print ads, that's it.
 

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The GTO is but a manifestation of the myth of a revolution of GM design. Had GM really been serious about this vehicle, the exterior would have looked less like the donor car and more unique. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know about the economies of scale and the cost to convert right hand to left hand design, certification, safety, etc, but the fact remains that this car is INTENDED to EVOKE emotion and it doesn't. To the untrained eye, this car looks like a Cavalier with a pontiac front end (would have made an awesome sunfire); to those of us who know the car is nothing more than a two door version of the same dull Caterra-like platform, this car is a yawner (despite the engine and handling). Perhaps if the c-pillar and rear quarter panel had been designed with a hint of a flying buttress like the 60's models and the front was more aggressive, the car would have caught on. I saw this flop coming from a galaxy away. My prediction is that it will not sell as well as the Thunderbird (which was called a flop). Sadly, there are more idiots out there who will have purchased an Aztek in a year than Pontiac will sell in GTO's during its run in its present form.

Next time GM decides to bring back an name (like Impala and GTO) it best make the car so outrageously unique that we'll forget its pedigree. Either accept the past and build from it or go overboard in the other direction. Problem was that GM took the easy way out and offered us neither history nor uniqueness.
 

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GM needs some fresh designers and less restrictions. The GTO had such promise and all they put out was that POS body design?

What did they expect?

ANother screw up by GM - They MUST get aggressive on the body style and design! :angry:
 

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Look at the effort Chrysler has done with it's new 300C and probably will with it's Charger, I hear that the 300C are selling like hot cakes right now. For one thing, GM should've never stopped building the F-Bodies in the first place and or should have put more effort in the GTO. It makes me sick to my stomach that people are going to be foolish enough to buy the new 2005 (1968) Mustang and not the GTO all because of the way it looks. It doesn't have to be retro, but should at least stand out.
 

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Poor marketing is KILLING the GTO. This is a WONDERFUL car except that GM North America doesn't know how to market it. They don't have a clue what they have on their lots. This is no muscle car. It is a comfortable GT. Like the BMW M3 but larger and more comfortable. They should make commercials showing how this gem from Australia rides and handles, instead of touting horsepower and torque.

The styling has been a focal point or issue from the beginning. The GTO looks too... 1996 to 2003 Grand Prix-ish. Maybe the grill needs to be smaller.., but it doesn't need hood scoops(which I fear is COMING in 05). This is a cleanly styled coupe and it needs to remain so. There only a few fixes that the GTO needs quickly to jump start sales.

GM should bring this car in at about $26k. At $33k it is slightly out of its range. And with serious omissions, such as a sunroof, navigation system or 5-6 speed automatic, $26k is good enough. Sometimes you have to offer a car at a discount(like the Toyota Prius) to jump start sales. GM gets enough profit from its trucklines to offer a cut on its cars. Also, in order to offer the $26k version, build a few automatics with cloth seating w/ deletions of power seats and those color graphic gauges.

It is a shame because I really wanted this car to do well. I think there is a market for a 2 door, big engine coupe that really seats four, but the domestic carmakers can't seem to get it right. BMW and Mercedes sell big coupes rather sucessfully in this country. Why Ford and GM can't is a mystery???
 

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well i gotta say this i live in north jersey and never seen a GTO on the road but ive seen quite a few Chevy SSRs but no GTOs...why??SSR is a american born vehicle and is very unique but they both stand out without a doubt...the GTO doesnt have any amenditites like heated seat,XM radio,sunroof or T tops,or any other American options..MAKE THE GTO AMERICAN MADE NOT AUSTRALIAN BUILT!!!!STOP THE WASTEFUL PRODUCTION OF THE AUSTRALIAN MONARO-GTO!!!!
 

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I live in South Jersey and saw my 2nd GTO on the road (a black 1, the !st was a yellow), but as I've said in other posts the dealer which I pass on a daily basis has both a yellow and black GTO sitting on the lot along with a ton of 4th gen T/A's with less than 5k on the clocks waiting 2 B bought.
The styling of the GTO is way bland (much like the Catera was 2 the CTS) IMHO,but hopefully with this car being a stop gap by GM. The succesor 2 the current GTO will B more in line of what we want looks wise (and no not a damn 70's Judge wanna B), but definatley something with more presence. I guess only time will tell how this will pan out.
 

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I almost bought a GTO. I had 'permission' from my wife to buy one but I ended up with a Saturn Redline VUE instead (If we didn't get the GTO the Redline was a good comprimise of price, performance and usefullness.)
The reason? There was a nice Silver GTO on the dealer lot here in NY (It has been there for a few weeks). I went in to talk to the dealer about it. The Sticker was just over $33,000...but the dealer refused to sell it for under $38,000.
I can't see how the dealers can complain to GM....it's GM's fault that they can't sell a $33,000 car for $38,000???
 

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Originally posted by mjd1001@May 24 2004, 11:29 AM
I almost bought a GTO.  I had 'permission' from my wife to buy one but I ended up with a Saturn Redline VUE instead (If we didn't get the GTO the Redline was a good comprimise of price, performance and usefullness.)
Nice choice! Good to see people buying the performance tuned Saturn Redline models.

You get your family SUV, and performance as a bonus.

As for the GTO, just look at what is out there as competition. The Mazda RX-8, the Nissan Z, Infiniti G-35 coupe, etc. --- these cars all look radical and new, even if they don't offer the punch of the GTO. GM should take a hint and do a radical restyling of sheetmetal for the GTO for 2006 my.

There is only so much you can do with the existing Monaro's sheetmetal, but the GTO would be selling like hotcakes if it looked like this IMHO (modern!):

http://www.rsportscars.com/eng/cars/hsv_coupe4.asp






Pontiac's GTO simply looks too much like a car styled in 1999.



Even Holden is aware of this --- why Detroit needs to pursue a smooth jellybean style is hard to comprehend.
 

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GM eggheads! First they kill the B-body Caprice/Roadmaster and caddy Fleetwood, then they kill Oldsmobile, next it is the F-bodies and now they bungle their icon GTO's second coming! Sadly, when I check out their current product lineup, I most always walk away dissapointed, discusted or overwhelmed! Dissapointed at the styling on many models, disccusted with GM's interiors, and overwhelmed at GM's aggressive pricing. My Intrigue is one of there better styled cars and even that is gone! The new Grand Prix also has good looks but is very expensive and has a very iffy interior.
 

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Quote by "laserwizard"

"Sadly, there are more idiots out there who will have purchased an Aztek in a year than Pontiac will sell in GTO's during its run in its present form."

First, I think the GTO is a great looking sports car and it will probably have appearance improvements in the up coming years.

Second, my wife and I bought an Aztek. Please fill me in why we are idiots. It is a great SRV, sports recreational vehicle. I enjoy driving it and it holds more "stuff" than anything within its size and price range. I read many posts about how ugly or under powered it is, but I don't think it is ugly or really too under powered.

I usually just read for the imformation given by this website. Today I couldn't help asking "laserwizard" why my wife and I are idiots. I will keep checking for your reply, "laserwizard".
 

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Originally posted by Odin@May 24 2004, 12:54 PM
Dealers charging over msrp certainly aren't helping!!!
Is the overcharging STILL happening in most places??? My local dealer has had a black on black, 6-speed GTO from the start, and they are now ADVERTISING it in the local paper for $31,500. I think the sticker was close to $33k on this car. It's the only GTO they have had, and so far it has just been collecting dust in the showroom.

Chad
 

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Over this past weekend I drove home to Texas from Michigan and was surprised at the vehicles I encountered. There were 3 GTOs in Michigan and I passed one in Indianapolis, I met one XLR in Michigan and one in Indiana. There was also a 05 Vette heading back to Michigan from Indianapolis as well. Personally I don’t think the GTOs styling is hampering the car’s sales. GM somewhat stripped the car for US sales in order to go back to basics feel of the original, and I think GM should have kept the options, and included some of the HSV options, or reduced the price. At roughly 34K side impact airbags and Onstar really should have been included, as should either dual zone or the same Auto Climate control system that the Monaro offers. Granted the car is a sports car, but it is also a luxury coupe. The price ranges on cars today are becoming harder to classify what goes into a car based on price, and the GTO missed the mark just a bit. I also think that GM not classifying it as a sports car on GM Buypower, and only as a 2 door coupe while the Prix is considered a sports car, could be sending the wrong impression to people. I’m still sold on the car however.
 

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I do find the design a little quiet, but frankly I prefer to most of what Pontiac has done in the past 20 years. I still say it has more presence in person than you would expect from the photos. If there is any silver lining to all this, it is that it makes it more likely I can afford one.

BTW, did anyone else see the joke illustration in one of the mags last month (April Fools, I think)? They showed a ghastly "2005 GTO" with plastic ribbing and an Aztek front end, said it was a response to criticism of the dull styling. It was hilarious.
 

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I have no complaints about the styling of the new GTO. It's as if nowadays people have never heard of a SLEEPER!


haha I found this on urbandictionary.com:

sleeper:
Often reffering to what appears to be a ordinary looking stock commuter car that is anything but stock under the hood. Pretty much the exact opposite of your every day riced up civic. :lol:
 
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