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GMC gets Pontiac's sport wagon; brand rewarded for soaring sales
June, 21st, 2004
AutoWeek Magazine (Full Text Here)
By DAVE GUILFORD | Automotive News

DETROIT -- GMC will get its first sport wagon under a change in General Motors' product plan.

GM replaced a planned 2008 Pontiac sport wagon with one for GMC, industry sources say.

The move rewards GMC for surging sales. GMC had a record 563,479 U.S. sales last year, second only to Chevrolet among GM brands.

It also shows GM's determination to build a broad portfolio in the growing sport wagon segment.

GMC, GM's "real trucks" brand, has built its success largely with rugged body-on-frame trucks with optional four-wheel drive. Sport wagons typically use unibody construction and are less capable off-road.

GMC has informed key dealers and suppliers of the change. A Pontiac-GMC spokesman would not comment.

Sources say GMC will take Pontiac's slot in the Lambda architecture, designed for front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive minivans and sport wagons. The first Lambda vehicles will be assembled in a factory that GM is building near Lansing, Mich.

Meanwhile, Pontiac still will get a mid-sized sport wagon, the Torrent, for the 2006 model year.

Jim Sanfilippo, executive vice president of AMCI Marketing in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., says distinctions between unibody sport wagons and truck-based, body-on-frame SUVs are diminishing.

"Those two entities are converging because of capabilities," he says. "The crossovers in the fourth or fifth generation are certainly more capable than the first or second generation. They can tow more, they're stiffer, they're more able to go off-road."...
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