: GM Looking At Unloading Pontiac, Saturn and Saab



Lord Cadillac
11-26-08, 07:07 PM
Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp., working to cut costs to win $12 billion in government loans, is studying whether to shed its Saturn, Saab and Pontiac brands in addition to Hummer, people familiar with the matter said.

Selling or dropping brands would save money and reduce overlap as the biggest U.S. automaker struggles to avoid running out of operating cash by yearís end, said the people, who didnít want to be identified because no decision has been made. GMís other U.S. brands are Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac.

The review of the 82-year-old Pontiac division, one of GMís earliest, shows the scope of the survival plan being given to Congress on Dec. 2 to show GM can repay federal aid. GM also seeks to cut debt levels and reduce costs for active and retired union workers, people have said.

Read more (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=amIqBBYGRh5Q&refer=home)

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-26-08, 07:10 PM
Makes sense to me. Saturn's place as the "import fighter" seems like a moot point now because Chevrolet offers all of the same models they do, and they're most frequently compared with Honda/Nissan/Toyota/VW.

thebigjimsho
11-26-08, 08:41 PM
And Buick is sticking around...why?

Hopefully, the G8 makes it to Chevy and the Solstice/Sky makes it into another brand as well...

ryannel2003
11-26-08, 09:03 PM
Pontiac... it's been a dying brand for years, though the G8 has seen great reviews and been a great value in the marketplace. Could easily be sold as the new Impala SS.

Saturn... I've never understood why there is Chevrolet and Saturn. At one point in time, Saturn was the brand that fought Toyota and Honda. Now with Chevrolet cranking out quality vehicles, the Saturn brand is now no longer necessary.

Saab... again another brand that really needs to go. I mean they make some great vehicles, but at the same time they share too much with other GM vehicles.

I can still see why Buick is around. The Enclave has been a huge hit, and the Lucerne is an extremely nice vehicle. I was in a new one for the first time in a few months yesterday and was pleased with the quality of materials and the comfort. Just as nice as the DTS. The current LaCrosse is terrible, but the few spyshots I've seen of the new model look extremely promising.

LS1Mike
11-26-08, 09:22 PM
I believe Pontiac sells more cars then Saturn or Buick...in the US. That is why is has stayed so long.
Buick stays for one simple reason. It is the largest selling import car in China. China WILL surpass the US in demand for cars in 3 to 5 years.
If you have a Buick in China, you have made it. GM was the first import car Company to sell 1 million cars in China, most of them were Buicks.
When we, meaning not me, talk here the collective forgets GM's salers numbers are about 50% overseas (Mexico and Canada not included)
We Crazy Americans aren't the only folks who buy cars.

So if they sell, what do they get. The name? Because I don't see GM giving out Ecotec, LSX, and 3.6 designs or shared platforms with the purchase.
They would most likely just unload the brand name and call it good. I believe it may be conjecture. I can see them axing those brands but selling?
I don't know, seems like whoever buys would get nothing but a name. Which according to some here is worthless.

dkozloski
11-26-08, 09:30 PM
GM has a long history of selling engine tooling to foreign manufacturers going clear back to 235 Chevy sixes and the 90deg V6 Buick. In a bind they'd sell their first born.

Jesda
11-26-08, 09:47 PM
When GM drops a brand, sales decline.
When GM drops a historic nameplate in favor of something new, sales decline.

Lesson learned? None.

c5 rv
11-26-08, 10:09 PM
I imagine that killing a brand in an orderly manner is a very expensive process that spans a number of years. Remember the long, drawn-out death of Oldsmobile. However, I suspect that there is an immediate savings because you announce the pending end and then let the current models wither for a few years while the dealers get sorted out (paid off?). I don't know what would be cheaper: continue the brands, don't spend any real money on them, and watch sales fall at some rate; or announce their demise, don't spend any real money on them, and have sales tank.

That said, I think:

- GM invested a lot in new products for Saturn with, what I read somewhere, little or no sales increase. It failed.

- Saab got a shot in the arm when GM bought it and a bunch of GM-related folks bought Saabs on GMS. Follow the example of the GM did with Opel - end U.S. sales and let it live in Europe.

- Ending Pontiac would be a major reversal of strategy for GM. As someone mentioned elsewhere, GM has been working with the dealer community to create Buick, Pontiac, GMC stores so that the three nameplates with their models make up a single "brand". Actually a pretty smart idea, but it has been a slow process.

As for selling the nameplates, I could envision a foreign automaker that doesn't have a U.S. dealer network, like Tata, Chery, or one of the other Chinese automakers, buying Saturn or Saab to get the dealer network and transitioning the models from GM-made units to their own cars over a few years.

Blackout
11-26-08, 10:25 PM
Well this is going to be interesting to see how it unfolds. My gf's family for the most part have been working with GM for a long time. GM used to have a plant up in Trenton, NJ but when that shut down workers scattered across the country trying to find jobs at other GM plants. My gf's family went down to Tennessee and have been working in their plant at Spring Hill ever since. They mainly do Saturns but have been putting the turbo's on the turbo charged ecotecs so if they do unload Saturn then hopefully they will be able to keep their jobs if/when someone else purchases the company

LS1Mike
11-26-08, 10:37 PM
GM has a long history of selling engine tooling to foreign manufacturers going clear back to 235 Chevy sixes and the 90deg V6 Buick. In a bind they'd sell their first born.

Correct after their useful term of service.
None of the motors I mentioned are there yet. The still maintain tooling rights for the SBC for a reason DK.
Just like Mopar sold the 2.2/2.5 stuff to the Audi/VW, who made it in China, now the Chinese own it.

hueterm
11-27-08, 02:09 AM
Saturn and Saab would be ideal to sell as they typically have independent dealerships. They should get rid of GMC, move all of those trucks to Chevrolet, and have Pontiac as sports cars and Buick as traditional/near luxury cars. Chevrolet needs to be the Toyota/Honda fighter -- not Saturn...

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-27-08, 01:55 PM
What I don't understand is that since the late '60s, Chevrolet has offered cars that equal or better Pontiac's in terms of performance, but Pontiac has always been "the performance division". If that's so, then how come THEY don't have the Corvette, or how come they're not getting the 2010 Trans Am instead of the '10 Camaro...obviously GM sees Chevrolet as more of the Performance division, otherwise they would have given Pontiac these two vehicles.

orconn
11-27-08, 02:32 PM
Saturn and Saab would be ideal to sell as they typically have independent dealerships. They should get rid of GMC, move all of those trucks to Chevrolet, and have Pontiac as sports cars and Buick as traditional/near luxury cars. Chevrolet needs to be the Toyota/Honda fighter -- not Saturn...

I agree that selling Saturn and Saab have merit; both from GM's marketing and dealer standpoint, but also from a potential buyers perspective. Both have valid products a special nitch in the marketplace and each have a following which could be beneficial to a new buyer. While I have never owned either make (I have come close to owning a Saab on a couple of occasions) I know plenty of people who whave been repeat buyers.

It is much harder to make a case for saving Pontiac, as Chad points out Pontiac's "performance" and youth image is pretty much passe. Chevrolet pretty much has the youth and performance market covered for GM. To rebuild Pontiac's nitch seems to me to be a waste of GM's resources at this juncture. I will say I will miss the mark that gave alot of automotive excitement to my youthful days.

Not being a truck guy, I can't really say whether GMC has a unique nitch worth saving or not. From what little I do know about this market GMC's products seem a little redundant to Chevrolet's truck line.

hueterm
11-27-08, 11:00 PM
These dealerships are already there. They're shared (typically) w/Buick -- who for the moment isn't going anywhere. GMC should realistically be dissolved -- so what are these dealerships supposed to sell?

As to the Corvette and Camaro -- Pontiac has never had anything to rival the Corvette -- which until the XLR was always "unique". And there should be a new Trans Am.

It's all about assortment, styling, and marketing. As big as GM has been, there is no reason to go from where they were to Chevrolet, Cadillac, and a couple of Buicks. Pontiac and Buick together should make one full assortment, that is an alternative in styling to Chevrolet. Maybe Pontiac's biggest car shouldn't be the G8 -- maybe it should be the G6 (only not hideously ugly) -- and start the G8 size car out w/Buick. Both should be more upmarket than Chevrolet.

Getting rid of Oldsmobile was a shame, but it really overlapped Buick hard and there was no way that both could survive. I'm not that big a fan of Pontiac anymore -- I would prefer a Cadillac or Buick -- but it's the only one that compliments Buick enough to provide a reasonable design alternative to Chevrolet.

CadillacSTS42005
11-27-08, 11:16 PM
When GM drops a brand, sales decline.
When GM drops a historic nameplate in favor of something new, sales decline.

Lesson learned? None.

hey lets not forget
they dropped Olds so they could pump into Saab
and that was a great decision now wasnt it....
:rolleyes:

ryannel2003
11-27-08, 11:24 PM
Why GM got rid of Oldsmobile is still a mystery in my mind... I know sales were at fault, but damn had they actually designed cars that weren't anything more than rebadged Chevy's, they might have been able to save the brand. Had it been me, Pontiac would have been on the chopping block instead of Olds.

My grandfather had a dark blue '84 Cutlass Supreme with the 305 V8. Nicest damn car he has owned. Had it until '94-'95 and was totaled when he got hit by a drunk driver. Liked the car so much he bought an '87 with the V6, which was a bad choice. But he loved the '84 very much, as did I.

gary88
11-27-08, 11:42 PM
mmmmm... Pontiac...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v222/gheb88/2002-Pontiac-Bonneville-00129261990.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v222/gheb88/DSTK89LW.jpg

:drool:

Jesda
11-28-08, 12:01 AM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v222/gheb88/2002-Pontiac-Bonneville-00129261990.jpg

MOAR VENTS!

Night Wolf
11-28-08, 12:22 AM
mmmmm... Pontiac...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v222/gheb88/2002-Pontiac-Bonneville-00129261990.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v222/gheb88/DSTK89LW.jpg

:drool:

With the exception of the rubbermaid plastic.... the interior is pretty driver-orientated and setup... I like it...

As for the Aztek... I'd be careful, looking at it now, it actually looks good compared to some of the things rolling off the showroom floors.

orconn
11-28-08, 12:32 AM
With the exception of the rubbermaid plastic.... the interior is pretty driver-orientated and setup... I like it...

As for the Aztek... I'd be careful, looking at it now, it actually looks good compared to some of the things rolling off the showroom floors.

As a matter of fact, my son has a new Honda Pilot that doesn't look that much better. Don't look now the uglies have come and many have not noticed!

The whole idea of creating a class of automobile, it should be called the "vanity mini-van," for the sole purpose of deceiving soccer mom's into thinking they are sophisticated than soccer mom's who drive minivans, while in fact a minivan is the best vehicle for hauling kid's to all their activities. Much better than the station wagons of my era.

hueterm
11-28-08, 01:57 AM
The Bonneville SSEis and GXPs were VERY nice, as was my GP GTP coupe (black/camel)...

The G8 is, I'm sure, a better all around car -- but that chopped off back end is really bland. And there's no coupe option....

thebigjimsho
11-28-08, 03:42 AM
I like the Pilot...

dkozloski
11-28-08, 03:58 AM
Correct after their useful term of service.
None of the motors I mentioned are there yet. The still maintain tooling rights for the SBC for a reason DK.
Just like Mopar sold the 2.2/2.5 stuff to the Audi/VW, who made it in China, now the Chinese own it.
In a masterpiece of irony, GM bought the 90deg V6 Buick back, updated it, and now it's the 3.4L and used everywhere.

LS1Mike
11-28-08, 07:48 AM
In a masterpiece of irony, GM bought the 90deg V6 Buick back, updated it, and now it's the 3.4L and used everywhere.

Sure is, I was going to mention that. The latest generation is roller Cam motor, with update intake and gasket of course, pistions, rods, oil pump and crank.
Everything got updated in 04 or 05.

LS1Mike
11-28-08, 07:54 AM
As a matter of fact, my son has a new Honda Pilot that doesn't look that much better. Don't look now the uglies have come and many have not noticed!

The whole idea of creating a class of automobile, it should be called the "vanity mini-van," for the sole purpose of deceiving soccer mom's into thinking they are sophisticated than soccer mom's who drive minivans, while in fact a minivan is the best vehicle for hauling kid's to all their activities. Much better than the station wagons of my era.

Our Equinox does alright, not my first, second or third choice for a car, but the wife loves it and with the AWD it is pretty handy. I guess not everything needs over 400 HP to wheels and some N20 just in case. I just can't get my head wrapped around that.

I will say this for it, it is quiet, comfortable on long trips and I haven't had to do squat to it in the first 30,000 miles I have owned it.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-28-08, 09:11 AM
In a masterpiece of irony, GM bought the 90deg V6 Buick back, updated it, and now it's the 3.4L and used everywhere.


I thought the 3.4L was a throwback to those old Chevy V6's.... The 2.8L -> 3.1L -> 3.4L. I thought the 3.3L and 3.8L were the only Buick 90* V6's.


The Bonneville SSEis and GXPs were VERY nice, as was my GP GTP coupe (black/camel)...

The 1997-03 Grand Prix is one of Pontiac's best balanced designs...a great looking car.

LS1Mike
11-28-08, 10:48 AM
I thought the 3.4L was a throwback to those old Chevy V6's.... The 2.8L -> 3.1L -> 3.4L. I thought the 3.3L and 3.8L were the only Buick 90* V6's.

No your right Chad, The tooling though has been bought and sold a few times.
It acutally was based off V-4 Saab engine.
I missed the 90 degree part. It is a 60 degree. However the 3.4 dosen't share a block with the 2.8 and 3.4. It is physically larger.
The 3.1 and 3.4 get a bad rap because of the Dex Cool problem, but if you look at the ones that don't use it or have been fixed properly they run for many years.

the 2.8 and Ford 2.9 sucked because they had lightened the cranks so much to try to save fuel, they would flex under heavy load or higher up in the RPMs.


The 3800 Tooling was sold once and then repurchased as well.

RightTurn
11-28-08, 01:27 PM
I for one wouldn't miss any of those brands. Ditto for GMC...why don't they simply focus on Chevy trucks/SUVs? They need to get a lot leaner to survive.

The Tony Show
11-28-08, 02:13 PM
The basic idea behind platform sharing is to spread the cost of R&D across multiple products, which is a sound idea. Spending $100,000,000 or more to develop a new chassis, as well as purchase and build the dies and equipment to build it means that you need to sell 20,000 units (assuming a $5k profit to the factory per car) to break even. If you've got three cars out there using the same chassis, you cut that number to about 7,000 each, but run the risk of either diluting the brand or competing against yourself.

5 or 6 different versions of the same vehicle is silly, but 2 or 3 makes good business sense. Toyota has done a masterful job of "badge engineering" most of it's Lexus lineup from the bones of lesser Camrys and Avalons, and there's no reason GM should come under any more fire than they do (read: none) if they pare it down to a realistic level. I don't know all the legal ramifications involved, but I'd love to see:

-Top tier Luxury/Performance: Cadillac
-Entry/Traditional Luxury: Buick
-Performance cars/dependable transportation: Chevrolet
-Professional/HD vehicles: GMC

Lord Cadillac
11-28-08, 02:29 PM
Toyota has simply done a very good job at it. If you drive a Toyota Camry and Lexus ES back to back, you'll see a big difference in each experience.. With the Tahoe and Escalade, Lucerne and DTS or Firebird and Camaro, the difference isn't as obvious - or nearly exactly the same (Firebird/Camaro)...


Toyota has done a masterful job of "badge engineering" most of it's Lexus lineup from the bones of lesser Camrys and Avalons, and there's no reason GM should come under any more fire than they do (read: none) if they pare it down to a realistic level.

The Tony Show
11-28-08, 02:47 PM
A lot of that's perception, Sal. I've had ESs and Toyotas on my lot at the same time, and looking at them side-by-side you see the same switchgear, radios, tallights, body panels, seats, etc. In the Tahoe/Escalade at least you have a completely different engine/transmission, as well as body panel stamping all the way down to the hoods. I know there's key differences between the Toyota/Lexus, but they're no more plentiful than those in GM vehicles.

As your post proves, public perception of badge engineering is a lot harder on GM than it is on Toyota or Nissan.

LS1Mike
11-28-08, 03:02 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/81/2008_Toyota_Avalon_XLS.jpg/800px-2008_Toyota_Avalon_XLS.jpg
http://www.autospectator.com/cars/files/images/2008-Lexus-ES-350-Pebble-Beach-Edition-09.jpg

http://www.camaroz28.com/98camaross/98ss1.jpg
http://www.dragtimes.com/images/10561-2002-Pontiac-Trans-Am.jpg


I would say both of these cars look very similar to their counter part. I would disagree that Toyota does a better job, Once again perception.
I am home and board. I can find some more if you want.

MauiV
11-28-08, 03:17 PM
I really like what GM did with the Enclave/Acadia/Outlook vehicles.

The Chevy Traverse version however looks very cheap and generic. Other than the Corvette and maybe a TBSS I just dont have any intrest in Chevy anymore.

LS1Mike
11-28-08, 03:18 PM
Let me submit a few more.
http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/autoreview/400x266/2000-Pontiac-Grand-Prix-99129191990115.jpg
http://images.safeform.com/reviews/images/00chevyimpala.jpg
http://images.automotive.com/reviews/images/00buickregal.jpg

http://www.autospectator.com/cars/files/images/X08CH_CB002.jpg
http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/autoreview/400x266/2005-07-Pontiac-G6-05129491990003.jpg

http://www.creativejock.net/blog/08malibu.jpg
http://media.mpgomatic.com/images/08_saturn_aura_xr-530.jpg

LS1Mike
11-28-08, 03:20 PM
http://www.horizonluxurycars.com/used_cars_images/2004_Lexus_ES_330.jpg
http://www.horizonluxurycars.com/used_cars_images/2004_Toyota_Avalon.jpg

I would venture to say people see what they want to see. If you ask me all sedans looks pretty similar these days.
That is how to sell stuff, keep it bland and unassuming. Ah mediocrity. The only way to excel. :(

orconn
11-28-08, 04:00 PM
I agree with LS1Mike, the styling of all the new cars, regardless of price class has really gotten geneic. I still believe the vast majority of car buyers purchase decisions are based on perceptions (not reality) of value and nametag prestige value within their socioeconomic group. Only a truly outstanding departure from, the original Lexus LS400 and perhaps, today, the Hyandai Genesis, status quo will bring about new status for a brand.

RightTurn
11-28-08, 04:12 PM
I really like what GM did with the Enclave/Acadia/Outlook vehicles.

The Chevy Traverse version however looks very cheap and generic. Other than the Corvette and maybe a TBSS I just dont have any intrest in Chevy anymore.

Ya, but why so MANY of them?? I've read that the next gen Escalade may be the same. :gah:

gary88
11-28-08, 04:32 PM
Here's my favorite

http://images.automotive.com/reviews/images/99escalade.jpg

http://www.edmunds.com/pictures/VEHICLE/2000/GMC/2463/2000.gmc.yukondenali.4510-396x249.jpg

hueterm
11-28-08, 05:19 PM
The orig Denali looked really nice. The orig 'Lade looks idiotic w/that tiny grille emblem.

LS1Mike
11-28-08, 05:23 PM
I'll see your GM stuff and raise you Toyota and Nissian
Since these are from the same time frame
http://www.theautochannel.com/media/photos/infinity/1997/97_infiniti_qx4_4wd_4dr.jpg
http://www.usedcars.com/Imageserver/Chrome/1997/7212.jpg

http://www.automedia.com/NewCarBuyersGuide/photos/2006/Nissan/Armada/SUV/2006_Nissan_Armada_ext_1.jpg
http://www.automedia.com/NewCarBuyersGuide2008/photos/2008/Infiniti/QX56/SUV/2008_Infiniti_QX56_ext_1.jpg

http://www.automedia.com/NewCarBuyersGuide2007/photos/2007/Lexus/GX%20470/SUV/2007_Lexus_GX470_ext_1.jpg
http://www.caradvice.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/2007ToyotaPradoTurboDiesel.jpg
and the Toyota ones are from 2007. Not to much of a difference there.
They all do it. Some companies just get chastised more.
The stuff sells because of image, the people who by the Lexus vs the Toyota do becuase they want a Lexus.
Same goes for the Escalade vs Tahoe vs Yukon Denali

The Tony Show
11-28-08, 05:25 PM
Humongoid grill emblems didn't become vogue until 2002/2003. Those original Escalades were definitely badge engineering at it's worst as GM scrambled to jump on the "Luxury SUV" bandwagon that Lincoln started with the Navigator. Come to think of it, ALL of the early Luxury sport/utes were a rebadged joke, from the Navigator (Expedition) to the Lexus LX470 (Land Cruiser):

http://images.securedwebform.com/reviews/images/00landcruiser.jpg
http://images.securedwebform.com/reviews/images/00lexuslx470.jpg

LS1Mike
11-28-08, 05:43 PM
So my point is this. Does GM have to many brands yes. Are they the worst brand engineers. I should say not.
Eye of the beholder. I don't like to behold import nameplates. :D That dosen't mean they don't make a good vehicle, just means I THINK they get more credit then they deserve.

The Tony Show
11-28-08, 05:45 PM
Agreed, Mike.