: GM's Plan To Save Pontiac And Buick

06-03-05, 12:46 AM
"General Motors' new strategy for its six vehicle lines sandwiched between Chevrolet and Cadillac makes sense: narrowly focused lineups and fewer copycat models in each division. In some ways, this is already taking place. For example, U.S. Pontiac dealers are not getting a new small car to replace the Sunfire, nor am I aware of a big sedan in the works to replace the Bonneville when it is discontinued.

Pontiac and Buick can be saved, but I'm not enthusiastic about one part of GM's new plan, which is to combine Pontiac, Buick and GMC dealerships. Even with smaller lineups, the dealers end up with too many models to display and stock. Another concern: The customers for such dealerships cover too broad a demographic range. Next, GM can't avoid building different vehicles from common underbodies, but this shouldn't mean badge engineering. The trick is to give each vehicle a distinct identity while holding down costs with a common platform. GM once knew how to do this. It's what made it the great automaker that it was.

When Pontiac was in trouble in the 1950s, Semon 'Bunkie' Knudsen took over the division and saved it. He built high performance cars, such as the first Bonneville, and took Pontiac racing to make the point. Pontiac became a winner. A quarter century later, Pontiac was in trouble again, but Bill Hoglund took over the division and brought it back to life. He figured out that Pontiac should be a "driver's car," meaning driving excitement. Again it worked. And in between Knudsen and Hoglund's reigns, there was John Delorean, who built the first GTO."

Looks like they might get back on track by eliminating a few models, etc...Ben, this should make you happy. ;) (the elimination of overlapping models) I guess they have to try something at this point.


06-03-05, 03:04 AM

06-03-05, 03:54 AM

What of it?

06-03-05, 04:06 AM
nor am I aware of a big sedan in the works to replace the Bonneville when it is discontinued.

Well for all intents and purposes that's the G8.

It's just a few people here who think Pontiac or Buick should be dropped. I don't think GM will make the mistake of offing a big brand again, especially so soon after the death of Oldsmobile. They might consider Saab or Isuzu, but I don't think Pontiac or Buick are going anywhere any time soon.

06-03-05, 04:09 AM
Well for all intents and purposes that's the G8.

According to this, they aren't going to produce it possibly until '07/'08. But who knows if they will in the end, and that's the speculation at this point it seems. (due to overlap)


They could just sell Saab and Isuzu back to the Sweedish and Japanese.

06-03-05, 08:06 AM
Interesting plan. Seems they learned that you piss people off and lose billions when you kill a revered brand.

06-03-05, 09:53 AM
Chevrolet and Cadillac will become "foundational" brands with the broadest car and truck portfolios. (http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0506/03/C01-202702.htm)

Buick sales are down 17 percent this year and GM told dealers that Buick's product portfolio will be trimmed down to four or five vehicles from eight. The vehicles most likely to be cut are the Rendezvous crossover vehicle and the Rainier, a midsize sport utility vehicle.


Jim Bunnell, North-Central regional manager, and Pete Gerosa, GM North America Vice President field sales, service and parts, said Chevrolet will likely market 23 to 26 models, while Cadillac's portfolio will consist of nine to 11 models. Chevrolet now offers 20 models, not counting medium duty trucks and certain derivative model such as Cobolt SS. Cadillac sells nine models, not including high-performance versions.

Hummer will market four to five different models, up from three choices. Saab's product line will have five to seven models, up from its current four, according to dealers attending the meeting.

Collectively, the Pontiac, GMC and Saturn brands will have 22-27 models, GM executives told dealers, without providing details. The three brands sell 18 distinct vehicles and plan to produce at least four additional models.

So far, so good. Now if they can only stick to their diet. ;)

06-03-05, 10:55 AM
I think a big problem is the midsize SUV (TrailBlazer, Envoy, etc.) being duplicated to Buick and Isuzu, etc. It kills the prestige of a model like the Buick and steals sales from Chevy and GMC. Duplication is fine if there's a market for it (just look at the old Tornado/Riviera/Eldo), but that duplication has to be sharing parts...styling needs to be VASTLY different. Who wants their ritzy car to look like something that's $10,000 less????

06-05-05, 01:01 AM
Well for all intents and purposes that's the G8.

If I'm not mistaken, I thought the G8 was more of a replacement for the Grand Prix? Not really the Big Bonnie, but it will probably replace both in the end?

06-05-05, 03:55 AM
The G8 is replacing the Gran Prix, but Pontiac expects it to make up for the lost Bonneville sales too. It will basically be a larger version of the G6, with (probably) more emphasis on being a family sedan while still being performance oriented (i.e. it will probably have the N*).

In the meantime, GM expects the Buick Lucerne to make up for Bonneville lost sales until the G8 drops in 2007/8.

I told y'all it was gonna happen - GM was going to get rid of these overlapper cars and consolidate the brands. Right now their main problem is with the midsize SUV and the minivan.

Pontiac needs to lose the Montana and the Aztek, and Buick needs to lose the Rainer and the Terraza. That would leave Buick with 3 cars(Lucerne, LaSabre, LaCrosse) and an SUV(Rendezvous) and Pontiac with about 5 cars: The Vibe, Solstice, G6, G8, and GTO.

I still don't see the need for Buick, especially since GM is pushing for Saturn to become a more upscale, hip brand with the Aura and Sky. I suppose old people who can't afford Cadillacs will want Buicks though...:rolleyes: I think that if they follow my advice:lildevil:, then GM will have a pretty distinct lineup for each of their brands, the the unnecesary overlapping will be a thing of the past.:coolgleam

06-05-05, 05:43 AM
An upscale Saturn just doesn't sit right with me. Kind of like when I ate three chorizo burittos and drank a bunch of hot sauce. That didn't sit right either. Saturn should've kept more to its original intent of fighting the inexpensive imports.

06-05-05, 11:31 AM
Overlapping is not the issue, it's overlapping the overlapping overlappers.

If Chevy builds a fullsized sedan, there is no reason why Buick or Pontiac shouldn't have a better equipped or sportier version. But not both of them, for every single truck or car Chevy makes!

I'd make Pontiac the tuner division of Chevy or better yet, the American Holden with attitude, and Buick would be the conservative entry level luxury common mans division of Chevy.

Chevy would be well engineered, good basic transportation, well equiped, but not overly equiped. They would offer performance on the cheap on certain 'heritage' models, and leave others for Pontiac. Buick would never again, have a sports car or a performance car. They would also never again have a truck based SUV.

Cadillac should always be on the cutting edge of design and technology, and never offer anything under the CTS in size. It also needs to further distance the design of it's SUV's from the Chevy's. The SRX needs some more sex appeal, and a supercharger.

I'd probablly add Hummer to the Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealer. Hummer would be to GMC, what Buick is to Pontiac. A non competing, complimentary brand.

I'd merge the R&D of Saturn and Saab into Opel/Vauxhal. Saturn would be the American entry level, european car, while Saab would be the 'Buick' of Saturn.

The Pontiac R&D could be part of Holden, leaving Buick to work with Chevrolets R&D.

Not sure what to do with Suzuki, Izusu, Subaru or Daewoo. Maybe they should all be merged, with Suzuki the cheap entry level, Izusu SUV's and trucks, and Subaru continuing their move into the entry level luxury market. Let Suzuki swallow Daewoo.

GM does have too many brands, but more important, they are all acting much too independantly and overlapping on their R&D. And this is very costly.

They should redefine each divisions role for their global R&D. America isn't that unique of a market, to where Asia can't engineer the next GM 4 cylinder or Europe the Diesil, or Cadillac the mulitvalve V6 or Chevy the pushrod V8.

It's all doable. The question is, will managment fight to do the right thing, and will the unions help them overcome the obstacles to compete.

If you think the answer is yes, invest into GM stock today while it's cheap.

DopeStar 156
06-05-05, 12:52 PM
I just saw a commercial for some big GM sale on all the 05 cars calld "GM Employee DIscount for Everyone." I guess this means everyone who walks in is elligable for X-Plan on any 05. This will certainly boost their sales.