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This is How and Why Pontiac was Killed by General Motors

This is How and Why Pontiac was Killed by General Motors

February 5, 2023 Off By ShowBiz editor

Auto - Show Biz clinic originally published at Auto - Show Biz clinic

Pontiac’s demise was much lamented, but the reality was the brand was in a bad place and General Motors itself was suffering bankruptcy in 2009.

For many years, Pontiac was one of the leading automotive companies in the United States. It was owned by General Motors for most of its existence, until it vanished in 2010. After some financial problems, General Motors attempted to restructure the brand. Pontiac was a beloved brand in America and its demise was widely mourned. Pontiac had produced many iconic cars over the years, including the GTO and Trans Am.

Many believed that GM was wrong to end the Pontiac. Many of its fans believed that Buick should have been expelled. Despite rumors of a revival, many are still upset that Pontiac has passed away. Pontiac was actually killed by GM for sound reasons. Even though many people thought it was unfair, there are still some who believe its demise was justifiable. It has been over 10 years since Pontiac’s death, but it still feels like yesterday to many. Pontiac was in pain, and it was probably the best thing to do.

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The Final Years of Its Existence Were Hard For Pontiac

2003 Pontiac Aztek Side View-1
via Pontiac

It is important to understand the pain Pontiac went through in its final years. Pontiac had been around since 1926. In 1931, General Motors bought it. It quickly became Chevrolet’s sister brand. It was a high-performance vehicle manufacturer and was also regarded as GM’s performance division for many years. Pontiac was no longer a success.

In the last few years of its existence, it had become less profitable. Pontiac was in the direct line when GM began to think about its future. GM was in financial trouble and declared bankruptcy in 2009. This was a shock for the largest carmaker in America and a wake up call for the brand. President Obama had called for sacrifices to be made in order to make a smaller carmaker. And as it too was suffering, Pontiac was right in the line of fire when it came to GM making some tough decisions about its brands.

Poor Sales Meant Pontiac Never Stood A Chance

2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Edition Lineup At Daytona
via Pontiac

Pontiac had become unprofitable in those last few years of its existence. It was also selling rebadged Chevrolet cars. These were also sold at a lower cost than the Chevrolet vehicles they actually sell. It was able to undercut perhaps the main GM brand. It was also selling these vehicles at a lower cost, which meant it was making its own losses. It was a double blow for the brand and it was clear that the end was near. Buick was not going to be axed, despite being a GM brand.

GM claimed that Buick earned a billion dollars a yearly, while Pontiac lost the exact same amount. The other important factor was how large Buick was in China. It was huge. It is still a major market for GM, Buick, and the company competes with Mercedes-Benz in China. Buick sells more products than it does in China, even though it is still in existence in the United States. GM never considered killing Buick off. Pontiac was the only option.

Pontiac’s demise was lamented by Gearheads Worldwide

1967 Pontiac GTO Front Quarter View
via mecum auctions

. The brand’s demise was widely lamented, not only in America but around the globe. The legends of cars like the GTO or the Firebird were made. It was making cars that could compete with Ford’s finest and looked great. However, things quickly went south. This was due to inferior build quality and rebadged Chevrolets. Pontiac quickly went from one of the best car companies in the United States, to one of the biggest jokes.

RELATED: 10 Coolest Pontiacs Ever Made

Pontiac Was Doomed As The 21st Century Emerged

2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe Front Quarter View
via Pontiac

The reality was that the brand was quite clearly doomed as the 21st century dawned. It was also competing in the same overall brand for cars in the same segment. GM should not have more than four or five divisions that sell the same cars. Obama’s comments could not be more true. Pontiacs are no longer bought by anyone. Even those who loved them so much. Pontiac should have been ended in 2009, when GM was in financial trouble. It was still badly missed in 2023. But it really never stood a chance.

Sources: GM Authority, Power Nation, Pontiac

Auto - Show Biz clinic originally published at Auto - Show Biz clinic