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Will GM Ever Bring Back the Pontiac Brand?



When it comes to American performance cars, one brand that many motorists remember is Pontiac. The brand ended in 2010 after a wonderful 84-year run.

To say that Pontiac’s demise saddened car enthusiasts is an understatement. During its heydays in the 60s, the Pontiac formed the so-called Big Three in the United States alongside Chevy and Ford. It also spawned classics like the GTO and Trans-Am. Its peak hit the 70s when General Motors was able to sold nearly a million units in 1973.

Pontiac was known for its high performance cars sold at reasonable prices. But it became irrelevant during the last few years of its existence. Aside from being unprofitable, the brand was also affected by the severe financial problems that GM experienced in 2008 which led to its bankruptcy a year later.

Moreover, Pontiac was also selling rebadged Chevrolet cars at a lower price than Chevrolet. It was not only affecting its sales, but also undercutting the Chevy brand.

Ever since the untimely demise of the Pontiac, there have been rumors swirling about the possibility of GM bringing back the brand. In 2015, there were photographs showing a new model of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that went viral. The purported new version of the classic car turned out to be a hoax, as the photos showed a Hurst Edition Trans Am created by a Florida-based firm.

Despite being gone since 2010, the popularity of the Pontiac brand remains sky-high. In fact, many younger buyers still prefer to buy certain Pontiac models.

Recently, an Edmunds survey showed that the Pontiac Aztek was one of the top 10 cars that Millennial buyers are buying. Millennial buyers are those who are in the 18 to 34 years old bracket. The Aztek is widely regarded as one of the ugliest cars ever. According to Edmunds, the popularity of the hit TV shot Breaking Bad may have something to do with it. The main character of the show had a Pontiac Aztek.

Chances of a Pontiac Return

But if you were to ask officials of General Motors, they would likely tell you that the company has no plans at all of bringing back the Pontiac brand regardless of the public clamor.

In 2014, GM CEO Mary Barra said the firm does not miss the brands that were discontinued during the company’s bankruptcy. These include the Pontiac, Hummer, Saab, and Saturn.

Thus, you can bet that none of these brands will be revived by General Motors, at least until the lady head honcho is in power.

Still, this does not mean the GM is totally ignoring Pontiac buyers. According to the company’s spokesperson, General Motor consistently communicates with Pontiac buyers. They are informed of new GM models, aside from being offered incentives to stay with the company.

While GM has been tight lipped about the reasons why it would no longer bring back the Pontiac, many observers point out that the company’s financial woes would prevent it from even thinking of bringing back the dead brand, so to speak.

GM has been struggling as of late. In the first three months of 2015, the company announced a $3.3 billion loss due to weak US vehicle demand. It also said plant shutdowns due to a supplier strike and losses of a partly owned finance company contributed to its poor financial performance.

The largest automaker in the US also cut its sales outlook for the year. Earlier, GM said it was also cutting production of several of its slow-selling SUVs.

With GM losing money, it makes no sense for the company to spend millions of dollars in putting up a new brand. All the money that would go to hiring designers, buying office space, negotiating with suppliers, among others, can be spent on the existing vehicles of the company.

Another potential reason why GM won’t bring back the Pontiac is because the firm no longer wants a repeat of history. One of the reasons why the firm suffered bankruptcy was having so many brands. Observers noted that the company lost its focus having eight brands under its umbrella. In 2009, GM dropped Pontiac along with Hummer and Saturn in a bid to become more competitive.

Smaller companies like Hyundai are even doing better than the iconic GM. Hyundai, for instance, only has two divisions.

With only four brands to concentrate on, General Motors has gotten its focus back. Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC are the four brands of GM, and even with just four divisions it is still running into financial woes. It would be hard to imagine GM reincarnating the Pontiac just to be able to satisfy its hardcore fans. At this point, the idea of GM bringing back the Pontiac brand seems unlikely. But we’ll never know.

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  1. John M. Eyman

    July 14, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Pontiac is a true icon and legend, has all kinds of true and loyal fans, the ones of us who have always felt special when we are cruising down the roadways in our favorite car brand! It would be totally awesome General Motors the day you announce Pontiac is back-back in production. We all know that day will come- Pontiac is too special and unique, not to be back in production and back on the road. I and we all love you Pontiac, and will look forward to a Pontiac dealer to go to again one of these days.

  2. Moanalua

    August 15, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    John, I was so glad to read your post. To this day, Pontiac has been the only brand of vehicle I’ve ever owned. If I didn’t think Pontiac was special, I would have switched to a different brand, but that has never happened. I’m very heartened that you are certain that Pontiac will return; I certainly hope it does, and the sooner the better. Thank-you again for your post; it’s so nice to hear from other loyal Pontiac fans.

  3. KEvin

    March 26, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    GM struggling has nothing to do with the number brands. Make a great vehicle for a good price that looks good and you WILL sell it. The problem was, is and will continue to be the fact that GM pays too much to build their vehicles, are put together like crap, are generally ugly, not really what the people are clamoring for. Rebranding a Chevrolet and selling it as a Pontiac was not only galactically stupid but also incredibly lazy.
    Brand mismanagement was, is, and most likely continue to be an issue for GM. The Hummer started out as a fantastic civilian version of a military vehicle. GM turned it into a plastic pile of crap. Pontiac and Saturn were finally making some cool looking and decent performing vehicles just before they were killed off, but for far to many years they were selling ugly, slow, garbage vehicles.

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