R.I.P. Pontiac

Apr 27, 2009

GM Slashing 23,000 Jobs, Entire Brand

To avoid bankruptcy, General Motors confirmed today that it will cut 23,000 U.S. factory jobs as well as its 83-year-old Pontiac line by next year, according to CNNMoney.com.

The move will take GM down from 47 factories to 34 by the end of next year,
to allow for a government mandated restructuring and much-needed focus on its core brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

The article quoted Kevin Smith, editorial director for Edmunds.com as saying, “There was a time, a long way back now, when you knew exactly what Pontiac stood for. Pontiac’s lack of focus as a brand may finally have brought its demise. That’s just death in a marketplace where there’s so much competition and so much quality,” he said.

Once hailed as GM’s “Excitement Division,” the brand with long-gone glorified models — like the
60’s Tempest GTO and late 60’s and 70’s Firebird Trans Am — added decades of gas-guzzling muscle, machismo and, yes, mustaches to America’s roads.

Now with GM backed into a corner and ready to
slash 40% of its dealer network, a proposed $27 billion bondholder debt-for-stock swap on a table, and no clear hero to save the day or the industry, one has to wonder: What would The Bandit do? And could he do it in a Buick?