Future of Pontiac G8 ST Under Review, Pontiac G3 Still Set to Launch
December 15, 2008
When GM announced its long-term viability plan two weeks ago, Pontiac enthusiasts breathed a sigh of relief as they learned that the brand would more than likely be consolidated, not killed entirely. GM's plan for Pontiac is to transform it into a smaller, niche brand with fewer models. Today, the future of the brand became a little bit clearer, but the image may not be what some had hoped for. GM announced today that while the new Chevrolet Aveo-based G3 will hit showrooms as planned in the spring, the future of the G8 ST is being reconsidered.
"We are having lots of discussions," Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC, told Automotive News. "We would be foolish if we didn't take a second look at whether or not that is the right thing to do."
As the brand is already short on unique models, enthusiasts will likely argue that it would be "foolish" not to bring out the G8 ST. The concept, which like the G8 itself is based on a Holden model, debuted to mixed reviews earlier this year at the New York Auto Show. After a seemingly pointless naming contest in which the "ST" placeholder name won out, Pontiac set an on sale date for late 2009. While the G8 ST is expected to be a niche vehicle for the niche brand, Pontiac only expects to sell around 5000 copies per year and GM is likely concerned that with only a 361-hp V-8 available, the car may not resonate with fuel efficiency-conscious buyers.
The one bit of good news coming out of this announcement is that the G3 will have a short lifespan. We've argued on more than one occasion that the car has no place in Pontiac's line up, and GM appears to understand that. According to GM, the G3 is a short-term solution meant to draw in buyers who are most concerned with affordability and fuel efficiency, but the company has no long-term plans for the nameplate.
"We always knew that the G3 was a bridge strategy: We told that to our dealers," said Docherty. "This will help us through this period of time where fuel efficiency and affordability are the two top reasons for people who are purchasing in that segment of the market. It will fill a void for us on a short-term basis. We needed it in the economic environment we are in, but the G3 does have a limited life cycle."