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DETROIT — Pontiac could be betting its survival on a gradual shift to rear-wheel-drive cars and a renewed emphasis on performance, although the future of the troubled brand still hangs in the balance.

Motown Buzz:

Pontiac May Go RWD Across Its Line To Promote Performance
Date posted: 05-30-2006




The 2006 Pontiac GTO is rear-drive but it's still being phased out of Pontiac's product line.
It may play a role in the future of the brand after a redesign, however. (Photo courtesy of Pontiac)




According to a report in industry trade publication Automotive News, General Motors executives are building a business case to revive and save the brand, similar to the strategy that GM adopted for Cadillac and is in the process of implementing at Saturn.

Pontiac gradually would eliminate trucks, vans and SUVs from its lineup and would phase out front-wheel-drive cars over the next five years, according to the publication.

Among the future products under consideration for Pontiac's evolving portfolio are a rear-wheel-drive successor to the Grand Prix sedan and a potential GTO replacement based on the upcoming Chevrolet Camaro.

At the moment, Pontiac sells only two rear-wheel-drive models: the Solstice roadster and the GTO coupe. The GTO is being phased out of the U.S. market at the end of this year, and there is no immediate successor on the boards.


If Pontiac shifts into rear-wheel drive, the 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP (pictured)
will not be the only RWD car in the future lineup. (Photo courtesy of Pontiac)

Pontiac is plugging what it perceives to be a gap in its current portfolio this fall when it adds a sibling to the Chevrolet Cobalt, a front-wheel-drive compact called the G5 Pursuit.

But the G5 apparently is a short-timer in the Pontiac lineup. It will likely be phased out by 2010 as the brand begins to add new rear-drive performance models.

In the meantime, several other Pontiac products will also be dropped without replacements, including the Torrent crossover (a near clone of the Chevrolet Equinox) at the end of model year 2009, and the Montana minivan later this year. The compact Vibe, which shares its platform with the Toyota Matrix, is also expected to be phased out later in the decade.

GM has a replacement for the front-drive G6 penciled in for 2010, but those plans could shift, depending on how quickly it wants to convert the Pontiac portfolio to rear-wheel drive.

The Grand Prix currently is scheduled to end production at the end of model year 2008, according to suppliers. GM has considered giving Pontiac both a sport sedan and a coupe off the new Zeta-based platform that will underpin the 2009 Camaro.

The Pontiac cars would get distinctive sheet metal and possibly different names. The GTO badge might be revived on a sporty coupe in 2009. But GM sources say planners are resisting a suggestion to revive the Firebird name because Pontiac wants to better differentiate its future products from Chevrolet and does not want simply to sell a clone of the new Camaro.

Pontiac reportedly is considering the G8 name on the sport sedan since the performance-oriented four-door would be engineered to accommodate a high-output, small-displacement V8, according to GM sources.

The Automotive News report said Pontiac will unveil a rear-drive concept sedan in January at the 2007 Detroit show. The sedan supposedly will reflect the evolving design language for the brand and hint at future production models.

What this means to you: There may not be a Firebird in Pontiac's future, but look for a decided shift toward more performance.
 

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The statement that keeps echoing into my thoughts is "a potential GTO replacement based on the upcoming Chevrolet Camaro."

I don't like the new Camaro! I like Pontiac Styling, I always have if they want to go retro do it in the same manner that the Challenger was done, that I like. And I think it would be really neat to see some the the older body styles come back into a slightly updated version.

If they want to save Pontiac, why don't they ask the public what they want instead of trying to guess what would sell.

Monica
 

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gto_lady04 said:
The statement that keeps echoing into my thoughts is "a potential GTO replacement based on the upcoming Chevrolet Camaro."

I don't like the new Camaro! I like Pontiac Styling, I always have if they want to go retro do it in the same manner that the Challenger was done, that I like. And I think it would be really neat to see some the the older body styles come back into a slightly updated version.

If they want to save Pontiac, why don't they ask the public what they want instead of trying to guess what would sell.

Monica
I think that when they say that they are talking more about what goes into the car (engine, transmission, etc) then looks and interior styling.
 

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I think that when they say that they are talking more about what goes into the car (engine, transmission, etc) then looks and interior styling.
No telling what the old goats will say about this. I got a feeling no matter what they put out many folks will hate it. I'm happy with my O6.:willy:
 
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