GM Bids Farewell to the Pontiac

zzpontiac
A novel use for the Firebird.

GM revealed today that it will phase out the Pontiac brand by 2010. From the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090427-709022.html

General Motors Corp. (GM) said Monday it will cut 21,000 hourly jobs and eliminate its Pontiac brand by the end of next year as part of a stepped-up restructuring plan.

The company said it will focus on four core brands in the U.S. – Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC – as it looks to make fewer different models and focus on product development programs. Production of the Pontiac brand will end by next year.

“You have a strategy that wins or you have to stop,” (one official) said. “We didn’t have a strategy that allowed us to win with the Pontiac brand.”

My first car was a Pontiac Grand Am SE Coupe. I intermittently called her White Lightning (when I was able to hit the governor on freeway straightaways) and P.O.S. (the many times I had to take her to the shop). In ten years together, we gathered 10 speeding tickets, three new radiators, two new sets of spark plugs, and innumerable quirks not worth fixing. For example, the fact that her headlights went off momentarily every time I turned on the windshield wipers.

I eventually sold her for $400 and bought a Honda. I don’t regret the move, but I do miss the days when I could race around in White Lightning without worrying about something falling off. My Honda saves me repair costs and speeding tickets, but it lacks the Pontiac’s edge, which, between repair bills, could be rather exciting.

It is sad to lose a classic American brand, even if its quality suffered in recent years.