The Disappeared Car Brand -- Pontiac History (3)
- 20 Jul, 2019
The energy crisis led to the transformation of Pontiac and gradually develop toward small-displacement family cars.In 1970, the US government began to interfere with the unrestricted development of the high-emission car in the US auto industry. They think that the horsepower of these cars is too powerful, and the brake system is simply ineffective. Moreover, such vehicles are difficult to handle and the tires are overloaded, which easily leads to traffic accidents. In response, the US auto insurance industry has greatly increased the insured amount and insurance conditions of muscle cars. This move has made many potential buyers of muscle cars have to consider their wallets and think twice. At the same time, there was a gradual emergence of an energy crisis.
Since 1988, besides Firebird and Fiero, all of Pontiac's models have changed to the front-drive platform. At that time, the main models produced by Pontiac were Pontiac 6000 and Tempest Storm (which launched Third-generation models in 1988-1991), Bonneville, Grand Prix, LeMans Le Mans, Catalina, Safari, Sunbird, etc. It is precise because of the change in driving style that Pontiac owners become younger. From 1981 to 1988, the average age of Pontiac owners dropped from 46 years old to 38 years old.
The brand began to decline gradually, and the general platform strategy led to Pontiac losing its self.
In the 1990s, GM vigorously promoted the platform strategy, which gradually let its brands lost their individuality. In particular, Pontiac, a distinctive brand, has been hit harder. Consumers found that Pontiac, which they bought, was almost the same as a Chevrolet or Oldsmobile, except for headlights, car grille, wheels, and the other appearance parts.
After 1990, Pontiac began to slow in the development of new cars. Between 1990 and 2000, only two new models, Trans Sport and Sunfire, were introduced. Both were built on the same platform as GM's other brands. Trans Sport was launched in 1990 by Pontiac and is an MPV model that was built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Lumina APV and the Oldsmobile Silhouette. Its power is equipped with three V6 engines: 3.1L, 3.4L, and 3.8L. It officially ceased production in 1999. The Sunfire is a compact model that was introduced in 1995 to replace the Sunbird. The model and Chevrolet Cavalier were built on the J platform as the same. The power was equipped with 2.2L, 2.3L and 2.4 four-cylinder engines in the early stage. By 2002, Sunfire was equipped with GM's famous 2.2L Ecotec series engine, which had a maximum power of 140 hp (104 kW), and this model was eventually discontinued in 2005.
The brand eventually dies, and the 2009 financial crisis is the cause of brand death.
Grand Prix, Bonneville, and Montana were upgraded to new a generation before they were discontinued. The Grand Prix launched its seventh-generation model in 2004. It is produced on the same platform as the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It is powered by three engines, 3.8L naturally aspirated, 3.8L turbocharged, and 5.3L V8. In 2000, Bonneville launched its last generation (the tenth generation), which is produced on the same platform as the Oldsmobile Aurora and Buick New Century. The power is equipped with 3.8L V6 and 4.6L V8. In 2008 and 2009, Pontiac also launched the G8 as the successor to Bonneville, which was produced by Australian General Motors Horton. It is equivalent to the Pontiac version of Horton VE Commodore. It was powered by 3.6LV6, 6.0LV8, 6.2LV8 engines, and the power of the strongest 6.2L engine has reached 415 horsepower.
In 2009, GM was hit hard financially by the subprime crisis. To apply for aid from the United States Federal Government, GM declared bankruptcy protection. Pontiac, Hummer, Saab, and Saturn being declared that would be canceled after restructured. The models produced by the Pontiac brand at that time will all be discontinued by the end of 2010, while Pontiac sales volume was 151,818 vehicles in 2009.
Until 2010, before the Pontiac brand disappeared. Pontiac's several new models of the G3, G5, G6, G8, Torrent, and Vibe were still in produced. In order not to waste resources (technical and parts, etc.), GM has incorporated these models into the four remaining brands, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. So far a historical brand that has been established for a hundred years has officially closed down.
Throughout the centuries-old history of Pontiac, it has indeed played an indispensable role in the history of the development of the automotive industry. Especially in the era when the muscle car was popular, it brought us such a popular model as the Pontiac GTO and the Pontiac Firebird. However, the strategy of Buick multiple brands produce in the same platform and the subprime mortgage crisis in 2009 finally pushed the brand to the abyss of extinction.