In an unsurprising move, GM announced that they are killing Pontiac. I think it is amazing that Pontiac has survived this long. They produced very few good cars since the end of the muscle car era. For the past several decades, they have been known for poor designs that are ugly and hard to work on. They seem to have attempted to increase shop business by making even minor repairs annoying enough no one even wants to try. Many of their cars have surprisingly little usable space for their size. Pontiac may have even beat AMC for the Ugliest car “award.” Despite these problems some Pontiac models–such as the Grand Am–have been surprisingly popular. Pontiac did manage to produce a couple good cars in the past few years: the Vibe and maybe the Solstice. I am a fan of the Vibe. It is fairly well designed, drives well, and gets good mileage. It is one of the more practical cars sold in the US. The Vibe is a Toyota Matrix with a slightly different body, so we won’t be loosing a good model when Pontiac closes. I think the Solstice looks like a good car, but have never driven or worked on one, so I can’t say for sure. With the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice on the way out, I wonder if the Opel GT will remain in production. I hope Pontiac’s demise clears the way for more good cars to be introduced in the US.
Further reading: For Pontiac, Quality Comes Too Late (NY Times)