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Farewell to the last Pontiac for the US market

by Steven Brown
Farewell to the last Pontiac for the US market

Farewell to the last Pontiac for the US market

At 12:45 pm on Thursday, November 26, Michigan time, the last Pontiac produced for the American market, a Pontiac G6 sedan, left the assembly line at the Orion Township plant.


No cake cutting or group photos with employees celebrated the event and no journalist was able to be present and baptize the birth of the specimen. Only a few technicians in charge of the control of the last 100 units of the G6 that left the plant were present. The car in question is part of a fleet order. In the Mexican plant of the GM brand, the production of the Pontiac G3 Wave (a model sold exclusively on the Canadian market) will continue for a few more weeks. With its interruption, it will be possible to declare the activity of the American company completely ceased.
In short, it is difficult to celebrate in the face of the awareness that the American brand is hurrying up last operations before closing. The death of the Pontiac brand, in fact, was decreed last April by the top management of General Motors as part of its restructuring plan to get out of the serious crisis it is going through.


Pontiac has a long and successful history. Its origins are lost in the mists of time of the events of world motoring. Its birth can be traced back to the first decade of the 1900s as a division of the Oakland Motor Car Company of the city of Pontiac, Michigan (which in 1908 had merged with the Pontiac Spring & Wagon Works Company). General Motors acquired Oakland Motor Co in 1909 but it was not until 1926 for the debut of that first car bearing the Pontiac coat of arms at the New York Auto Show.


Its cars immediately became very popular, to the point that in the early 1960s it became the third largest American brand by sales volume after Chevrolet and Ford. . The absolute best sales result was in 1984 when 850,000 units were sold in one year. In the collective imagination, the first “historical recognition” worldwide was obtained in 1964, the year of the introduction of the Pontiac GTO, considered the first American muscle car ever and which gave way to a very prolific production current, followed with interest by all the main manufacturers of the Federation. Three years later, another icon of overseas motorsport made its debut on the scene, remaining there until 2002: the Firebird. How not to forget, then, the Trans-Am in the role of KITT of the television series of the 80s Supercar played by David Hasselhoff.


According to some, Pontiac’s decline began in the 1970s with the severe oil crisis, an event that reshaped the geographies of many production sectors. With the onset of the spread of small-displacement cars, increased competition and a general scarcity of brand identity began the erosion of the customer base and the gradual cessation of production of many models (Bonneville, Grand Prix, Firebird, and Grand Am).

During the 90s General Motors tried several times to give new life with new proposals with a sporty soul such as the G8 sedan and the Solstice alongside more popular models (G3, G5, and Torrent). All of which, however, suffered from an excessive similarity to similar Chevrolet cars. Relegated to an image, not in keeping with its past, too focused on fleets, Pontiac has not been able to recover from its slow decline and within a few weeks, after an estimated 41 million cars are produced, its inexorable destiny will be fulfilled.

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