GM Gives Pontiac Brand the Ax and Continues Efforts to Sell Saturn.

DETROIT, April 24, 2009 -- General Motors announced today its intention to abandon the Pontiac brand by 2010 in its restructuring efforts to become more profitable and qualify for federal assistance.

By ceasing to produce the entire Pontiac line of products, General Motors (GM) hopes to save significant funds and other resources required for product production and supporting the brand.

The recent "viability plan" disclosed by GM states resources henceforth will be expended on their four "core brands" which include Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. Absent from this plan were the brands Pontiac, Saturn, Saab and Hummer.

GM has announced its intentions to sell the Saturn brand.

For a long time Pontiac was touted as the "Excitement Division" of GM. Kevin Smith, the editorial director of the automotive web site Edmonds.com, has been quoted as saying, "There was a time, a long way back now, when you knew exactly what Pontiac stood for." Smith added that Pontiac's lack of brand focus may have contributed to its downfall. "That's just death in a marketplace where there's so much competition and so much quality."

Autoextremist.com blogger Peter DeLorenzo seems to agree with Smith. "Pontiac was one of America's greatest car brands with an illustrious history. It is a shame what happened to it. When they ran themselves off the rails, they forgot what Pontiac was all about and decided it would become another rebadged division within the corporate hierarchy."

Pontiac began its history as Oakland Motor Car in Pontiac, Michigan in 1907. General Motors founder William Durant acquired Oakland Motor Car in 1909. Durant later decided in 1929 that there was gap in their product line between the entry-level Chrevrolet brand and the aspirational brand Oldsmobile.

The Pontiac became associated with performance with the introduction of the wide track Bonneville in 1959, which was perceived as having superior handling abilities due to its wider base. The performance product position of the brand were later solidified when the revered GTO was introduced in 1964.

The latest GM plan entails an offer to swap roughly $27 billion in bond debt for GM stock, leaving current shareholders holding just 1 percent of the century-old company. The plan also includes the loss of a proposed 21,000 jobs.

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