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by George Skentzos

With its adoptive parent stricken from the General Motors portfolio, it seems the Pontiac G8 is likely to suffer the same fate with General Motors President and CEO Fritz Henderson announcing that the Australian sedan would not be migrated to a new brand.

During a web chat earlier this week on GM’s FastLane blog, Mr. Henderson made it quite clear that the company had no plans to keep the G8 following the company’s restructuring.

Initial speculation – or perhaps more accurately, wishful thinking – had the Pontiac G8 pegged to join the Chevrolet family or perhaps even Cadillac as an entry-level model.

This rumour has been bluntly denied by Mr. Henderson who responded simply with “no.” when asked whether the G8 would live on by a GM employee during the web chat.

Continuing support for the Holden-based G8 was also met with disappointment during a more structured question and answer session with the General Motors President and CEO.

While participating in the session, Robert Hammen posed this scenario to Mr. Henderson:

“I know you have also stated that the G8 won’t be rebadged as another manufacturer’s car (i.e. a Chevrolet). Might I ask you to reconsider. Find a way to take Holden’s next-generation VE platform vehicle, call it the new Chevy Impala, build it at Oshawa alongside the Camaro, and keep the people like me happy.

No economical RWD sedans = no more new GM purchases for me (sorry, a starting-at-$37K CTS isn’t in my price range new). I recognize the problems the new CAFE regulations will present, but there is still a several year window of time to sell a ton of these vehicles (including police/taxi fleets who will have fewer choices when Ford discontinues the elderly Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car platform). I know fleet ain’t great, but I think you’d sell a ton of these to regular folks, too (what’s the fleet penetration of the current long-in-the-tooth Impala?). Build these on the Flex line at Oshawa, with a mix of models like Holden does (V6, V8, lux, sport, et. al.) and you’ll have a winner on your hands. The platform is simply too good to ignore, going forward. To do so would be incredibly foolish.”

General Motors President and CEO Fritz Henderson responded with the following:

“Robert, I appreciate your comment. Certainly, the G8 is going to be one of the Pontiacs we’ll miss. But, we haven’t closed the door on RWD now or in the future. You point out both the Camaro, which is definitely in the mainstream price range of today’s cars, and the CTS, which is an amazing value in the luxury sport segment. As we map out our future vehicle needs, if we can find the right opportunity and price point to do a world-class RWD car, you can bet we’ll consider it.”

There is a bitter-sweet silver lining with GM still committed to the Australian-developed Chevrolet Camaro, however this does little to improve Holden’s export situation as it is built at GM’s Oshawa plant in Canada.




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