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First came news that an American equity group is seriously interested in purchasing Saturn. Now we've learned that General Motors may be dropping the GMC and Pontiac brands entirely.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reports that GM's talks with the Obama administration have involved selling or eliminating the GMC and Pontiac badges, both of which had been considered fairly safe until now. Of course, the president and his auto industry task force have been aggressive in their talks with both GM and Chrysler, frequently raising the specter of bankruptcy and forcing the removal of GM's CEO Rick Wagoner just a couple of weeks back. Also, as you'll recall, the feds have given GM until the end of May to come up with a viable plan for survival, or else the General will be forced to restructure via a "quick-rinse" bankruptcy. Given such forceful tactics, GM has likely put everything on the table for discussion.
No one at GM wants to comment on the report, but if the rumors bear out, GM will be 86ing GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saab, and Saturn. That leaves Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick on the lots--for now. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: GM has spoken out against the Bloomberg report. Here are the details, since our source, Autonews, requires a subscription:
A senior General Motors executive today denied reports that President Barack Obama's automotive task force has pressured the automaker to dump GMC and Pontiac.
Company sales chief Mark LaNeve also denied rumors that GM plans to terminate the franchise agreements of poorly performing dealers before June 1 to accelerate its dealership consolidation campaign.
"The strategy we laid out for you [in February] is still the strategy," LaNeve, GM's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, said today in an interview with Automotive News.
"Are we working it, tweaking it, examining every aspect of it? Yes, but nothing has changed with our strategy," he said. Reports that "GMC is going away are just unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue," LaNeve said.
So there. Mleh.
[source: Autonews, sub req'd]