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Why Is Everything Up For Sale Except Pontiac?

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There's no denying that the world's a little crazy right now, and nowhere is this more visible than in the auto industry. Thanks to the global economic meltdown, car makers have been streamlining and downsizing, wheeling and dealing, with brands changing hands faster than bets at a Shanghai cockfight.

With one exception: Pontiac.

Despite the old adage that "everything has its price", General Motors seems unwilling to slap a "for sale" sign on the beleaguered brand like it has with Hummer, Saturn, and Saab.  This hadn't been fully articulated until late last week when Jim Waldron--a Pontiac dealer in Davison, Michigan--got together with several of his well-heeled friends and offered to buy the brand from GM. GM's response? Pontiac isn't for sale.

Now to be fair, that came from Tom Pyden on GM's communications team, and it isn't GM's official response to Waldron's offer. (That should come in a few days.) So GM may say "yes" in the end. But as of today, the party line is that GM's restructuring plan doesn't include a provision for selling Pontiac, only phasing it out by the end of 2010.

Which begs the question: is GM up to something? Why would the ailing automaker want to hold onto a brand--and it's just the brand in question here, no factories or other physical items--when they've got someone offering cash on the barrel? Are they hoping to resuscitate Pontiac when things improve? Are they being spiteful? Could this be the basis of (yet another) dragged-out conspiracy theory film with Nicholas Cage and an unsuspecting, career-starved starlet? We'd love to hear your take on things, 'cause we're as confused as we were after watching National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Seriously.

[WJRT via Autoblog]

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Comments (7)
  1. "No wonder...."

    It is well understood that valuable assets should not be sold to solve a short term cash flow problem, which is what they've got. What I'm hearing is, "Look, we all know that Pontiac is a very valuable brand, and in better times this brand would be worth several billions (name, prints, parts, all IP). But in today's firesale market, no one is going to pay what we think it's worth, and would be worth going forward" based on discounted cash flow or any other common metric. It's like selling a valuable player to one of your division rivals--no one wants the trade to come back and bite them in the arse with a late inning walkoff HR and crush you. If GM could get several billion for it from, say, Yugo, they'd do it. But they won't sell it to anyone in their own backyard.
     
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  2. "Hold up a minute"

    It’s really a shame that Pontiac is being cut. Alot of great cars came out of the brand. Pontiac is an icon in the automotive world. Yes, some might not like the newer cars but no reason to send Pontiac to the grave. Seriously - look at some of these cars and say that Pontiac isn't something worth keeping.
    http://www.jlaforums.com/album.php?search=pontiac&search_cond=Pic%20Description&sort_order=&start=0
    http://www.jlaforums.com/album.php?search=pontiac&search_cond=Pic%20Title&sort_order=&start=0
    That's what I thought!
     
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  3. "Pontiac is just a name these days"

    As it has always been, the Pontiac brand was just a step-up sales opportunity. One was expected to move up the ladder from Chevrolet to Pontiac to Oldsmobile with increasing income. It was sort of like the Plymouth - Dodge - DeSoto ladder from the 1950s.
    Honestly, how could anyone buy the Pontiac division / dealerships when almost all their products (especially those that actually sell fairly well) are made in generic GM factories?
     
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  4. "Pontiac is just a name these days"

    As it has always been, the Pontiac brand was just a step-up sales opportunity. One was expected to move up the ladder from Chevrolet to Pontiac to Oldsmobile with increasing income. It was sort of like the Plymouth - Dodge - DeSoto ladder from the 1950s.
    Honestly, how could anyone buy the Pontiac division / dealerships when almost all their products (especially those that actually sell fairly well) are made in generic GM factories?
     
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  5. "This isn't really the end"

    I can only speculate, but I think that GM, after the restructuring and the dust settles, will find they retain the ability to make additional cars that do not necessarily fit into the four brands they are keeping. When this happens we will see Pontiac back again. A brand with that much American history would be foolish to loose.
     
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  6. I agree pontiac if sold could come back and give chevrolet some competition in the correct hands and gm does not want that.
     
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  7. Trans Am would crush the Camaro, and Corvette, in sells and performance. Trans Am is why they won't sell
     
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