Be careful which news story on the Pontiac G8 you read first, and don't get your hopes up. General Motors has released what we think is its Final Answer about the sport sedan: It won't be coming back for 2010.
In recent days, the future of the Pontiac G8 has taken the form of a novella…with some trusty elements of Shakespearean tragedy thrown in. We've felt the suspense of how the G8—a sport sedan that's found much critical acclaim over the past couple of years, along with a strong enthusiast base—might be discontinued. Then just after we breathed a sigh of relief and thought we'd reached a happy resolution—late last week, when Lutz had said the G8 would be returning as a Chevrolet Caprice—an unexpected turning point provoked, as a Wikipedia author puts it in a novella definition, "a logical, but surprising end."
The G8's fate is logical, but given the news from less than a week ago, it's still surprising, and it places Lutz—who carries the image of always being on the auto enthusiasts' side—if for the moment, as an antihero.
In a GM FastLane Blog post entitled, "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…" (ellipses not ours), GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz explains, with perhaps a rare hint of embarrassment, "In fact, we're moving so fast, we're going back in time to, oh, about four or five days ago, when the Pontiac G8 was going away and was not going to become a new Chevrolet Caprice."
Shortly after Lutz revealed that the G8 would come back as a Chevrolet, new GM CEO Fritz Henderson called the move unlikely—a strong indicator that a decision hadn't actually been made.
"The G8 will not be a Caprice after all," lamented Lutz, later explaining that "with my new 'marketing' hat on, upon further review and careful study, we simply cannot make a business case for such a program. Not in today's market, in this economy, and with fuel regulations what they are and will be."
Lutz later reiterated that there's simply no case for the G8 from a marketing standpoint. "With budgets being what they are for the time being, the resources must be allocated elsewhere."
Lutz, who has held positions at Chrysler, Ford, and BMW over several decades and is especially known for spurring a host of more exciting products at Chrysler in the '90s (including the Viper), is largely credited with beginning to bring new life to GM's product line over the past several years—and with bringing the G8, an updated, refined version of the Australian-market Holden Commodore, to market. It followed the Pontiac GTO coupe, a less-polished version of Aussie muscle that didn't sell well. The G8 was widely known as an expensive model to produce; its starting sticker price of $28,250 probably didn't leave GM much of a margin, and fuel economy concerns stunted its launch and ultimately narrowed its appeal.
Nevertheless, the 2009 Pontiac G8 is a favorite of TheCarConnection.com's editors; the G8 scored a lofty 8.4 Overall Rating in the site's full review of the '09 G8, and executive editor Marty Padgett praised the G8's attractive appearance, neutral handling, and spacious interior, only finding fault with some of the controls and the lack of modern features like Bluetooth and a nav system. If you like it, don't hesitate.