2009 Pontiac G8
Pontiac has long struggled to maintain the powerful performance image it has always claimed. From brand promises like "We Build Excitement," watered down with mediocre realities like wood-paneled Safari Wagons and the miserable cavalier-based J2000 and Sunbird, Pontiac has been a repeated victim of GM's badge-engineering. This, from the brand that helped ignite the musclecar wars in the late '60s by stuffing sick V-8 power into the Tempest and whipping up the legendary GTO. Pontiac's brand promise now reads: "PONTIAC IS CAR," but it seems they still don't know exactly what kind of car they mean.
Lacking consistent leadership to keep the weak-kneed four-cylinders, plasticized MPVs, excess bodyside cladding, and screaming chicken hoods at bay, Pontiac's history has been a bipolar romp through both the brilliant and the abysmal. If the G8 and Solstice go the way of the dodo, will the perfectly adequate (but arguably unnecessary) Pontiac G6 and Pontiac G5, the lame-duck Pontiac Grand Prix, and the ungainly Pontiac G3 (aargh--an Aveo clone) make any sort of believable point about the future of GM performance? Looks like Chevy (2009 Corvette ZR-1) and Cadillac (2009 Cadillac CTS-V) are doing a far more convincing job of performance than Pontiac.
If GM does merge with Chrysler, and some of the General's many divisions end up being axed, do you think Pontiac could end up on the chopping block?--Colin Mathews
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