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Pontiac vehicles, now defunct, were not a usual means of transportation, intended for daily rides. From the very beginning, they have been regarded as machines that show their soul and arouse genuine emotions. Despite being phased out in 2010, the brand’s legacy of superb automobiles will always be in style. Besides, Pontiacs are an embodiment of longstanding American traditions of producing prime-quality solutions for enthusiasts and average customers.
The Last Round: Lineup as of 2010
Pontiac engineers had been trying to marvel an ever-exacting customer till the last breath, when the parent company, General Motors, decided to end the brand. Hence, the final lineup of a celebrated manufacturer boasted such models as:
- G8 – sports sedan with rear-wheel-drive and a responsive gear;
- G6 – available as convertible, coupe, sedan, mid-size sports car;
- G5 – coupe with a stylish design at an affordable price;
- G3 – a small car with a huge functional potential;
- Solstice – two-seat convertible with a state-of-the-art design;
- Torrent – SUV with an outstanding performance and easy handling;
- Vibe – station wagon with refined lines and overall dynamism.
While all the above-mentioned models are no longer in production, Pontiac traditions are still maintained in the existing lineups of the GM family.
Pontiac was established as a companion brand for the GM’s Oakland in 1926. However, already in a couple of years, it has outperformed the companion and caught up Chevrolet in terms of popularity. For many years, the brand has been marketed as a performance division, specializing in sports and mainstream cars. Its key markets, alongside an American one, were Canada and Mexico.
The first Pontiacs were built on GM A platform, featuring L-head 6-cylinder engines. Still, in 1933 the company set about the production of vehicles with straight eight-cylinder gears and torpedo body type. The last feature drew a huge attention to the mark, foreboding the introduction of Torpedo model in 1940.
Curiously enough, this GM’s subsidiary was the only manufacturer in the USA to continue manufacturing civilian cars during WWII, while all other makers converted their operations to military production. In post-war period it launched a substitution for the Torpedo line – the Chieftain line, based on GM B platform, and the Catalina coupe.
In 1955 Pontiac entered the market with a completely new line of vehicles which were differentiated by the implementation of V-8 engine, new chassis and bodies. These were Bonneville pace cars with A-body platform as well as Catalina cars which were represented by 2-door hard top, 2-door sedan, 4-door hart top vista & wagon, 4-door sedan. In 1961 the team showcased the Tempest compact and its fancier version - the LeMans. A year later it popped with the Grand Prix sports bucket-seat coupe. In 1967 the maker unveiled the Firebird pony car – an answer to the erstwhile best-selling Ford Mustang.
In the 1970s Pontiac was successful with the production of vehicles with innovative design and ‘filling’. It sparkled with budget-oriented Ventura II model, redesigned Bonneville, and added Grand Ville to the line of full-sized solutions. It also managed to enter the fuel-economy segment with Astre sub-compact, which was sold in the Canadian market solely. In 1977 Pontiac engineers introduced Iron Duke valve engine that was consequently used in many GM’s automobiles.
In 1984 the company started selling the Fiero – a two-seat coupe, targeting primarily young buyers with thirst for speed, performance, and affordable prices, of course. The model became a success and turned to the best-selling brand’s make to date. In 1990 the first minivans and light trucks, called Trans Sport, saw the light of day.
Most importantly, Pontiac updated its Firebird, featuring T-56 6-speed manual transmission and 3.4L V6/TransAm engine. Nonetheless, the model didn’t manage to outperform For Mustang, since the latter had a superior image in the market and was peculiar by a more luxurious interior.
In late 1990s, GM’s mainstream division decided to revive the historic past. Thus, it updated the Grand Prix, adding the Wide Track chassis as well as GTP trim level to its design. In addition, it showcased the Montana minivan and an all-new Firebird.
During the 2000s, the team has brought out the Vibe, a compact wagon based on Toyota layout, the GTO, the Grand Prix, following by the mid-size G6, the Solstice, the RWD G8 (built in Australia).
Finally, in order to efficiently cope with financial issues and prevent bankruptcy, General Motors announced in 2008 that it would phase out some of its brands. Pontiac was one of them. After a 2-years protraction, the brand has been dropped, leaving hundreds of dealers overboard.
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