Thoughts on the death of Pontiac

It seems strange to mourn the loss of a brand. Especially one whose products I don’t purchase. But, I have a bit of a nostalgic soft spot for Pontiac. My dad has driven one my entire life.

Pontiac was always supposed to be General Motor’s “performance” division (or as the old slogan read “driving excitement”). Funny thing is, in the past few years it was hard to tell. Models like the Montana, the G3 and G5 (not to mention the oft-made-fun-of Aztec) were anything but exciting. The most interesting models coming out of GM recently all seemed to go to Saturn. The Sky and Aura exhibited more exciting body styling than anything issued by Pontiac. Or course it’s not like that fact has been a saving grace for Saturn.

Is the downfall of Pontiac due solely to losing focus on the brands “excitement” roots? I don’t know definitely, but I’d bet heavily that the answer is “yes”.

Although, in general, I’ve had issues with the build quality of GM’s for at least the past decade (specifically Saturn, Chevy and Pontiac; the divisions I’ve had personal experience with). The materials of GM vehicle interiors always struck me as sub-par. The plastics had a thin, flimsy feel and the center console controls seemed cheap. All these criticisms are based on comparisons with my own 2002 Volkswagen Golf GLS.

I really wanted to like Pontiac. But I understand “wanting” doesn’t translate into sales. I just hope that someday, someone is able to resurrect the brand. I absolutely love that arrowhead logomark. Delicious.

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