Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pontiac You Are Missed!

I was 10 years old when I saw my first 1967 Pontiac GTO at the US Embassy in Bonn, Germany, where I fell head over heels in love with the Pontiac Motor Division and to a lesser degree General Motors.

I watched in horror through the 80’s and 90’s as GM mismanaged my favorite brand  (Remember Ron Zarrella), yes by that time there was no longer a Pontiac Motor Division just the brand, Pontiac.

I had hope for Pontiac again in 2001 when Bob Lutz returned to GM; he was determined to see Pontiac become what it once had been, and I cheered his return, for me it was like Liberation Day in Paris. Bob Lutz brought interesting cars like the GTO, Solstice, and G8 into the Pontiac lineup. Bob Lutz did his best to brighten Pontiac’s future.

But then came April 27, 2009, when GM officially announced that Pontiac would be dropped and all its remaining models would be phased out by the end of 2010. I could not believe what I was hearing, and I felt betrayed by GM and still do to this very day when it comes to Pontiac.

In my mind, it should have been Buick that was dropped in North America, not Pontiac. Buick could have soldiered on in China to appease the Chinese buyers, but in North America, it should have been Pontiac that survived General Motors’ axe.

Have you noticed that when I was at GM, I rarely mentioned Buick in any way, shape, or form? To me the very name Buick carries the (Old Person’s) stigma and always will, I’d never be seen in one. I have to be honest with myself here, if GM didn’t have the 5th Generation Camaro in its lineup, I most likely would have bought BMW. Why BMW? Well from my perspective BMWs share a lot of design traits with Pontiac, the twin kidney grille for instance and a sporty image. Plus as a boy growing up in Germany, I admired BMW as much as I did Pontiac.

So was Pontiac’s demise the only reason I left GM for BMW? God no, but it was a big part of it, I drank the GM Kool-Aid when it came to Pontiac and now like Pontiac itself the Kool-Aid was gone, and my eyes were finally wide open to the possibilities that BMW offered me.
The automotive world is a little less bright without Pontiac in it, and that saddens me, but I will do my best to make sure that never ever happens to BMW.