I want to make one thing clear-I do not hate Pontiacs. As a dyed in a the wool car guy from birth, I am Ã‚Â sometimes asked “So what was the VERY first car you were ever driven in?” It was my parent’s 1967 Pontiac GTO convertible, all 400 cubic inches of V-8 power, turquoise/white top over turquoise vinyl, just after a January blizzard in New Haven, CT. Since I was only 5 days old, I think they kept the top up.
Since that wintry day in 1973, I’ve seen Pontiac go through many changes. Going into 2008, I was feeling OK about Pontiac. The horrible Aztek was gone, Bob Lutz made sure body cladding was banned, the Solstice, though a bit heavy, was good, with the promise of a Targa version coming soon. Even better was the G8 GT. Shred whatever magazine has you comparing this car to a BMW 5-series, the two cars do not compete with each other. All I can say is bring on the 6-speed manual GXP!
And then, Pontiac announced the introduction of the G3.Ã‚Â
If the silhouette seems a little familiar to you, well, it’s a rebadged Chevy Aveo. Saddled with the same 105hp engine, I am puzzled where all the excitement is coming from. Yes, it has somewhat sportier styling, beefier wheels, and more content, but haven’t we been down this road before? If the Chevy Chevette wasn’t a great car to start out with, did the Pontiac T-1000 change anyone’s minds? I didn’t think so. Even with sportier styling, I doubt Pontiac will steal many sales from the sporty looking AND handling Honda Fit, which is all new for this year.
Pontiac was doing a fine job of convincing me they were the performance division of GM, at a time when there are GM divisions whose lives are on the line. Solstice, G6, G8, I get it. It works. The G3 is a distraction from Pontiac’s mission of defining themselves as a brand, and does nothing for Pontiac except raise its overall fuel economy ratings.Ã‚Â
GM already offers a fine small car here in America-The Saturn Astra. No one will ever complain that it has too much power, but it is the complete package-a real car. Sadly, no one at GM has any idea how to market a competent car, so instead they will spend millions on advertising to get people to buy the mediocre Pontiac, all the while cannibalizing the sales of the superior Saturn.