Billion dollar blow for Holden as GM confirms Pontiac to be axed

General Motors has confirmed the persistent rumours that Pontiac is a goner, to be phased out by next year after 90 years as a flag bearer for American muscle car models.


And this doesn't bode well for Holden, which began exporting its rebadged Commodore model to North America last year, where it has been selling as a Pontiac G8.

Though initial projections of 30,000 annual sales were dented by the global downturn, the G8 has been well received by the US motoring media and is selling reasonably well.

Shipping the G8 to the US will cease by the year's end, impacting on Holden export earnings to the tune of nearly a billion dollars.

Sadly for Holden and for Pontiac, the mood in the US seems to be that if it had offered products as impressive as the G8 even as recently as a decade ago, the brand may have survived.

Writing in the New York Times, James G Cobb observed: "Of course, if GM had made a serious effort to build over-engineered cars like the G8 20 years ago, there would be no talk of bankruptcy or slicing the company's "good" assets from its mistakes."

Cobb went on: "But the G8 damns GM's management on another level, for this excellent yet very American-feeling sedan actually started out half a world away. It is heavily based on the Holden Commodore, a product of GM's Australian subsidiary, and thus joins a long list of well-designed, carefully engineered, highly competitive automobiles created by G.M. subsidiaries around the world. Until recently such products were largely denied to the American consumers who have been telling the company for decades - with their closed checkbooks and their mass defections to foreign brands - that they wanted Detroit to give them world-class cars.

"Now a few of those cars are here. They are Pontiacs with Australian accents. And they are about to become orphans."

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