Posts Tagged ‘pontiac’

Indiana reflects on the end of Pontiac brand

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

At an Indiana car show, the Indy GTO Association President, Bill Sanders, had a chance to comment on the Pontiac brand disappearing.

TV report

Video:  GTOs at an Indiana car show

Sanders is seen in his 1966 GTO convertible.  Good video from the interior of the car while driving.

The story was aired on WRTV6 news in Indianapolis 5/3/09.

The same day, the Indy Star’s Dan McFeely did a story called…

Alas, the Pontiac — R.I.P.

Aficionados lament General Motors’ decision to end production of the brand now likely to be a hot classic

In the story, Bill Sanders is quoted as saying:

“Yes, I’m mad that Pontiac is going away,” He’s upset, he said, “not because Pontiac is going away so much as the way the nameplate has been mishandled over the last 20-plus years. This was a freight train that’s been coming for a long time.”

You can see some photos of Bill’s 1966 car before, during, and after restoration here on UltimateGTO.com

Pontiac brand to be gone by 2011: GMs press release

Monday, April 27th, 2009

GM logo2009-04-27

Updated Viability Plan Speeds, Deepens Restructuring of U.S. Operations

GM Accelerates its Reinvention as a Leaner, More Viable Company


DETROIT — General Motors (NYSE: GM) today presented an updated Viability Plan that will speed the reinvention of GM’s U.S. operations into a leaner, more customer-focused, and more cost-competitive automaker.

The Viability Plan is included in an exchange offer whereby GM is offering certain bondholders shares of GM common stock and accrued interest in exchange for certain outstanding notes.

Revised Viability Plan goes further and faster

The Viability Plan announced today builds on the February 17 Viability Plan submitted to the U.S. Treasury. The revised Plan accelerates the timeline for a number of important actions and makes deeper cuts in several key areas of GM’s operations, with the objective to make us a leaner, faster, and more customer-focused organization going forward.

Significant changes include:

* A focus on four core brands in the U.S. – Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC – with fewer nameplates and a more competitive level of marketing support per brand.
* A more aggressive restructuring of GM’s U.S. dealer organization to better focus dealer resources for improved sales and customer service.
* Improved U.S. capacity utilization through accelerated idling and closures of powertrain, stamping, and assembly plants.
* Lower structural costs, which GM North America (GMNA) projects will enable it to breakeven (on an adjusted EBIT basis) at a U.S. total industry volume of approximately 10 million vehicles, based on the pricing and share assumptions in the plan. This rate is substantially below the 15 to 17 million annual vehicle sales rates recorded from 1995 through 2007.

“We are taking tough but necessary actions that are critical to GM’s long-term viability,” said Fritz Henderson, GM president and CEO. “Our responsibility is clear – to secure GM’s future – and we intend to succeed. At the same time, we also understand the impact these actions will have on our employees, dealers, unions, suppliers, shareholders, bondholders, and communities, and we will do whatever we can to mitigate the effects on the extended GM team.”

Fewer U.S. brands, nameplates, and dealers

As part of the revised Viability Plan and the need to move faster and further, GM in the U.S. will focus its resources on four core brands, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. The Pontiac brand will be phased out by the end of 2010. GM will offer a total of 34 nameplates in 2010, a reduction of 29 percent from 48 nameplates in 2008, reflecting both the reduction in brands and continued emphasis on fewer and stronger entries. This four-brand strategy will enable GM to better focus its new product development programs and provide more competitive levels of market support.

The revised plan moves up the resolution of Saab, Saturn, and Hummer to the end of 2009, at the latest. Updates on these brands will be provided as these initiatives progress.

Working with its dealers, GM anticipates reducing its U.S. dealer count from 6,246 in 2008 to 3,605 by the end of 2010, a reduction of 42 percent. This is a further reduction of 500 dealers, and four years sooner, than in the February 17 Plan. The goal is to accomplish this reduction in an orderly, cost-effective, and customer-focused way. This reduction in U.S. dealers will allow for a more competitive dealer network and higher sales effectiveness in all markets. More details on these initiatives will be provided in May.

Sales volume and market share projections

The Viability Plan anticipates improved financial results despite more conservative U.S. sales volume expectations going forward. The lower volume expectations are the result of managing the business with fewer nameplates and dealers, leaner inventories, and reduced market share. To address the inventory issue, GM on April 23 announced U.S. production schedule reductions of approximately 190,000 vehicles during the second and early third quarters of 2009.

The Viability Plan also reduces GM’s market share projections to adjust for the impact of the brand and dealer consolidation, as well as for the short-term impact of speculation regarding a GM bankruptcy. The plan assumes a 19.5 percent share in 2009, with share stabilizing in the 18.4 to 18.9 percent range in subsequent years.

“We have strong new product coming for our four core brands: the Chevrolet Camaro, Equinox, Cruze and Volt; Buick LaCrosse; GMC Terrain; and Cadillac SRX and CTS Sport Wagon and Coupe,” said Henderson. “A tighter focus by GM and its dealers will help give these products the capital investment, marketing and advertising support they need to be truly successful.”

Lower structural costs, lower breakeven point

The Viability Plan also lowers GMNA’s breakeven volume to a U.S. annual industry volume of 10 million total vehicles, based on the pricing and share assumptions in the plan. This lower breakeven point (at an adjusted EBIT level) better positions GM to generate positive cash flow and earn an adequate return on capital over the course of a normal business cycle, a requirement set forth by the U.S. Treasury in its March 30 viability plan assessment.

GM will lower its breakeven point by cutting its structural costs faster and deeper than had previously been planned:

* Manufacturing: Consistent with the mandate to accelerate restructuring, we plan to reduce the total number of assembly, powertrain, and stamping plants in the U.S. from 47 in 2008 to 34 by the end of 2010, a reduction of 28 percent, and to 31 by 2012. This would reflect the acceleration of six plant idling/closures from the February 17 plan, and one additional plant idling. Throughout this transition, GM will continue to implement its flexible global manufacturing strategy (GMS), which allows multiple body styles and architectures to be built in one plant. This enables GM to use its capital more efficiently, increase capacity utilization, and respond more quickly to market shifts.
* Employment: U.S. hourly employment levels are projected to be reduced from about 61,000 in 2008 to 40,000 in 2010, a 34 percent reduction, and level off at about 38,000 starting in 2011. This further planned reduction of an additional 7,000 to 8,000 employees from the February 17 Plan is primarily the result of the previously discussed operational efficiencies, nameplate reductions, and plant closings. GM also anticipates a further decline in salaried and executive employment as it continues to assess its structure and execute the Viability Plan. More details will be announced as soon as they are finalized with the various stakeholders.
* Labor costs: The Viability Plan assumes a reduction of U.S. hourly labor costs from $7.6 billion in 2008 to $5 billion in 2010, a 34 percent reduction. GM will continue to work with its UAW partners to accomplish this through a reduction in total U.S. hourly employment as well as through modifications in the collective bargaining agreement.

As a result of these and other actions, GMNA’s structural costs are projected to decline 25 percent, from $30.8 billion in 2008 to $23.2 billion in 2010, a further decline of $1.8 billion by 2010 versus the February 17 Plan.

Strengthening GM’s balance sheet

Another key element of GM’s restructuring will be taking the necessary actions to strengthen its balance sheet. GM today took an important step in improving its balance sheet by launching a bond exchange offer for approximately $27 billion of its unsecured public debt. If successful, the bond exchange would result in the conversion of a large majority of this debt to equity.

“A stronger balance sheet would free the company to invest in the products and technologies of the future,” Henderson said. “It will also help provide stability and security to our customers, our dealers, our employees, and our suppliers.”

Another important part of improving the balance sheet will be the ongoing discussions with the UAW to modify the terms of the Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA), and with the U.S. Treasury regarding possible conversion of its debt to equity. The current bond exchange offer is conditioned on the converting to equity of at least 50 percent of GM’s outstanding U.S. Treasury debt at June 1, 2009, and at least 50 percent of GM’s future financial obligations to the new VEBA. GM expects a debt reduction of at least $20 billion between the two actions.

In total, the U.S. Treasury debt conversion, VEBA modification and bond exchange could result in at least $44 billion in debt reduction.

Throughout the Plan, GM will continue to make significant investment in future products and new technologies, with an investment of $5.4 billion in 2009, and investments ranging from $5.3 to $6.7 billion from 2010 to 2014. Very importantly, development and testing of the Chevy Volt extended-range electric car remains on track for start of production by the end of 2010 and arrival in Chevrolet dealer showrooms soon thereafter.

“The Viability Plan reflects the direction of President Obama and the U.S. Treasury that GM should go further and faster on our restructuring,” Henderson said. “We appreciate their support and direction. This stronger, leaner business model will enable GM to keep doing what it does best – provide great new cars, trucks and crossovers to our customers, and continue to develop new advanced propulsion technologies that are vital for our country’s economy and environment.”

# # #

About GM – General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), one of the world’s largest automakers, was founded in 1908, and today manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 243,000 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries. In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

Shipping your GTO – how to do it right – guest article by Ben Leffler

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Comprehensive Automotive Shipping

auto shipping pic #1Whether you have purchased an everyday vehicle remotely or are sending it across the country for a competition, the condition upon arrival is always a concern. Nothing is worse than damage to your car that you didn’t even cause. It’s true that professional shippers are experienced and reliable most of the time, but accidents do happen and therefore anything you can do to minimize your risk is a good idea. The following will discuss important options to consider when choosing a transporter, as well as outline some simple steps to help reduce the chances of your vehicle being damaged while in transport.

When beginning the process of choosing a moving company for your vehicle, it is important to explore which kind of trailer is your best option. While tractor trailers that are capable of moving several vehicles at once are usually the cheapest option, it tends to take longer than single car transport. Also, due to the large size of these trucks you may have to meet your driver in a parking lot. Single car transporters can usually pick the vehicle up and drop it off in a residential area and may be able to get all the way to your front door. Your time frame and budget should be considered when weighing these two options.

auto shipping image #2Enclosed versus open trailer transport is another thing to consider. Once again, this should be discussed with your service provider to determine the best option for you. Closed trailers protect a vehicle from the elements at all times, but they can be twice as expensive as the open-air variety. For shorter distances in mild weather an open trailer may be best, but if you’re heading northeast during winter it may not, it just depends on the circumstances.

With so many shipping companies to choose from, finding one that services your area should not be a problem. However, before you hand over the keys you should make sure that the carrier is registered with the Department of Transportation. To do so, visit www.safersys.org and look up the company to make sure they are licensed to ship vehicles. From the same site you will also be able to check the company’s insurance information and compare it with the information that the company provides you when they quote you a price. Make sure that the policy is valid and that the coverage is sufficient before moving on. If you feel that the minimum policy provided to be lacking in any way, feel free to inquire about additional coverage.

Once you have determined that a shipping company is legal and insured, inquire about customer references. These provide proof of the shipper’s experience and competence, so they should be eager to share these with you. Also, be sure that at least some of the references are specific to vehicles similar to yours. You can also look up the company with Better Business Bureau for additional information on their history and records. Many companies are starting to offer free shipment tracking which allows you to go online and check the exact location of your vehicle at any time, so this is something you may want to inquire about.

Once you have chosen a carrier, it is time to prepare your vehicle to be transported. Keep in mind that different companies may require additional steps to be taken, especially if your vehicle is rare or extremely customized, but this should get you started.

Clean it out

auto shipping image #3The first step is to clean out the vehicle’s interior and the trunk. This not only ensures that your personal items will not be lost, but it also helps protect the auto’s inside. Loose stuff left in a vehicle on a trailer can bounce around and ding up seats and upholstery, as well as be damaged itself. Worst of all, a carrier’s insurance will not be liable. If there is something you prefer to keep in the vehicle, be sure that it is secured in a compartment or the glove box. At this point you should make sure that any aftermarket speakers are firmly held in place and stereo faceplates are removed.

Clean it off

Now that the inside is prepped, your vehicle’s exterior is the focus. Carefully wash and inspect for any existing damage. While this step applies less for a clunker than a new ride, it’s always better to know what shape the auto is in. Photograph all sides of the car and give a dated, written assessment. If you are dealing with insurance issues after damage, this step will make the process a lot easier.

auto shipping image #4Once the exterior has been cleaned and examined, all removable exterior parts that can possibly be broken while on the trailer should be secured or removed. Fold in the mirrors to the vehicle’s sides, lower the antenna and raise the windows. Convertible tops should be securely closed, and tool boxes shut and latched.

Check it out

Even though an automobile will only be driven off and on to a trailer during the shipping process, it is necessary to make sure that it is in operable condition beforehand.

auto shipping image #5While in-depth automotive knowledge is not necessary to check the battery, the tire pressure and fluid levels, your neighborhood service station or dealership can help out if needed. Alert the mover if you have been experiencing any particular problems, and make sure that they are aware of any leaks that could drip onto another vehicle. You should also disable the car’s alarm and make sure there is sufficient fuel in the tank. You want to keep the gas tank at around an eighth to a quarter full. There needs to be some, but more than that is just extra weight.

Finally, if you are unsure about anything throughout the process, feel free to ask your carrier questions.

Written by Ben Leffler of uship.com, an online marketplace for Vehicle Shipping.

GM Heritage car collection for SALE

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

by Sean Mattingly, webmaster of UltimateGTO.com

Starting in January, the classic car collection at GM will start to go bye-bye. The manager of the GM Heritage Center, Tom Freiman, has revealed that the company plans to significantly “thin the herd”.

The collection, based in Sterling Heights, Michigan currently numbers about 1,000 vehicles. The first of two auctions will happen at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona January 13th to 18th, 2009. Some of their vehicles will be up for bids April 9th to 11th, 2009 at Barrett-Jackson in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The GM Heritage Collection numbers in the many hundreds of cars and trucks – from “first builts” and “last builts” to one-off show cars to SEMA show cars. The first-built 2004 Pontiac GTO is in the collection. This is the first one actually built in production.

Built by Hollywood car builder Eddie Paul, using a custom Blueberry Blass paint. The dashboard features all sorts of lights, switches and gadgets.

The January sale will include several GTOs.  This customized hardtop 1967 Pontiac GTO will be sold.  It was used in the action movie “xXx” starring Vin Diesel. Built by Hollywood car builder Eddie Paul, using a custom Dupont Chromalusion BlasBerry paint. The dashboard features all sorts of lights, switches and gadgets.

Some vehicles in the auctions may include these Pontiacs which are in the collection:
1926 Pontiac (Gray/Black)
1968 Pontiac Catalina (White)
1969 Pontiac GTO (Green)
1969 Pontiac GTO Judge (Orange/Yellow)
1980 Pontiac Grand Am Pickup
1994 Firebird Lingenfelter 383
1999 Grand Am SCT
2003 Sunfire X-plores (Yellow)
2006 Solstice DTP (Orange)
1967 GTO hardtop from the movie “xXx”
1984 Fiero GT 2+2
1986 Firebird Trans Am Kamback
1987 Fiero GT Convertible
1991 Firebird Trans Am Twin Turbo
1993 Firebird IMSA Race car
1994 Firebird Firmula V8
1994 Firebird Trans Am 25th Ann.
1998 Firebird Trans Am Gold Rush
1998 Firebird Trans Am X-plorers
1998 Grand Prix M&M Pace
2000 Bonneville Salt Flats
2000 Firebird Rytek Project
2000 Firebird Trans Am Darth Vader
2001 Aztek First Built (Black)
2001 Aztek Pace #1 (Red)
2001 Aztek SRV
2002 Firebird Trans Am Daytona Pace #2
2003 Grand AM Autocross
2003 Vibe Autocross Sema
2003 Vibe FX
2004 Grand Prix GXP SEMA
2005 Firedbird Trans Am Collectors Ed.
2005 GTO SEMA
2006 Solstice Red Bull Drifter
2006 Solstice Weekend Racer
Fiero Goodwrench Race
G6 Rolex Pace Car
Grand Am #85 race car
Grand Prix (show car)
GTO Drag Performance Parts car
Firebird Mobil Race Car
1999 Grand Prix GT (red)
GTP Ultrlite