The General Kills Off the Goat — Again!

Posted By: 'Okie' | 12:02 pm — 2/22/2006 | Comments Off on The General Kills Off the Goat — Again! See comments below:

In the grand scheme of things — with rival Muslim sects bombing each others’ mosques and shrines, British Mulims are declaring that they have won the Cartoon War, (h/t: Jawa Report), and President Bush defending his administration’s decision to turn six of our major ports over to UAE managerial control, even though he found out about the deal only after bureaucratic agencies had already approved it — the decision by General Motors to cancel the Pontiac GTO after this current ’06 model year pales in significance. But to old GM fans, like myself, (I know, I know, there should be a 12-step program for it!), it’s another sign that what was once the largest, most powerful corporation in the world, is on life-support and as hard as it is to imagine, just might not make it. Automotive News had the announcement yesterday.

General Motors has told Pontiac dealers that it will discontinue the GTO coupe at the end of this model year. GM will make the last deliveries of the vehicle to dealers by the end of September, sources close to Pontiac say.
(…)
When Pontiac launched the GTO in 2003, it projected 18,000 annual sales. The vehicle was criticized for bland styling, and some fans of the original GTO complained that it lacked nostalgic styling cues.

A Pontiac spokesman confirms the GTO will be discontinued after the 2006 model year.


Eric Bryant at AutoBlog
expressed his feelings over the canceled GTO like this:

In this case, I feel a bit sorry for GM. It did exactly what its fans wanted it to – bring over one of the magnificent rear-wheel-drive Holden products from Australia. Pontiac never quite figured out the marketing, though; it was too expensive and sophisticated for the muscle-car crowd, too GM-ish to attract buyers away from other $35K coupes, and of course its bland styling was glaringly apparent to anyone who ever laid eyes on an ’05 Mustang. Let’s not forget the nasty price-gouging that occurred early on, either.

I spent many an hour as a teen pouring over the wonderful Pontiac illustrations that made their mid-to-late-’60s catalogs so special, longing for a GTO in my driveway. I had a buddy with a ’66, a classmate with a ’67 — the closest that I came was a ’67 Le Mans coupe, Sprint edition, with the rather outrageous overhead-cam six, floor-mounted shifter and a Rochester Quadra-Jet 4-barrel carb, (huge-monster secondaries!) — yeah, the same one I macked the big-white horse with.

2010 CamaroAll last year the General was saying that an ’08 Goat would be coming, with all new (more GTO-esque) styling, based on the Zeta platform being developed by Holden in Australia, but in the same announcement as the cancellation of the ’07 model, they seem to be backing off the launch of a new model — the weak US dollar a likely culprit.

There is no replacement coupe planned at this time and because of the strong Australian and weak U.S. dollar, the GTO had to be priced thousands over where GM originally wanted it — in the mid-twenties, the source says. “It never did as much volume as we had hoped,” the source says.

Pontiac is considering a replacement in the lineup for a RWD performance vehicle, but does not have anything to announce yet, Hopson says.

Zeta is supposed to spawn a new Camaro (red car above) for 2010 as well. With Chrysler doing so well with the 300C, Charger, Magnum and the upcoming Challenger, GM had better get its collective you-know-what together and join the rear-wheel-drive party before it’s all over — again.

Back to terror, Iraq, Muslim cartoons and inexplicable Presidential decisions. Nice to take a break once in a while, though. (db)

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