Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We no longer build excitement?

Bloomberg reports: "GM Said to Study Shedding Saab, Saturn, Pontiac to Win U.S. Aid"

We all know there are too many domestic car brands. I was just sort of surprised to see Saturn and Pontiac on the chopping block. I mean, who buys Buicks? Not that they're bad cars, but who under the age of 60 buys a Buick? (Ok, my dad is 54 and drives a Buick.) Tiger Woods ain't cool enough to bring this puppy back from the dead. The younger staid crowd could probably be convinced to go Caddy.

I haven't been following too closely, but I thought Saturns were supposed to be selling decently? (At least on a relative basis.) And I've always thought the Pontiac styling was better than a lot of other domestic lines, but they really shot themselves in the foot ditching the Grand Prix and leaving that customer to either go smaller with the G6 or way too big with the G8.

The G8 was idiotic. "Hey guys, let's make a monstrous sedan that gets bad fuel economy and has rear wheel drive!" What demographic does that target? Forty-something horsepower jockeys who feel the need to burn some rubber while taking the kids to soccer practice?

And they had just finally figured out a decent Grand Am styling when they dropped that model for the G5, which has no personality whatsoever. Sort of like how Ford finally made the Escort look not-like-a-piece-of-crap and then promptly dropped it for the Focus.

Speaking of Ford, besides a smoking hot spokes-model, what does Mercury have going for it? Being "not a Ford"?

I'm guessing that either Saturn or Pontiac will stay but not both. One of them has to stay, there's too big a gap between Chevy and Buick.


Samay said...

You're dead on about Buick. The thing with the new Pontiacs, from my experience, is that they drive stiffer with better steering, but GM's old customers don't like the "foreign feel" so Buick still has that cushy soft domestic feel.
Which is stupid, because nobody really wants that unless they know nothing about cars, in which case, they'll still buy Pontiacs.

Maybe it's just that Buick still resonates as a classy brand, while Pontiac carries a cheap connotation?

Sockless Joe said...

I absolutely hate the steering and suspension my dad's Buick. (Mom used to have an Oldsmobile that had a similar feel.)

I also hate how his Buick's (auto)transmission is geared. I know the power is there because I've driven other makes with the same engine, but the acceleration is weird.

I don't want to feel every pebble in the road, but I hate driving a car with so little tactile feedback.

Samay, are you with me on killing either Pontiac or Saturn but not both?