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GM’s Fritz fries hope for reborn G8

Hopes fading: The Commodore-based Pontiac G8 is unlikely to survive the GM purge.

GM chief plays down prospect of Holden-based sports sedan replacing Pontiac G8

22 Jun 2009

GENERAL Motors chief executive Fritz Henderson indicated last week that the Holden Commodore-based Pontiac G8 would not be resurrected under another GM brand in the US.

When asked in an online internet discussion with journalists if the G8 had a future within General Motors as a rebadged model, and what changes would be needed for it to be sold under another brand, Mr Henderson said: “I am not a fan of rebadging.”

He did not comment further.

Asked earlier in the online chat why GM did not attempt to sell Pontiac like it has done with Saab, Hummer and Saturn in recent weeks, rather than simply eliminating it, Mr Henderson was blunt in his assessment of the brand’s worth.

“We have had success in discussions with buyers re Hummer, Saab and Saturn, but in the end we did not see the same potential, to be honest, for Pontiac,” he said.

On the subject of GMC, which remains an export target for Holden with its Commodore-based ute and other models, Mr Henderson said more work would be done to make the GMC brand more independent from Chevrolet across several areas.

 center imageLeft: The Pontiac G8 Sport Truck. Below: GM CEO Friz Henderson.

“I think we can continue to differentiate the GMC brand from Chevrolet in the future on a number of aspects,” he said. “Take a look at the new Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain, for example.”

GM vice-chairman of global product development Tom Stephens said earlier this month that discussions were taking place about continuing Commodore-based exports to the US under a badge other than the current Pontiac G8, which will be discontinued by the end of this year.

In contrast to reports that Fritz Henderson had written in an earlier website blog that there was “no chance” the G8 would be resurrected under another brand, Mr Stephens told US industry journal Automotive News that rebranding the performance sedan remained an option.

“I know there’s still discussions on it,” Mr Stephens said.

As part of GM’s decision to phase out Pontiac, the bankrupt US auto giant announced last week that it had decided to discontinue production of the Vibe crossover wagon, a modified version of Toyota’s Matrix built at a shared facility in Fremont, California.

“While no replacement for Vibe production has been determined, GM and Toyota remain in active discussions regarding potential future production at (the plant),” GM said in a statement.

Read more:

Keep Pontiac G8, US car fans tell GM

GM product chief hints it’s not too late for the G8

Holden still eyes US exports

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