Iconic Pontiac brand shuts down its engine after 84 years

Iconic Pontiac brand shuts down its engine after 84 years image

Text: / Photos: GM Press | posted November 03, 2010 02:40

A sad end to an incredible ride

After 84 iconic years, Pontiac has officially closed shop on October 31, 2010 as General Motors' agreements with dealers expired after its announcement of winding down of operations last year amidst bankruptcy.

Prior to GM's woes, Pontiac sales were already dwindling to as low as 267,000 units by the end of 2008 due to a change in customer preferences and introduction of unpopular vehicle models like the G5 Coupe and the Aztek.

At the height of Pontiac's success were popular models like the GTO and the Trans Am, which featured muscular engines and colorful paintjobs. This included the popular Firebird Trans Am used by Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in the 1970's hit movie "Smokey and the Bandit."

Started in 1926, Pontiac made cars for the working class until a sales slump nearly killed it in the 1950s. The brand was revived when GM connected it to auto racing.

The brand's most storied muscle car, the GTO, came about when some GM engineers took a small car called the Tempest and put a powerful V8 engine under the hood. The letters stood for "Gran Turismo Omologato," Italian for "ready to race."

A massive reorganization in 1984 was blamed for the brand's demise; a massive overhaul to cut costs by combining manufacturing, engineering and design with other GM brands.

Pontiac assured customers however that Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealers will continue to service vehicles and honor their warranties as well as provide parts. GM will sell any new Pontiacs that remain on dealer lots after October 31 as used cars.