It’s a cliché we seldom think twice about, but when workers at the General Motors’ Orion Township assembly line finished up a white G6 sedan, just before the long holiday break, last Wednesday, it really was the “end of the line.”
More than a century after the first time the name of the powerful Michigan Indian chief was used on a car – and 83 years after GM formally adopted the brandname – the last Pontiac automobile was getting ready to be shipped to a dealer.
There were no banners commemorating the event, nor the black crepe bunting that might have more appropriately served to mark the sad occasion. It was little more than business as usual. Or, if you prefer, business as it’s become for post-bankruptcy General Motors.
For more than a decade, the automaker’s top management, notably former CEO Rick Wagoner, forcefully resisted calls to kill Pontiac and several other troubled GM brands in a bid to curb expenses and focus on the core marques most likely to survive. They had given in just once, and the long and costly process of killing off the once-successful Oldsmobile had proved so hard, Wagoner confided in a close friend, “I never want to go through that again.” (more…)