AUTO ADVICE: Should you buy a Pontiac? Maybe, but read this first
This week's announcement of Pontiac's closing by the end of 2010 presents buyers with a decision: to buy or pass? After all, GM's performance division offers some great choices right now, from the thrifty Pontiac G3 hatchback and Vibe to the sexy...
This week's announcement of Pontiac's closing by the end of 2010 presents buyers with a decision: to buy or pass?
After all, GM's performance division offers some great choices right now, from the thrifty Pontiac G3 hatchback and Vibe to the sexy Solstice roadster and muscular G8 sedan, truly a bargain BMW competitor.
But there are some things to consider, said Consumer Reports automotive editor John Linkov.
"You have to go into it with eyes wide open," Linkov said. "You're going to face highly diminished trade-in value immediately."
If you're the type of buyer who trades vehicles frequently, that makes a Pontiac less attractive. Other buyers may be put off as well.
"If you're worried about solvency of the company, and it's something that keeps you up at night, then it's just not the car for you," Linkov said. "Just because it's cheap, it doesn't mean it's going to be good for you in the long run."
However, Linkov said, a Pontiac could be the perfect fit for some buyers.
"If it's a model that's been reliable and you're going to run it into the ground, it's going to be cheap," he said.
As for parts, that isn't as big an issue as you might think. Linkov said that parts will not be a problem for the most popular models, such as the Pontiac G6, which share their basic components with other GM models.
Other GM siblings include the Pontiac G3 and Chevrolet Aveo, Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix, Pontiac G5 and Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.
Of course, Saturn is another brand whose future is cloudy.
Saturn products share their parts with other GM makes as well. The Saturn Aura, Pontiac G6 and Chevrolet Malibu all share certain parts. Ditto the Saturn Outlook, which shares parts with the GMC Arcadia and Buick Enclave.
The Astra will have plenty of parts: It's sold in 53 countries worldwide. The only parts that might be hard to find would be a unique interior piece.
Pontiac's tragic demise comes as the brand is finally on the path back to performance. Just as it did with the Pontiac Fiero, a two-seat commuter that took GM four years to perfect; the company is killing the Pontiac brand just as it gets it right.
"That's why people are lamenting the loss of Pontiac," Linkov said.
"It's all those years of producing insulting cars, all of the Bonneville SSEi's and Grand Ams _ if Pontiac had died at that point, people wouldn't be as annoyed. It's those years of feeding us dreck that has led to this."
As for me, give me the BMW-baiting G8 any day. Yum.