Pontiac Kicks the G8 ST Sport Truck to the Curb

The carnage continues

By Brendan Moore

01.08.2008

You had to know it was coming.

Pontiac is not selling a lot of the G8 sedans, GM is not selling a lot of vehicles, period, and they’re running out of money every month, and the 2010 G8 ST Sport Truck is cancelled.

Surprised?

No, you’re not surprised. I’m not either.

On 12/14/2008, we did an article titled The Future of Pontiac, in which I wrote about GM’s plans to make Pontiac into a “boutique” brand. In that piece, I mentioned the G8 ST.

From that article:

“Pontiac had originally intended to produce a Sport Truck version of the G8, scheduled to have been offered for sale in Fall 2009, which is a modern version of the Chevrolet El Camino, but who knows if that will happen in light of GM’s current financial travails? When this model was announced last year, the national economy and GM’s finances were in much better shape, and even then, I predicted to my colleagues that GM would sell less than 5,000 units a year of the Sport Truck, so I can’t say that I see a bright future for the Sport Truck in the future economic environment.”

Now, let me state unequivocally here that I like the G8 ST. But, just because I like it doesn’t mean that I think everyone else is going to like it, and I couldn’t see much of a market for the vehicle. Whatever appeal the G8 ST would have had in a good market environment went south pretty much once the new-vehicle market tanked in 2008.

So, I think GM made the right decision.

GM told their dealers yesterday about the cancellation of the sport truck model. According to an article in Automotive News, “the reason, in part, is GM’s “continuing vehicle review” to make the company viable, said Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson. That includes turning Pontiac into a “niche brand” according to a plan GM presented to Congress late last year. With Pontiac being more focused on sporty, fun-to-drive cars, we took a long look at the ST and it didn’t fit with what our future vision of Pontiac would be,” Hopson said. “At that point, we decided to not proceed with this vehicle.”

You have to wonder how many models Pontiac is going to have two years from now. Are they going to try to update the Kappa platform that the Solstice cabriolet/coupe is based on? Are they going to abandon the big G8 completely in a couple of years? Is there any money available for new models and new platforms? Will the lineup go all rear-wheel-drive since it’s supposed to be a boutique performance brand?

Hard to say. It’s a pretty safe bet that GM doesn’t have those answers yet, either. They are definitely in previously unexplored territory with Pontiac at this point. Maybe some answers will make themselves apparent shortly.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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5 Comments

  1. it would have been fun to see these sport trucks on the road, but definitely not in my driveway. Oh well. I could always take a vacation “down under.”

  2. Once again GM proves they are clueless. Instead of droping the ST they should have done the smart thing from the beginning.

    1) Slap a Chevy badge on it and call it an “El Camino”

    2) Put in a small V-6 or large I-4 as the base model engine. (As much as I’d prefer an I-6 that’s really too much to hope for)

    3) Put a “SuperSport” badge in the V-8 version.

    That gives them a RWD unibody “Truck” that in base trim would get 26-28 MPG, and they could sell twenty times as many as they would if it was only available as a high performance Pontiac.

  3. Whether it has a Chevy badge on it or a Pontiac badge on it, whether it has a 4, 6, or 8-cylinder engine, there just aren’t a lot of buyers for this truck. Yeah, they would have gotten more buyers with a Chevy bowtie on it, but nowhere near enough.

  4. Given that it will continue production and development Down Under for quite some time (where it has the similar market ownership to the Mustang or Corvette in the US) then it will remain ‘on the radar’. From this point on, the platform and base vehicle will always be engineered for LHD as well as RHD and for a wide range of engines (currently V6 & V8 petrol with option of LPG, CNG & diesel) & drivelines (RWD & AWD) so the flexibility is there….

    Not dead…..just sleeping.

    Frankly, they made the right decision. It’d be better for Pontiac to market the G8 sedan effectively and consider the new Sportwagon version now available – the HSV version http://www.hsv.com.au/tourer/ is a weapon!! When Holden switch over to the new fuel injection and engine management setup for the V6 in the next two years….although the best thing they could do is update the autobox to match or beat the BA Falcon’s. Either way once those things are done….very well worth considering.

    And Ford also have the BA Falcon ute http://www.ford.com.au/servlet/ContentServer?cid=1178840157339&pagename=FOA%2FDFYPage%2FFord-Default&c=DFYPage in the same class as the ST all ready to roll if they see fit…

  5. GM again shows that they have no clue on what the market wants especially the niche market. They should ask themselves what draws people to trucks? The simple answer is, trucks are the closest thing to the good old days when American vehicles were big powerful beast that were let loose on the Interstate. This would have been a ideal vehicle to bridge the past with the future. A powerful sporty vehicle with the convenience of a truck.

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