Although not news to us, GM officially announces the death of the storied 83-year-old Pontiac brand along with more assembly plant closures this morning. Goodbye, screamin' chicken, GTO, building excitement and the "great ones."
We were the first to report it back in February, but now it's officially official when General Motors will announce a restructuring plan at 9 a.m. EDT today. The storied Pontiac brand is dead and more car factories and jobs are about to disappear - the latest casualties of a plan GM's counting on to help it stave off bankruptcy protection. The plan is being announced as GM makes an offer to its bondholders to swap debt for company stock — something along the lines of $1000 for 225 shares of stock. GM owes $28 billion to large and small bondholders, and under Securities and Exchange Commission rules, it must disclose its operational plans when it makes an exchange offer.
GM's plan includes the demise of Trans Am sports car brand Pontiac, 83 years after the first Pontiac car was introduced. Within three years, half a million Pontiacs were sold, and the brand quickly grew in popularity, from early models like the Chief and the Master Six Coupe, to the Bonneville convertible, to the GTO - one of America's first muscle cars and so popular it inspired Ronny and the Daytonas to immortalize it in song.
But as we all know, efforts in the last few years to market Pontiac as performance-oriented brand failed. The company had said it wanted to keep Pontiac as a niche brand with one or two models, but is buckling under tremendous government pressure to consolidate its eight brands, several of which lose money.
We'll have more after the 9:00 AM conference call. But keep a stiff upper lip arrowhead fan-boys — you'll always have Smokey and the Bandit.