Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Did you see Pontiac Coming?

Did you see Pontiac Coming? Were there any of us that saw Pontiac coming? GM giving the brand the shutdown special? Let me give you some background. You and I both know that no one wants to drive a Pontiac right now. It’s scary to think that the car you rely on for school, work, shopping, travel emergencies may be the next Dodo Bird, or West African Black Rhino. Would you trust your life saving prescription medicine from a company that is going bankrupt? Or Fly an Airline that flies in the Spirit of St. Louis? I think as consumers we are a lot smarter than that, at least I hope so. A few weeks ago I saw a commercial for the new Toyota Venza. Seemed like a cool car; station wagon style, slick lines, 5 doors, wait a minute it looks oddly like the Toyota Matrix? Was Toyota going to discontinue making the Matrix? Why the heck would a car company discontinue a car that has done so well and even created a niche for itself. I could not rationalize it, two cars, similar look, similar specs, similar market. Hmm what a conundrum. My spider sense is tingling because I think that Pontiac has something to do with the new car, specifically the Pontiac Vibe. Anyone seen this car? If you have not I would not blame you, it is simply the GM version of the Matrix, same car, but cheaper because it is by GM, and since its “American” people do not buy it. The reality is that it is pretty much the same car. According to Wikipedia “The Vibe is the mechanical counterpart of the Toyota Matrix and is based on the Toyota Corolla's E-platform.” And the article continues to say “Despite the shrinking of the Pontiac brand, the Vibe is expected to remain in production into the foreseeable future. If Pontiac would be discontinued, the Vibe would most likely reappear under one of GM's surviving brands.” I am not sure when this was edited on the page, I did correct some spelling, but that is awesome. Whoever wrote the page saw what everyone else saw, get off the GM boat and swim for shore this is going to be trouble. The Toyota Matrix wiki page stated the following in regards to the Pontiac Vibe “Identical mechanically, and nearly as much internally, the Matrix and Vibe are clothed in different sheet metal designed by their respective brands.” I am going to go on a limb here and call that Toyota will discontinue the matrix and or move the Matrix’s technology and platform under its Scion banner under a new name or blend it with the xB (anyone remember the Toyota Scion Xa, i.e. Mini Matrix??). They have already blended the xB and the xA into a sleeker smaller, rounder looking type thing. Toyota is going to streamline their production and shakedown extra cars and consolidate their models and not double up like so many American Car Companies have done in the past, remember at one point we had a Dodge Neon, Plymouth Neon, Chrysler Neon also Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, Mercury Topaz and Ford Tempo have also hard their cars; we have had other examples but I think you get the point. Toyota is being smart about getting away from a sinking ship and making sure that their brand is not tarnished by the UAW, whoops I meant to say GM.