2009 Pontiac G3: Just Another Aveo

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Pontiac is going to add a version of the four-door Chevy Aveo hatchback to its lineup next spring, to be called the G3. Pontiac already markets a G3 Wave in Canada and now will offer it as simply the G3 in the U.S.

"The G3 gives us a credible new high-mileage entry-level car at a time when small cars are the fastest-growing segment in the industry," Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson said.

Sure, but isn’t Pontiac supposed to be the high-performance excitement division at General Motors?

"More than ever, fuel economy is an important factor in Pontiac's formula of style and performance," Susan Docherty, vice president of the Buick-Pontiac-GMC group, said, noting that the G3 gives Pontiac four models that obtain more than 30 mpg in highway driving: the G3, G5, Vibe and G6.

"We still have G8 and Solstice rear-drive performance sports cars, as well as the front-drive G5 and Vibe that are sporty and get good mileage, and now we'll have the G3 that's sporty and gets very good mileage and is very fuel-efficient at the entry-level car range," Hopson said.

Joe Phillippi, an auto analyst and principal of automotive consulting firm AutoTrends, said what Pontiac is doing is a necessary part of the business today.

"This smacks of Pontiac backsliding from performance to economy cars, but I understand what they're doing and why they're doing it," he said. "Everyone has to fight the battle with stricter CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] regulations coming. In order to sell the G8 and Solstice sports cars [you] have to sell some high-mileage economy cars alongside them to help meet the CAFE average.”

That’s why Chevy needs to sell lots of Aveos to be able to keep selling Corvettes.

Stricter CAFE regulations take effect in 2020 and call for each automaker to obtain an average of 35 mpg from its fleet of cars, up from the required 27.5 mpg today.

"That's a tall order,” Phillippi said. “That's why Chevy is working on the Volt (plug-in hybrid) and why Pontiac is adding a G3."

The G3, which will debut as a 2009 model, also gives dealers who went along with GM’s game plan and consolidated Buick, Pontiac and GMC under one roof something they needed.

"Dealers have complained that to compete with Chevy, as well as Toyota and Honda, they needed a high-mileage entry-level car because Buick doesn't have one, and the G3 gives them one," Phillippi said.

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By Jim Mateja | September 18, 2008 | Comments (40)

Comments 

Cj

and the rebadging continues...

Roo

I like this better than the Aveo, which now has that huge, unproportional Malibu-esque grille. This looks more tasteful and the gauges look much sportier than the regular Daewoo ones in the Chevy

Colin B

OMG! I can’t believe they let the dealer’s voices win over prudent product planning again. I don't care what GM’s PR people say, the Aveo/G3 doesn't even really get great gas mileage anyways.

The G5 gets better gas mileage and is selling slowly. Bringing out a G3 hatch is just burning a fire underneath the Vibe, which in turn gets better gas mileage.

The truth is it's not about passing CAFE standards its GM's short sightedness to sell a few more of these cheap things through another sales channel.

Couldn't they have least waited until the new Aveo platform to do this? How DARE they call this thing ‘sporty’! Honestly the word in GM’s hands has lost all meaning.

Ugh…

ziggy

The bad thing is that since the general buying public is fairly ingnorant they'll buy this and not know it's an aveo. That's pretty sad considering the aveo is a very unreliable car.

The CAFE argument is really lame. It's "corporate average fuel economy" not "brand average fuel economy." GM has to meet the standard, not Pontiac. Also they can only increase their CAFE numbers by actually selling cars. I don't see that happening here.

As for making dealers happy, I still think they need to bring Saturn into the Pontiac/Buick/GMC sales channel as the green brand. A Saturn Aveo makes a lot more sense.

YOING

The Opel Corsa would have been better suited for this segment than this miserable deathtrap. But then again, GM couldn't get the Corsa to meet saftey regs so it wouldn;t have made much of a difference in that dept.

Still would have been a more entertaining drive.

segfault

They should have called it the Pontiac LeMans, the last iteration of which was also a rebadged Korean car.

Al

It looks just like the Pontiac Optima from the 1980's.

I wonder if GM will bring back the Chevette too?

Kevin

Wow couldn't they have done a better job at least in the outside? The front looks like the G5. They should have differentiated it more. Still, I wouldn't buy one.

Bowrider

GM takes 2 steps back for every step forward. I could understand a little better if the Aveo achieved excellent gas mileage. Not the case, though.

It is gross looking as an aveo or G3. I understand GM giving dealers what they need, but they also have an image to try and rebuild. Judging by some of the ads I hear on the radio and see on TV- seems like these dealers don't care at all about the long term image of the brands that they sell, just numbers- fitting since they make their money from the service departments.

What Pontiac should/still could do is add some further differentation from the aveo. They can lower the car, add bigger, nicer wheels; maybe even agressive body work. little things like that would set it apart from the aveo (which i don't think even sells that well) and attract more buyers and would't effect fuel economy that much.

Broq

kj

I like the looks of this car, but would buy a Honda Fit instead.

Had they given Chevrolet only the sedan and Pontiac only the hatch, they almost could have avoided overlap.

AladdinSane

Maybe GM should also include the AVEO5 THREE door Liftback available here as the G3, selling both the three and five door models in the Pontiac lineup. That would have given Pontiac the edge, above the more ordinary Chevy AVEO5 hatch. And it's true: Pontiac should have done more, as Broq mentioned in his post, to set the G3 apart from the Aveo5. Bummer! GM blows it again.

Peace!

alex

ill gladly spend the extra money for a honda fit, why does gm keep rebadging everything?

L.P.

Why does GM keep rebadging everything? It looks better than the Aveo, but that's not the case. This shows that GM is desperate build up the model line-ups for their cars. I'd buy a Honda Fit instead, I agree. GM cannot change the headlights and tailights and then rebadge it. You're just basically buying a car that looks exactly the same as the less expensive one, which doesn't make any sense. Let the rebadging commense.

D

I heard recently that this is now a "No-Go"!!??

u

If its more than an Aveo, then it'll sell much less than that car as most Pontiacs rebadged have always sold lower, i.e., Sunfire, G5, etc...

D

I guess GM just can't make up their minds!!

J

WTH is this?

This is all they can come up with?

No wondered GM is dying.

Trainer

Great looking car. Reminds me of the Audi A3.

Troy S.

This reminds me of the Chevette / Pontiac T-1000 clones.

Troy S.

When will GM stop making the bad decisions? OK... I get it... It's a way to put another model choice out there that gets decent fuel economy.

They will sell some to un-savvy car buyers who won't realize that this is a rebadged Aveo. You won't fool car enthusiasts though.

What's next? A Firebird clone of the Camaro? A clone of the Volt called the Ampere? A Malibu clone?

Juan Carlos

did they just do a clone or are they making improvements? will we get an extra 3mpg and better steering? so where is the g4? will that be the pontiac version of the cruze?

T7

Honda produces the Fit and this is what GM comes up with!? No wonder no one in my family has purchased a GM product for over ten years. The Malibu's a failure and I'm quite confident given the management track record of GM that the Volt will be too. Thank God for Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

Scott

Pontiac must return to it's roots if its ever going to recover. This car is just wrong for the division's image. Not to mention it's an Aveo!

YOING

Take a gander at the new Ford Festiva and this just looks that much more pathetic.

This one will fail

J

Troy,

Isn't the Aura the clone already?

Cj

The Aura and the Malibu are based on the G6 already :D

Bloke

Wow, thanks CJ, where would the discussion be without all that info you have.

I think this car is good for GM if it helps them sell more. While it does not bode well for a "sporting" image Pontiac brand, it may give them more sales. I think this front end does look better than the Aveo, but it appears to be exactly the same everywhere. What I think is funny is that you probably won't see this vehicle pictured in any ads, I don't think you see the G5 a lot either, but they will definitely use the tag line mentioned above, "Pontiac now has 5 vehicles that get 30 mpg or above!" I would like to see Chevy get a car like this modeled after the Vibe, so maybe that would knock $1k or so off the price.

Red

Folks are unfairly comparing the G3 to the Honda Fit, when in fact the 2009 Fit has a base price of $15,000 and the Aveo/G3 will base at just over $11,000. There's no need to rip on this perfectly okay economy car - it's miles ahead of the subcompacts of the past and if the current financial meltdown continues, might be the only car a lot of people can afford.

Buckley

I don't know why GM continues to rebadge cars across all of their divisions (especially between Chevy and Pontiac, which has been rampant for as long as I can remember). When one car fails they all tend to fail, and considering GM's stunning lack of success lately is it really wise to put identical risk on every dealer lot?

Split them off into separate companies, completely, with totally different model lineups, and one or more may sink and one or more may swim. Which is probably better for GM, and for the US auto industry as a whole.

Oh, and Trainer: you seriously need some new glasses if you think this looks even remotely like an Audi.

J

The problem is that it is a REBADGED vehicle. Which point don't you pro-GM folks get?

What's next? GMC Cobalt?

Trainer

Hey Buckley, You're right, the G3 would look a lot more like an Audi if it was sitting on the side of the road with its hood up. Seriously, if Audi would spring for front fender vents, the A3 would look just the like the G3.

Troy S.

A pig with lipstick is still a pig. Copy-catting shows a lack of originality.

"If you can't build your own, don't clone"

Clint

Okay so it's a rebadged car. It does look better than an Aveo5. I have driven a lot of different vehicles from different Auto makers. All had things I like and didn't like. I bought this little car because I need a car fast and cheap. It is decent on gas and comfortable for me. Unlike the fit, where I don't fit. I have a long body and this usually puts my melon less than 2 inches from the roof, which I don't like. But in this car I can adjust my seat for me so that doesn't happen. It is sporty for its size and I'll also note that the 4 speed Auto with OD isn't sluggish. I also love the seat set up, I don't feel like I am laying on the ground, which for me is uncomfortable as hell and hard on my back because I commute over 100kms just to get to work.
I would tell anyone looking for a car to take one for a test drive. See for yourself.

Troy S.

Clint,

We need more un-biased reviews like you just posted here. Thank you!

samstone

Well I think I got my money's worth. I traded in my 94 transport Clunker, which was on it's last leg. Obama gave the dealer $4500, I used my GM discount and the dealer had a $2000 rebate. I got the loaded version with a standard transmission for $8300 after tax and title. We also have a 2009 Vibe. I call the G3 "the Vibe's ugly step brother."

samstone

Oh yea, The G3 is comfortable and fun to drive. Very roomy in the front and the stereo is great. Air works great and I get 30 mpg all around city and country driving, and I keep my foot in it while going through the gears. It would be nice if it had a 6th gear.

Ian

It looks a lot like the chevy aveo and has the same engine so basically the SAMe care

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