GM Leaves Bankruptcy: Where Do the Brands Stand?

SaturnVue In the tumult of GM’s lightning-quick journey through bankruptcy, you may have lost track of what will happen to all the individual brands. Therefore, here’s a quick and handy guide to where each brand currently stands as the new taxpayer-owned GM emerges from Chapter 11.

Saturn: Purchased by the Penske Automotive Group, which owns NASCAR and IndyCar racing teams, as well as the U.S. distribution arm of the Smart car brand. Saturn’s five models will become the property of Penske but will still be built by GM on a contract basis. According to reports, GM will continue production of the three best-selling Saturn models for the next two years: the Aura, Vue and Outlook. It will discontinue the Sky and Astra. By 2011, GM will stop producing Saturn vehicles, and Penske will have to find a new manufacturer — possibly Renault Samsung Motors of Korea, according to Automotive News.

Saab: Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg led a consortium to purchase the ailing brand from GM. The deal is contingent on $600 million of financing from the European Investment Bank to be guaranteed by Sweden. The deal is supposed to close sometime in the third quarter of this year, but analysts have questioned whether Saab is big enough to survive regardless. It sold only 93,000 cars last year and has been unprofitable for a long time.

Hummer: There’s been much back and forth speculation about whether the Chinese government will allow heavy machinery company Tengzhong to buy the Hummer brand from GM. For now, though, the deal appears to be on. Tengzhong has said it will keep production in the U.S. and work to build more fuel-efficient versions of the gas-guzzling SUVs.

Pontiac: Perhaps the saddest story of GM’s stumble, the automaker will discontinue Pontiac entirely, and the brand’s long and storied muscle-car history will be no more. Although it was GM’s third-best-selling brand in 2008 behind Chevy and GMC, Pontiac was called a “damaged brand” by Bob Lutz as early as 2005. Buick and Cadillac were seen as more profitable core brands, leading to Pontiac’s discontinuation by 2010. Get a G8 or Vibe while you still can.

Buick: Despite being only the sixth-best-selling brand in GM’s old lineup, Buick survived the cut thanks to a focus on affordable luxury vehicles. Models like the Enclave have proved popular, while Buick maintains a large following in the expanding market of China. Thanks to these factors, the brand is seen as having been resurrected. The new, eagerly awaited Buick LaCrosse goes on sale this summer.

Cadillac: Too high-profile (not to mention high-profit) a brand to give up, Cadillac will continue to focus on luxury models under the new GM. Products like the all-new 2010 SRX crossover promise to deliver some intriguing options to the luxury market.

GMC: GM’s second-most-profitable brand, GMC, will continue to build trucks and SUVs to compete against the other heavy-hitters. It’s likely that the brand will introduce more hybrids and fuel-efficient models, like the upcoming Terrain crossover.

Chevrolet: As GM’s top-selling brand, it was clear Chevy wasn’t going anywhere. Now, all eyes will be on the extended-range, plug-in, electric Volt when it debuts in late 2010, as well as new models like the Camaro and Equinox. GM decided to move forward with the Volt despite the fact that it will probably lose money at first, but the decision probably wasn’t hard. The Volt may be one of the most anticipated cars in a generation, and its success or failure will be a major factor in GM’s future perception.

Comments 

J

hm...
So simply put, the Astra is pretty much DOA.
And the Pontiac is dead because even they sell way more than Buick, but they don't rack in profit like Buick does; thus gets the chopping block.

Makes no sense at all.
The Pontiac fans will just simply go somewhere else than another GM product.

broq

That's business.

broq

J,
What Pontiac cars are there left to be fans of though? The current buyers/owners I mean? The G8 is the only sports oriented one. The solstice was a niche seller. The Vibe? Good little redesign but I think most buyers can easily go to Chevy and not have a problem. Minus the G8, which didn't sell well.

Buick is an easy one to keep because of the China connection.

Al

The reason the G8 didn't sell well wasn't because it was a bad car. The economic climate is what is hurting the G8. Now that people realize it's leaving, they're snatching them up quickly, just last month I believe almost 3,700 G8's were sold. At that rate, they would sell over 43k for the year, which is well over the goal of 30k. Once again, just poor timing, not a poor car.

I don't know about most people, but I happen to like the 2009.5 G6's with the G8 redesign cues. I've always been a fan of the car, and think this just took it one step further. I think GM is underestimating how well the brand could've actually been, if it were given a chance.

Especially right now, with the CAFE standards pushing us back to the 80's as far as engine restrictions for gas mileage, cars such as the G8 would sell in droves and are selling. You can argue discounts are driving it, but everyone is giving big discounts right now, and some people are still paying close to sticker for a quality car.

doMesTiCkStrIpeZ

In my opinion GMC should cease. The new terrain looks great but all i keep hearing is ALL pontiacs were just rebadges of Chevys.To an extent i agree but if the brand so called failed due to rebadging then GMC should have been on the FIRST train to the graveyard.

It's not just about the quality of the vehicles; GM's also taking into account profitability, which will lead to sustainability in the long run. And GMC has that. Because of GM's ability to simply rebadge a Chevy, it obviously has a lower cost to produce than a full line of unique cars and platforms. And if enough people buy it...$$$ is all that matters.

I don't like the way business works most of the time, either, but hey...

SouthTX

With the euro/dollar rate of 1.40 dollars per euro, it is impossible to bring any cheap car from Europe and make a profit (BMW, Merc and specially VW/Audi can charge outrageous mark ups for their cars).

I feel sorr for Pontiac, my little Sunbird was a great car, even if it was hated by the critics.

Dave Wuss

WHY GM IS THE WORST CAR COMPANY IN THE WORLD:
GM is pulling out of the NUMMI partnership with Toyota leaving 5,440 UAW workers without a job. GM couldn't meet ongoing manufacturing standards so as part of their bankruptcy emergence GM decided to cut and run. A Toyota spokes person said they are considering other options such as building the Prius as they want to do everything possible to honor their 25 year partnership with the community of Fremont, CA. A anonymous UAW NUMMI spokesman said all 5,440 workers are willing to divest from the UAW in order to convert to become full-time Toyota NUMMI employees. GM initially informed Toyota of their intent to build a Pontiac Vibe four door and five door replacement under the Chevy brand name.
The NUMMI facility was put together 25 years ago at the request of GM so they could learn Japanese lean manufacturing concepts. The partnership for GM resulted in the Nova, Prizm, and Vibe vehicles obtaining the lowest warranty claims in GM's history.

I hope Toyota can save those 5,440 employees jobs. Just the other day there was reports on Bloomberg about how GM sprung this news on Toyota at the end of June reneging on their commitment. Bloomberg also reported that Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru) has since shown a strong interest in joining NUMMI.

Bottom line: GM is the most unAmerican car company in the world.

Angelo_Frank

Until GM finds a way to win over the car buyers on the populous East and West coasts the chance of profitability remains slim. The buyers in these areas have pretty much bought imports since the 1980s and have no incentive to go back to American badged vehicles, particularly GM or Chrysler products. Ford seems to be trying with their pending Fiesta, which is very popular in the UK. This may get market share, but Toyota and Honda still rule the registration stats.

H

Dave Wuss,

Stop with the smear campaign already. You don't know squat about what went on in the negotiations between Toyota and GM about NUMMI so don't post snippets of hearsay and unsubstantiated rumors and act like that's the whole story.

Dave Wuss

Here's just one of many links available on something called the "Internet" via a search engine named "Google":

http://www.mercurynews.com/alamedacounty/ci_12810838?nclick_check=1

Clearly you're not very smart. Lazy? Yes, Intelligent? No.

J

You see, Dave. I am from around Detroit, and know quite some people who are die hard Pontiac fans, and will just buy anything that has its badge.
The G6 sells pretty well here (even I think it is a pathetic car).

MileGrinder

Under the Chevrolet heading, there was no mention of what, if anything, is happening with Chevrolet pickups. I'd like to hear from someone who understands the mystique of the bow-tie brand vs. the jimmy brand. They appear to be carbon copies of each other. Wouldn't it make sense to fish or cut bait on one of these truck lines and then just change the discontinued-brand factories to the one that survives? I admit I don't have an MBA, so there may be some business piece to this that I'm not getting, but it just appears to me to be a sentiment-based decision based on some loyalists' odd fealty to Chevy vs. GMC or vice versa.

Radha

I've been car shopping and the Pontiac Vibe is #1 on my list to take advantage of the "cash for clunkers" voucher program. But if Pontiac is going away, is it OK to purchase a Vibe? What will happen when it comes time for maintenance and repairs? What about the great warranties they are promising? Anyone really know?

H

Dave Wuss,

Back to what you do best I see...juvenile insults. If this link you provided is for some sort of supporting evidence for your previous comments then keep looking because it doesn't support one thing YOU said.

In the meantime, why don't you do a little more reading up on NUMMI (www.nummi.com) including the very article you posted. Maybe you can grasp that this plant is essentially a Toyota plant and that Toyota threatening to shutdown NUMMI has nothing to do with GM pulling out of the JV. It has everything to do with Toyota using this event to posture with the UAW during contract time to extort concessions out of them. So keep hoping that Toyota "saves" all those supposedly GM jobs but only after graciously dictating that workers accept paycuts and reductions in benefits and pensions.

Rather ironic how "American" Toyota has truly become.

dd

the Pontiac G8 is becoming the Chevy Caprice! Woohoo

mike

If GM was really interested in eliminating waste , they would simply get rid of anything that is badge engineered(G3,G5,some pickup models, and suvs that are basically the same across 3 or 4 divisions. The G6 is a different car than the Malibu, therefore should be kept. The Vibe is the best car GM sells and should be kept, only one division of trucks and suvs is needed. There are lots of different model cars to have kept Pontiac alive, and when they started to be profitable again, start expanding lines. This is probably history in the making when a successful make of car is discontinued. Pontiac owners who appreciate what Pontiac was about will have to look at Dodge for a similar market vehicle.
If I was running the company, I would first eliminate Daewoo from building extremely bad cars, they make a great TV though. The G3 and Aveo are garbage, and dont come close to the Japanese cars they compete against. I think they could build a better car here in North America.
Chevrolet could build cars only, GMC would be trucks and suvs, Pontiac would be sports type cars, Buick would build family cars and wagons, Caddy would build luxury cars only.

Thanks for the time

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