What Are Pontiac Owners Buying Today?

PontiacHas it been nearly two years since General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection? Yes indeed. The automaker filed Chapter 11 in June 2009, and with that, the fates of Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac were sealed.

The most important of those shuttered brands was arguably Pontiac because of its size. In 2008, Pontiac was the 12th most popular brand in America, slotting between Kia and Mazda. So where is the Pontiac diaspora migrating? They’re mainly going to other GM brands, according to a recent study by RL Polk & Co.

In 2010, of the 57,641 former Pontiac owners looking for a new ride, nearly 53.3% of them purchased another remaining GM brand. Historically, nearly 60% of Pontiac owners have remained loyal to GM, so the figure is slightly down.

Of those buyers, nearly 33.5% went to Chevrolet, followed by GMC (11.7%), Ford (10.5%), Toyota (7.7%) and Honda (7.5%). Those figures make sense to us. Considering that Pontiac was an affordable mainstream brand, those buyers flocked to other big mainstream brands.

Overall, nearly 69% of Pontiac owners stuck with a Detroit Three brand, mainly with GM. If you think the results of this study were certain to tip to GM’s favor, that wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Since 2004, nearly 80% of Oldsmobile owners – another defunct GM brand – have moved into non-GM rides, according to Automotive News. A similar exodus was predicted for Pontiac owners.

GM offered incentives, such as free oil changes and tire rotations, and promoted GM rides on Pontiac.com. There were also additional bonus-cash offerings for Saturn and Pontiac owners in 2010, according to Automotive News.

Pontiac Owners ... Where Are You Going Next? (Polk)



Some of us are keeping them, because there simply isn't anything close out there.

DeBinder Dundett

I know one couple who traded their aging Grand Prix for a BMW 525, and lived to tell about it. It would have been more logical for them to step up to a Cadillac, but it could very well be that with the bail out their GM-loyalty went out the door. A lot of people do not take kindly to bailing out the UAW and the US auto industry. Unless, of course, you happen to be a recipient of these grandiose schemes of keeping the unemployed working at the expense of the tax paying working people.


Most logical car to jump into from my G8 GT would be a Charger R/T or 300C. GM is not really offering anything similar at this price point.

If I go the frugal route next time Ford Focus Hatch, Next redesign of Malibu, Chrysler 200, or even Volt are on the list.


I owned a G8 GT, and I got rid of it and purchased a 2011 Kia Optima EX. Big step down in power, but in my opinion, the car is made better. It also has more amenities that I want. Chevy, or any GM brand for that matter, offer what I was/am looking for at a reasonable price. Kia is the new Pontiac as far as I'm concerned, and until GM has something sporty to over that doesn't have a Buick or Chevy badge on it, I'll keep my Optima :).

If you really look close, the Optima has the same profile as the G8 did, might be why I was immediately drawn to it.


Tim, you're right, there simply isn't anything else out there like those great Pontiacs. That is, if you're ignoring the fact that Chevys, Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs and some Cadillacs all share the same platforms, engines, electronics, radios, seats, body panels...


My 05 GTO begs to differ with your analysis of platform sharing. The only thing close is the Camaro and although I like the power and platform (not the same platform), but the look and interior just don't do it for me.

Though I do see the snide swipe you're taking and will just remind you how prevalent the strategy is in the industry.

Regardless, the styling and amenities of the different brands is what draws loyal followings to those brands. These are things that don't cross the platform barrier for a lot of people and that used to be the way the companies would market them.


I'll keep my Pontiac until it dies. It's really a Toyota, but hey, I still call it a Pontiac. I like hatchbacks and it seems like there are very few in the General's offerings anymore, other than tiny car or SUV. I received mailings from GM just about every month for a while offering me $1,000 to buy a Buick, GMC or Cadillac (but not Chevrolet, for some reason...). Anyhow, I'm pretty sure my next car will be a Ford Focus hatchback. I like Fords better anyhow, and I'm one of those ticked off bailout people.


With a 130,000 miles, my GTO is starting to show its age; unfortunately, the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger are too over the top (for a 30-something not trying to re-live his 60's era youth)... GM's other recommendations: Regal (a performance disappoint - even the GS) and CTS (can't own a CTS-V and convince co-workers you're not over-paid) aren't great options, either... Hyundai Genesis (sedan) or Kia Optima (Turbo) will be in my future...

Wow! Two years ago America's giant, GM, was toppled to its knees. And it was the best thing that could have happened to THE company, and to us, the car buyer. The New GM shed most of its dead weight, including its CEO, which under his reign, saw GM's stock drop 90% of its value! And it finally learned how to be a real global competitor.

When the old GM dropped Oldsmobile, it wasn't any surprise to those of us in the car business. Olds' retention was the lowest of all of GM's brands. And it was one of the worst in the industry. Shedding itself of Pontiac was very sad indeed. That was the nameplate that introduced us to "Wide Trackin'" and muscle car mania with the GTO. Unfortunately, it was also the perfect candidate for elimination. There were only 31 stand-alone Pontiac dealers in the U.S. in '09, making it very easy to lose them in bankruptcy. Farewell dear friend!

- Ray Lopez, www.raythesalesguy.com

Poncho Zombie

Always been a Pontiac loyalist and will keep my 2006 GTO until I kick the bucket. Wouldn't take a chevy or any other car if you paid me, but that just me. Nothing out there calls me like Pontiac did. Firehawk and G8 in my Future


I had a couple Pontiacs and I always felt they were two steps above a Chevy in the looks department. My Olds Cutlass was a nice car too. I have 2 Chevys now and a Toyota but I wish a true Pontiac could still be around instead of making a Chevy try to look like one. Hummer is gone and who cares. Oldsmobile ran it's course but Pontiac should have evolved to take on BMW and higher end imports.

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