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Are Pontiacs the "Studebakers" of the future?

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  • Are Pontiacs the "Studebakers" of the future?

    A well respected old make with lots of interesting cars, a large fan base and lots of survivors?

  • #2
    A HUGE part of the love for Studebaker that kept the story going was they were an "Underdog". Studebaker's market share was minuscule, but had a loyal core. I'm not sure that type of loyalty exists anymore. A product has to be as good as or better than everyone else's to sell in any numbers period. And, brands don't mean what they used to to people.

    GM market share has dropped from 25-30% to a current level at about 17%. Most has been lost the past five years.

    I'm not sure GM can afford to abandon what goodwill they had with Pontiac forever. But in today's fickle loyalty, the clock is ticking. Especially since GM market share is currently where Chrysler's was in the US in 1998. I think you would have had a hard time convincing anyone here over 45 on the Forum that they were going to live long enough to see GM's share shrink this much. IF the economy comes back, the company returns to full public or private ownership, and GM intends to grow again, I don't think it would take much to include some lower priced, sporty models badged as Pontiacs for the dealers who now only have Buick - GMC. Those dealers are COMPLETELY locked out of the low end of the market, and would likely welcome product that would put them back in it.

    I think Pontiac was targeted simply because of it's performance heritage by the incompetents that now run the company. Pontiac had no place in a "Green" automaker. The last proposal before the current GM structure was mandated by the government included keeping Pontiac in a similar structure as I propose. The divisional status of Pontiac and it's separate marketing structure are likely gone for good. I think as those "running" GM continue to discover their dealer body and marketing channels were one of their top selling tools, they will wake up and realize their brand cuts were too deep. Particularly Pontiac.

    If the economy plugs along in low gear for an extended period, Pontiac is likely gone for good.

    Studebaker never enjoyed having such a large organization behind them. Many here probably still refuse to consider Pontiac a full "orphan". But a brand has never become an "orphan" before the same year it had a top ten selling model (G6). Pontiac is in uncharted "orphan" territory.

    The circumstances surrounding Pontiac are vastly different from those that launched Studebaker into orphancy.

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    • #3
      I think Oldsmobile is a better comparison to Studebaker. Like John & Clem, Ransom Eli Olds was a visionary with humble beginnings. Both companies were very innovative at the beginning, and each pioneered a few motoring inventions along the way. Even under the GM umbrella, Oldsmobile has some autonomy (along with the other divisions) until the late 1960's while Studebaker carried along as an independent. In the end, it was not their respective divisions that wanted to stop making cars, but their Boards of Directors. (I won't get into who called the shots in 2009 and told GM what lines to drop)

      Craig
      Last edited by 8E45E; 07-15-2012, 07:16 AM.

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      • #4
        One thing to remember that Olds and Pontiac had their 'day' many years ago and by the 1990's neither was anything special IMHO with the exceptions of the Solstice, G8 and GTO. In other words; Chevy could cover Pontiac and Buick subbed for Oldsmobile.
        --------------------------------------

        Sold my 1962; Studeless at the moment

        Borrowed Bams50's sigline here:

        "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 1962larksedan View Post
          One thing to remember that Olds and Pontiac had their 'day' many years ago and by the 1990's neither was anything special IMHO with the exceptions of the Solstice, G8 and GTO. In other words; Chevy could cover Pontiac and Buick subbed for Oldsmobile.
          If GM is to do without Pontiac then they had better start giving Buick more market coverage. I would argue market penetration wise, Buick was better poised for orphancy than Pontiac in the U.S. But, Buick has a sterling quality record (because of lower sales?) and is highly successful in overseas markets. I see no effort to expand Buick beyond the piddly four models offered now. Buick does not have the same market coverage Lexus, Acura, or Infiniti does. Buick-GMC stand alone stores have to be hurting. It's painfully obvious where GM was deriving it's volume had little to do with the final brand decisions. If they want to pare the company down to two brands only like Toyota, lookout below for 10-15% Market Share and tons of pain yet to come for GM. Well, I guess Toyota did expand to three. With the Pontiac like Scion marque.

          Getting back to keeping the thread Studebaker related, Studebaker put themselves inside a box in similar ways to what GM has recently by abandoning larger cars for only the Lark. Of course, no resources were available to do anything else at Studebaker. Studebaker's dealer network was weak.

          GM's dealer network WAS the envy of the industry. Someone is going to have to manage and direct GM through the next phase of the restructuring. It's current management team is not up to that challenge. Who ends up calling the shots at GM the next few years will predict the future. Let's hope it's not Byers Burlingame.

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          • #6
            To: 64V19816,------I like older Pontiacs, but really can't see any direct comparisons between the two marques. (other than they're both out of production)

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            • #7
              One thing about Studebaker, with their losing market share, lack of capital to fund new development, and the business circumstances that have supplied lessons for academic management classes through the years...they will never be known as Chevrolet clad in plastic and labeled as something they were not.

              Even with the Skybolt six, and 283, as the company breathed its last as an automaker...they were unmistakably Studebaker.

              Pontiac had a great run, but few manufacturers can or will ever match the rich history that is encompassed by Studebaker. Difficult to see how they could engender the following of the SDC. However, stranger things have happened. Who, but for the few visionaries of our founding, could have seen what the SDC has become?
              John Clary
              Greer, SC

              SDC member since 1975

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              • #8
                Back to Studebaker dropping their bigger cars for the Lark; that was an excellent move IMHO because by 1958, the company was dying. Too, the. Lark was the Commander/President with excess overhang removed.
                --------------------------------------

                Sold my 1962; Studeless at the moment

                Borrowed Bams50's sigline here:

                "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 1962larksedan View Post
                  One thing to remember that Olds and Pontiac had their 'day' many years ago and by the 1990's neither was anything special IMHO with the exceptions of the Solstice, G8 and GTO. In other words; Chevy could cover Pontiac and Buick subbed for Oldsmobile.
                  the Solstice (and Saturn Sky) were the "new" Opel GT's. http://www.rsportscars.com/opel/2007-opel-gt/

                  and the new GTO and G8 were from Holden in OZ. as is the new camaro.

                  not that there's anything wrong with that!

                  i miss the old "wide-tracks" - have owned several... but globally (read: China) - they love the Buicks.
                  Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

                  '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

                  '40 Champion. sold 10/11. '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.

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                  • #10
                    I like pre 70 Pontiacs, except for GTOs. At least they aren't Chevys! But, them being part of a larger corporate giant, doesn't give them the orphan appeal of the independents.
                    Bez Auto Alchemy
                    573-318-8948
                    http://bezautoalchemy.com


                    "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bezhawk View Post
                      I like pre 70 Pontiacs, except for GTOs. At least they aren't Chevys! But, them being part of a larger corporate giant, doesn't give them the orphan appeal of the independents.
                      In all fairness: many of the 1971-79 Pontiacs were pretty decent; at least those powered by Pontiac 400-455 V8's. Even the 1979 Trans-Am TA 400 (4 spd only) was quite a machine by late 1970's standards.
                      --------------------------------------

                      Sold my 1962; Studeless at the moment

                      Borrowed Bams50's sigline here:

                      "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "I think Pontiac was targeted simply because of it's performance heritage"...I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but Pontiac's "performance heritage" was essentially in the 1960's (along with most other car makers, including Studebaker). I love that era for Pontiac, but after 1970 or so I have a hard time thinking of "Pontiac" and "performance" in the same sentence. The exception would be the G8, but that was a 2 year only model (in the US), and didn't sell well. By the end of 2008 they had sold 13,000 and had 11,000 in unsold inventory. With a fairly major drop in price, they sold a total of about 30,000 through the 2009 model year and had 5,000 left over.

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_G8

                        When the market is telling you that "performance" and "Pontiac" don't go together, it's a good idea to believe it. How many potential customers do you honestly think equate "Pontiac" with "performance"? My "opinion" is that essentially everything that was being sold in the Pontiac line up was duplicated by Chevrolet or Buick. The market just wasn't buying badge engineering and something had to go...it wasn't going to be Chevrolet or Buick. I would think if "performance heritage" was a live or die criteria, we wouldn't still have a Corvette or Camaro or those high HP Cadillacs.

                        I'm also having a hard time with "market share" as the most important measure of a company's viability. Certainly the US automakers missed the boat when the market grew from essentially just North America and Europe to the WHOLE world, AND when they underestimated the quality and depth of offerings that Asian companies could bring, AND when they stopped listening to customers and built what THEY wanted to build, but GM isn't doing too badly. GM is #1 in the world in auto sales with over 9 million units sold in 2011 http://www.forbes.com/sites/michelin...-drivers-seat/ . GM sold more Chevrolets in the first quarter of 2011 than ANY quarter in its history http://www.mlive.com/auto/index.ssf/...best_sale.html. Perhaps they've topped even that by now?

                        Certainly if GM had taken foreign competition seriously, realized it's a big world out there, and built what their customers were asking for, they would probably have an even bigger market share. But here's an analogy...

                        You open a gas station in a small town. You are the only gas station in town. You have 100% market share. You're pumping 500 gallons/day. An interstate highway is built within blocks of your station. 3 other stations immediately open on the other 3 corners of your location. You now have 25% market share and are pumping 2,000 gallons/day. As a business man I'll take door #2.

                        The real measure of a company's success is of course profits. GM is making money for the first time in a LONG time. They are doing something right for the first time in a LONG time (which may include things like skinning down their brands AND reducing their dealerships number to be more in line with their competition). I wish them the best.
                        Last edited by Dick Steinkamp; 07-15-2012, 05:31 PM.
                        Dick Steinkamp
                        Bellingham, WA

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                        • #13
                          http://www.theblaze.com/stories/gm-b...e-whole-story/

                          Studebaker also went heavily after the fleet market when retail sales failed to produce sufficient volume.
                          Last edited by 556063; 07-15-2012, 06:49 PM.

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                          • #14
                            A new topic for this thread, but hardly from a factual, unbiased source...

                            "TheBlaze is a conservative news and opinion website owned by American media personality and former Fox News host Glenn Beck's Mercury Radio Arts."
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TheBlazehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationa..._Policy_Center)

                            I don't have a dog in this hunt. I don't own any GM stock, I do own an 11 year old GMC pick up, however, (if that counts. .) I'd like to see US companies succeed, however. Facts are one thing...editorials with a political agenda are something else.

                            Bottom line for me on this thread...vintage Pontiacs (pre 70's) have been and probably always will always be collectible. MORE so than Studebakers (check current pricing). I don't think their orphan status will effect this in any way, however.
                            Dick Steinkamp
                            Bellingham, WA

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                            • #15
                              Count me in on the Unofficial Studebaker Ponton Orphan kinda guy site. The name Pontiac sounds nice in a song. Ceterus Parabus
                              My 1st car. "A TRANSTAR"

                              Starliner
                              sigpic
                              Somewhere between Culture and Agriculture
                              in the Geographic center of Tennessee

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