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Old 04-27-2009, 09:11 AM   #1
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Default Officially Official: GM kills Pontiac

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Rumors from late last week have come home to roost, and as part of its restructuring efforts, General Motors has just announced that Pontiac will be "phased out by the end of 2010." GM will continue to build its accelerated viability plan around four brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC.

As part of its latest announcement, GM also announced that it plans to have "the resolution" of Saab, Saturn, and Hummer by the end of 2009 "at the latest." In total, GM plans to end up with just 34 nameplates for 2010, as compared to 48 for 2008 a reduction of some 29%. Further, as part of its viability plan tendered to President Obama's Auto Task Force, the automaker's revised viability plan projects that GM's total market share will dip to 18.4 to 18.9% the plan is banking on a 19.5 percent share for this year.

A media conference call is scheduled for later this morning and we will have more details and analysis following that, but for now, the official press release after the jump.
Quote:
PRESS RELEASE:

FOR RELEASE: 2009-04-27

GM Accelerates its Reinvention as a Leaner, More Viable Company

Updated Viability Plan Speeds, Deepens Restructuring of U.S. Operations


DETROIT -- General Motors (NYSE: GM) today presented an updated Viability Plan that will speed the reinvention of GM's U.S. operations into a leaner, more customer-focused, and more cost-competitive automaker.

The Viability Plan is included in an exchange offer whereby GM is offering certain bondholders shares of GM common stock and accrued interest in exchange for certain outstanding notes.

Revised Viability Plan goes further and faster

The Viability Plan announced today builds on the February 17 Viability Plan submitted to the U.S. Treasury. http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayS...=2&docid=52168. The revised Plan accelerates the timeline for a number of important actions and makes deeper cuts in several key areas of GM's operations, with the objective to make us a leaner, faster, and more customer-focused organization going forward.

Significant changes include:

* A focus on four core brands in the U.S. - Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC - with fewer nameplates and a more competitive level of marketing support per brand.
* A more aggressive restructuring of GM's U.S. dealer organization to better focus dealer resources for improved sales and customer service.
* Improved U.S. capacity utilization through accelerated idling and closures of powertrain, stamping, and assembly plants.
* Lower structural costs, which GM North America (GMNA) projects will enable it to breakeven (on an adjusted EBIT basis) at a U.S. total industry volume of approximately 10 million vehicles, based on the pricing and share assumptions in the plan. This rate is substantially below the 15 to 17 million annual vehicle sales rates recorded from 1995 through 2007.

"We are taking tough but necessary actions that are critical to GM's long-term viability," said Fritz Henderson, GM president and CEO. "Our responsibility is clear - to secure GM's future - and we intend to succeed. At the same time, we also understand the impact these actions will have on our employees, dealers, unions, suppliers, shareholders, bondholders, and communities, and we will do whatever we can to mitigate the effects on the extended GM team."

Fewer U.S. brands, nameplates, and dealers

As part of the revised Viability Plan and the need to move faster and further, GM in the U.S. will focus its resources on four core brands, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. The Pontiac brand will be phased out by the end of 2010. GM will offer a total of 34 nameplates in 2010, a reduction of 29 percent from 48 nameplates in 2008, reflecting both the reduction in brands and continued emphasis on fewer and stronger entries. This four-brand strategy will enable GM to better focus its new product development programs and provide more competitive levels of market support.

The revised plan moves up the resolution of Saab, Saturn, and Hummer to the end of 2009, at the latest. Updates on these brands will be provided as these initiatives progress.

Working with its dealers, GM anticipates reducing its U.S. dealer count from 6,246 in 2008 to 3,605 by the end of 2010, a reduction of 42 percent. This is a further reduction of 500 dealers, and four years sooner, than in the February 17 Plan. The goal is to accomplish this reduction in an orderly, cost-effective, and customer-focused way. This reduction in U.S. dealers will allow for a more competitive dealer network and higher sales effectiveness in all markets. More details on these initiatives will be provided in May.

Sales volume and market share projections

The Viability Plan anticipates improved financial results despite more conservative U.S. sales volume expectations going forward. The lower volume expectations are the result of managing the business with fewer nameplates and dealers, leaner inventories, and reduced market share. To address the inventory issue, GM on April 23 announced U.S. production schedule reductions of approximately 190,000 vehicles during the second and early third quarters of 2009.

The Viability Plan also reduces GM's market share projections to adjust for the impact of the brand and dealer consolidation, as well as for the short-term impact of speculation regarding a GM bankruptcy. The plan assumes a 19.5 percent share in 2009, with share stabilizing in the 18.4 to 18.9 percent range in subsequent years.

"We have strong new product coming for our four core brands: the Chevrolet Camaro, Equinox, Cruze and Volt; Buick LaCrosse; GMC Terrain; and Cadillac SRX and CTS Sport Wagon and Coupe," said Henderson. "A tighter focus by GM and its dealers will help give these products the capital investment, marketing and advertising support they need to be truly successful."

Lower structural costs, lower breakeven point

The Viability Plan also lowers GMNA's breakeven volume to a U.S. annual industry volume of 10 million total vehicles, based on the pricing and share assumptions in the plan. This lower breakeven point (at an adjusted EBIT level) better positions GM to generate positive cash flow and earn an adequate return on capital over the course of a normal business cycle, a requirement set forth by the U.S. Treasury in its March 30 viability plan assessment.

GM will lower its breakeven point by cutting its structural costs faster and deeper than had previously been planned:

* Manufacturing: Consistent with the mandate to accelerate restructuring, we plan to reduce the total number of assembly, powertrain, and stamping plants in the U.S. from 47 in 2008 to 34 by the end of 2010, a reduction of 28 percent, and to 31 by 2012. This would reflect the acceleration of six plant idling/closures from the February 17 plan, and one additional plant idling. Throughout this transition, GM will continue to implement its flexible global manufacturing strategy (GMS), which allows multiple body styles and architectures to be built in one plant. This enables GM to use its capital more efficiently, increase capacity utilization, and respond more quickly to market shifts.

* Employment: U.S. hourly employment levels are projected to be reduced from about 61,000 in 2008 to 40,000 in 2010, a 34 percent reduction, and level off at about 38,000 starting in 2011. This further planned reduction of an additional 7,000 to 8,000 employees from the February 17 Plan is primarily the result of the previously discussed operational efficiencies, nameplate reductions, and plant closings. GM also anticipates a further decline in salaried and executive employment as it continues to assess its structure and execute the Viability Plan. More details will be announced as soon as they are finalized with the various stakeholders.
* Labor costs: The Viability Plan assumes a reduction of U.S. hourly labor costs from $7.6 billion in 2008 to $5 billion in 2010, a 34 percent reduction. GM will continue to work with its UAW partners to accomplish this through a reduction in total U.S. hourly employment as well as through modifications in the collective bargaining agreement.

As a result of these and other actions, GMNA's structural costs are projected to decline 25 percent, from $30.8 billion in 2008 to $23.2 billion in 2010, a further decline of $1.8 billion by 2010 versus the February 17 Plan.

Strengthening GM's balance sheet

Another key element of GM's restructuring will be taking the necessary actions to strengthen its balance sheet. GM today took an important step in improving its balance sheet by launching a bond exchange offer for approximately $27 billion of its unsecured public debt. If successful, the bond exchange would result in the conversion of a large majority of this debt to equity.

"A stronger balance sheet would free the company to invest in the products and technologies of the future," Henderson said. "It will also help provide stability and security to our customers, our dealers, our employees, and our suppliers."

Another important part of improving the balance sheet will be the ongoing discussions with the UAW to modify the terms of the Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA), and with the U.S. Treasury regarding possible conversion of its debt to equity. The current bond exchange offer is conditioned on the converting to equity of at least 50 percent of GM's outstanding U.S. Treasury debt at June 1, 2009, and at least 50 percent of GM's future financial obligations to the new VEBA. GM expects a debt reduction of at least $20 billion between the two actions.

In total, the U.S. Treasury debt conversion, VEBA modification and bond exchange could result in at least $44 billion in debt reduction.

Throughout the Plan, GM will continue to make significant investment in future products and new technologies, with an investment of $5.4 billion in 2009, and investments ranging from $5.3 to $6.7 billion from 2010 to 2014. Very importantly, development and testing of the Chevy Volt extended-range electric car remains on track for start of production by the end of 2010 and arrival in Chevrolet dealer showrooms soon thereafter.

"The Viability Plan reflects the direction of President Obama and the U.S. Treasury that GM should go further and faster on our restructuring," Henderson said. "We appreciate their support and direction. This stronger, leaner business model will enable GM to keep doing what it does best - provide great new cars, trucks and crossovers to our customers, and continue to develop new advanced propulsion technologies that are vital for our country's economy and environment."

# # #

About GM - General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), one of the world's largest automakers, was founded in 1908, and today manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 243,000 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries. In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

Forward-Looking Statements - In this press release and in related comments by our management, our use of the words "plan," "expect," "anticipate," "ensure," "promote," "believe," "improve," "intend," "enable," "continue," "will," "may," "would," "could," "should," "project," "positioned" or similar expressions is intended to identify forward-looking statements that represent our current judgment about possible future events. We believe these judgments are reasonable, but these statements are not guarantees of any events or financial results, and our actual results may differ materially due to a variety of important factors. Among other items, such factors might include: our ability to comply with the requirements of our credit agreement with the U.S. Treasury; our ability to execute the restructuring plans that we have disclosed, our ability to maintain adequate liquidity and financing sources and an appropriate level of debt; the ability of our foreign subsidiaries to restructure and receive financial support from their local governments or other sources; our ability to restore consumers' confidence in our viability and to continue to attract customers, particularly for our new products; our ability to sell, spin-off or phase out some of our brands, to manage the distribution channels for our products, and to complete other planned asset sales; and the overall strength and stability of general economic conditions and of the automotive industry, both in the U.S. and globally.

Our most recent reports on SEC Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K provide information about these and other factors, which may be revised or supplemented in future reports to the SEC on those forms.
http://www.autoblog.com/2009/04/27/o...kills-pontiac/
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:18 AM   #2
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Later, Chief.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:27 AM   #3
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Why the hell would you keep GMC? I mean, really. GMC?!
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:32 AM   #4
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OMFG...................
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:38 AM   #5
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This plan also is FAIL
they failed on the fail.

but at least they are closing almost half of all GM car dealerships by end of the year.
can you buy a Camaro at WalMart yet.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by DoctorNick View Post
Why the hell would you keep GMC? I mean, really. GMC?!
buick? why keep them?
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dye.sti View Post
buick? why keep them?
Because the Grand National was that awesome?

I haven't seen the Pontiac loving guy at work today. I wonder if he took a sick day to mourn the loss?
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:56 AM   #8
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GM is headed in the right direction.
Might not seem like it now, and it's sad to see Pontiac go, but concentrating all their efforts on their remaining brands is absolutely the right thing to do - it will make all future GM products that much more competitive.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:18 AM   #9
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If GM kills of the Silverado and other truck/SUV’s and only sells them via GMC I could see a reason for it. GMC as the Truck and SUV for professionals and everyone else. Buick is more for China but maybe they have some ideas for it. There are no standalone Buick/Pontiac or GMC dealers so it’s really three retail sales channels so same as Ford/Lincoln and Mercury.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:21 AM   #10
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I just hope GM does the right thing and rebrands the G8...it was the best thing Pontiac had going.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:23 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post
I just hope GM does the right thing and rebrands the G8...it was the best thing Pontiac had going.
I said it in another thread, but based on the G8's sales, don't hold your breath. It might happen (and I hope it does), but I'm not expecting it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bheinen74 View Post
...can you buy a Camaro at WalMart yet.
That is not a bad idea. Seriously.

Bye Bye Pontiac.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:27 AM   #13
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Looking at all the past generation Pontiacs sold in the Chicago-land area, Pontiac was not the problem. The problem started when Bob Lutz got a bug up his butt about making Pontiac the US version of BMW. They created cars so out of step with what buyers were used to, they walked away. The cars still were not good enough though to draw the customers they wanted away from imports.

Hence they lost the loyal customers, and didnt gain many new ones. The same thing happened with Saturn.

Let this be a lesson to every domestic company. Magazines and publications may rag on your products. (Body cladding, ribbing on cars, fwd, etc) But changing the product to satisfy the car magazines does not mean success. I would not want to be a domestic car company, as auto enthusiasts we often forget what the simple common non-car-person buyer really wants in this country...

Edit: I just saw this article:

http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/27/autos/pontiac_obit/

Pontiac, even with a product line that confused customers, still outsold Buick and Cadillac. I am aware Buick sells well in Asia, but this still adds confusion to the decision...

Last edited by Tristar Racing; 04-27-2009 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:32 AM   #14
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RIP, my friend...RIP.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:40 AM   #15
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its not body cladding. Please...never use that again.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:40 AM   #16
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buick? why keep them?
#4 brand.

Outselling all of the canceled brands put together.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:41 AM   #17
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Is that guy puking on the rear window?
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:46 AM   #18
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Oh yeah! Good episode of the office and nice pic for pontiac today.


I will miss the pontiac brand. It always seemed like the brand that was least American of GM's brands. I am sad about the G8, but more seriously for GM will there now be a Chevy Vibe? I mean that car has ALWAYS been a great used deal. Toyota for domestic money. I hope they continue on with that relationship.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:48 AM   #19
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#4 brand.

Outselling all of the canceled brands put together.
Not to mention the value of the brand in China where its considered a high class brand like Lexus, BMW and MB...
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:56 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Tristar Racing View Post
Looking at all the past generation Pontiacs sold in the Chicago-land area, Pontiac was not the problem. The problem started when Bob Lutz got a bug up his butt about making Pontiac the US version of BMW. They created cars so out of step with what buyers were used to, they walked away. The cars still were not good enough though to draw the customers they wanted away from imports.

Hence they lost the loyal customers, and didnt gain many new ones. The same thing happened with Saturn.

Let this be a lesson to every domestic company. Magazines and publications may rag on your products. (Body cladding, ribbing on cars, fwd, etc) But changing the product to satisfy the car magazines does not mean success. I would not want to be a domestic car company, as auto enthusiasts we often forget what the simple common non-car-person buyer really wants in this country...

So you are saying that they should have continued to build POS like...

...because all the Cletus' and other slack-jawed yokels in the MidWest, who only bought them due to blind Patriotism and because they had a $5000 rebate, was the way to getting Pontiac's image out of the gutter that they have been since the 70s??

No way. No how. Pontiac was headed in the right direction with cars like the G8 and Solstice, but they were unluck with their timing (gas prices and severe recession) and unluck that GM simply didn't have the resources anymore to dump billions of more dollars into giving Pontiac the models that it deserved to have to truly become a "Performance Division". Lutz would have been Pontiac's savior except that limited time and limited resources were working against them.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:18 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Hazdaz View Post

So you are saying that they should have continued to build POS like...

...because all the Cletus' and other slack-jawed yokels in the MidWest, who only bought them due to blind Patriotism and because they had a $5000 rebate, was the way to getting Pontiac's image out of the gutter that they have been since the 70s??

No way. No how. Pontiac was headed in the right direction with cars like the G8 and Solstice, but they were unluck with their timing (gas prices and severe recession) and unluck that GM simply didn't have the resources anymore to dump billions of more dollars into giving Pontiac the models that it deserved to have to truly become a "Performance Division". Lutz would have been Pontiac's savior except that limited time and limited resources were working against them.

Look at the sales numbers of that Grand Am from 1994 compared to anything in the lineup today. Also, there were no 5k rebates on Grand Ams in that time period.

Once again, remove yourself from being a car enthusiast. Try to think like the common buyer who wants a roomer, comfortable daily driver at a decent price. I was not a fan of the Grand Am, but MANY were. They liked the style and value. Im not saying they shouldnt have tried to improve; what I am saying is they shouldnt have tried to re-focus the target audience. Pontiac never had a shot at being the domestic BMW.

Lutz had good ideas, but you cannot argue his change in direction for Pontiac resulted in lower sales. The G8 is a great car. Who is buying though? I was a huge Lutz fan in the Chrysler days and remained that way while at GM, but something has to give. His decisions have not helped GM. Even the Volt is being questioned, based on price and constant delays.

Slack jaw yokels? Clearly you have never been to the Chicagoland area. Unluck? You mean unlucky? Whos the yokel now?
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:37 AM   #22
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^^ Yeah, but that's the thing - GM already had at least one other division that would have met the need of those "average joes". I do understand what you are saying, but Pontiac can't be the car for non-enthusiasts if they already have Chevy and Buick (and even Saturn).

Lutz was right - Pontiac had to try going up-market, it's just that it never got the time/products to fulfill those goals. The car market has been flipped totally on it's head over the past 2 years and GM wasn't doing a consistent job on pushing Pontiac's "performance" credentials. They were very wishy-washy - coming out with decent products like the G8 and Solstice, but then diluting the brand with craptacular efforts like the G3 and G4 which was being mostly pushed by their dealers.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:45 AM   #23
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I believe the only reason GMC was created is so that non Chevrolet GM dealers would have a truck to sell. With the restructuring, this will stoll hold true for the Buick or Cadillac dealers.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:51 AM   #24
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They need to cut Saab and Hummer while they're at it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:09 PM   #25
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Personally I have mixed emotions over the whole thing. Overall I believe the decision is in the right direction. When all of these problems came to a head for GM they kept saying they would cut the fat out of the brand but gave no real concrete time table. I honestly thought they were all talk and they would do nothing but hit rock bottom and all the brands would disintegrate. I guess what I'm saying is at least they are trying something now, I hope for them it's enough.


So now onto the real question where do I get my G8 for a song? How does this work? Do I just show up at a Pontiac dealer and go "HA! All your bases are belong to us" or something and we both laugh a lot and they just give me one?
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