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Bob Lutz kills rumors of Pontiac G8 becoming Chevy Caprice


Pontiac may be dead in the water but some enthusiasts - and until today, Bob Lutz among them - have been clamoring for at least one of the brand’s cars to be rebadged and sold under another GM brand - the Australian-built Pontiac G8. Designed and constructed by GM's Holden subsidiary Down Under, the G8 had been pegged for re-branding as a Chevrolet Caprice. Today, however, Bob Lutz made it clear that no such plans are in the works.

GM CEO Fritz Henderson has previously answered with a resounding "no" when talking about a future for the Pontiac G8 GXP, but today's news sounds the death knell for the more rational G8 and G8 GT as well. On the GM Fastlane Blog, Lutz wrote, "The G8 will not be a Caprice after all. I’d mentioned it, and said we were studying it, giving it a serious look, because a car like the G8 was just too good to waste. That’s all still true. I have to say that, with my new 'marketing' hat on, upon further review and careful study, we simply cannot make a business case for such a program. Not in today’s market, in this economy, and with fuel regulations what they are and will be."

Henderson ostensibly remains committed to retain other aspects of GM's sporting heritage, including previous assurances that the Corvette will remain in the portfolio along with other performance models.

The G8-to-Caprice rumor started with Lutz himself. Within hours of announcing his plans to take on a marketing role at GM, Lutz revealed to Automobile Magazine that the Pontiac G8 would find its way into Chevrolet showrooms under the Caprice name.

"The last time we looked at [the G8], we decided that we would continue to import it as a Chevrolet," Lutz said. "It is kind of too good to waste."

Lutz also explained that GM’s U.S. operations still has export agreements with Australia and its Holden subsidiary, and also mentioned that the Pontiac G8 is sold in other markets, such as South Africa and the Middle East, wearing Chevrolet badges.

The rumor gained further credence when an 'insider' revealed a supposed plan from within GM. Speaking with Automotive News, the insider claimed that one possible option was to make the G8 a Chevrolet flagship sedan and price it relatively high. The insider also reaffirmed Lutz’s comments that the car would likely be renamed the Caprice, as well as revealing that the 415hp (310kW) G8 GXP might be retained as a sort of a “five-passenger Corvette” type of vehicle as well as a law enforcement vehicle.

Instead, the new national fuel economy standards have carried the day, and the G8 will no longer see American shores under any badge. Unfortunately, the model loss may not stop there, as GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson explained that there are “real issues with CAFE and rear-wheel drive.”
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Comments (41)
  1. The same car is sold as Chevrolet Lumina SS in the Middle East.
     
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  2. Too bad, the 8 is a nice car and should have some place at GM.
     
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  3. Give it a Chevy badge and it'll take away sales from the already successful Malibu. Give it a Buick badge and it'll take away sales from the new 2010 LaCrosse which looks promising. This is difficult, but one cannot disregard the fact that the G8 is a successful model. Perhaps keep the Pontiac brand until the end of the G8's life cycle and sell only the G8?
     
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  4. I hope this model does stay, and it's proving popular, and it could easily and cost-effectively be converted to another GM division offering. Even if Pontiac has to go, I feel that eliminating the G8/Holden Commodore-based sedan would be another way of GM shooting itself in the foot. I could see a 3.6L D.I. V6 in the base model and a V8 from the Camaro as an upgrade, and with some 400-420hp, you wouldn't need a GXP version. I hope such a decision is reached, and it would be an fine Impala SS, of something like it.

    GM, as it is, has a history of having a model, line or a division with short-comings, improving the models greatly over time, then, all of a sudden, killing it!
     
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  5. Michael D - have a look online at the current line up of the commodore from Holden. you will find that they have these engines already in place. And all that it would require would be a retooling to make them left hand drive. There are even options when buying these cars here to have Chevrolet badges on them instead of holden. It really is a no brainer to keep it on as it could be the global platform that GM clearly crave and need !
     
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  6. GM has needed a rear wheel drive 4 or more seater that is both available and affordable to North Americans a long time. The G8 is just what we want.This V8 powered 5 seater, is the closest thing to Corvette, most practically minded people will get. How about an AWD model? A great rebadging option for this car would the Buick GS. Yes GM needs to be seen as getting greener, but there is still a large market for what made GM a great car manufacturer. It would be unwise for GM to take this car out of the North American market.
     
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  7. IMHO - The Holden Caprice looks better than the Pontiac...
     
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  8. ...but to me, it would make more sense to bring it as the Buick Park Avenue and forget about the Lucerne replacement.
     
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  9. I say import a limited number of Holden Commodore sedans for Chevrolet under the "Monte Carlo" name and a limited number of Holden Caprice sedans for Buick under the "Riviera" name. Both names are rotting away in GM's vault without much hope of being revived for coupe products, so why not use the names for a couple of limited edition sedans?
     
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  10. Like the idea, think they should re-think the name
     
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  11. I disagree with most of the above sentiments. I sincerely hope this is not indicative of the sort of thinking we will see from the "New" GM. The Caprice could seat 6 and was deliberately designed as a throwback/taxicab. It had a lazy V8 and lots of trunk space. To put it another way, they sold a lot of Caprice station wagons. To only be able to seat four and to have a highly tuned musclecar V8 in the front is not a tribute to the Caprice - it's an indication of how out of touch Lutz has become.
     
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  12. This car did not sell as a Pontiac. Why should it sell as a Chevy??
     
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  13. This car did not sell as a Pontiac. Why should it sell as a Chevy??

    Actually it did sell well as a Pontiac, it was one of the few bright spots Pontiac has had in recent years and was a great car.
     
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  14. yep, NND is right. the G8 is selling very well. its the only desirable pontiac right now and one of the few GM products i would have bought even when they were bankrupt.

    I understand that RWD is an automatic loss of a couple MPG just from the loss in the drive shaft but I think if america can figure out a relatively economical technology to bring RWD inline with FWD, you'll see a renewal of "American motoring".

    It's the one thing i hope ford can figure out when they finally do kill the Crown. GM and Chrysler need to keep their RWD big sedans. Germany cant hit the price point and japan doesnt make a large RWD car for that price either.
     
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  15. I always thought the G8 was a cool car. For the price, it's hard to beat.
    Might make a good police car, I would think?
     
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  16. I understand that RWD is an automatic loss of a couple MPG just from the loss in the drive shaft but I think if america can figure out a relatively economical technology to bring RWD inline with FWD, you'll see a renewal of "American motoring".

    That technology is available right now on Euro-spec BMW's and Mini's as well as many full-hybrids, and it works perfectly for automatic transmission cars:
    it's called "Automatic Engine Start/Stop".
     
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  17. yep, NND is right. the G8 is selling very well. its the only desirable pontiac right now and one of the few GM products i would have bought even when they were bankrupt.

    I understand that RWD is an automatic loss of a couple MPG just from the loss in the drive shaft but I think if america can figure out a relatively economical technology to bring RWD inline with FWD, you'll see a renewal of "American motoring".

    It's the one thing i hope ford can figure out when they finally do kill the Crown. GM and Chrysler need to keep their RWD big sedans. Germany cant hit the price point and japan doesnt make a large RWD car for that price either.

    Well Ford probably won't but word is Kia is working on a rwd Amanti replacment on a shortened Genesis platform using the Coupes engines.
     
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  18. Go Lutz, go! The G8 is still selling like hotcakes even though the writing on the wall is clear for Pontiac. If people are still willing to buy a car from a company that they know will be gone in a few months, executives should take note! And the GXP is in extreme demand. I know of a case where a man paid to have a dealer ship one from Wyoming to here (I'm in the D.C. area) because none of the dealers have been able to keep any on the lots. And then he gladly paid a couple thousand over sticker!
    GM definitely needs this car and since Ford isn't likely to spawn a RWD V8 car any time soon, it's only real competitors will be Chrysler's LX cars.
     
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  19. for those questioning Ford's requirements for a large RWD car, look at the other Australian model. The Ford Falcon for a large car.
     
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  20. for those questioning Ford's requirements for a large RWD car, look at the other Australian model. The Ford Falcon for a large car.

    Ford has said they might replace it with a large FWD model for fuel economy
     
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  21. The 4.0 liter inline 6 of the Falcon achieves the same economy as the 4cyl Camry using the ADR fuel cycle.
     
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  22. The 4.0 liter inline 6 of the Falcon achieves the same economy as the 4cyl Camry using the ADR fuel cycle.

    Isn't that the engine they wanted to drop and replace with the 3.5 liter V6
     
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  23. True, why doesn't Ford bring the Falcon over here? The Aussies seem to have it all figured out. The best cars Ford and GM has come from over there! :)
     
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  24. Gus, the Argentine Ford Falcon is considered to be Ford's most successful model in modern history. From 1972 until 1989, the 1961 Falcon was produced with design upgrades by Ghia.
     
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  25. this is bullshit. thats why its so crappy in UAE

    the car in the picture is a chevrolet lumina SS and god knows how many people are complaining about this

    and the caprice, its just worse and over priced thats why they decided to start importing Malibu's and Impala's because they are not making profits

    for example, you should check out Chevrolet Caprice Royale which they sell here for about 170,000 dirhams which is also about 46,000 dollars and seriously that is too much and it breaks down every time u plan to turn the ignition on
     
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  26. The 4.0 liter inline 6 of the Falcon achieves the same economy as the 4cyl Camry using the ADR fuel cycle.

    Isn't that the engine they wanted to drop and replace with the 3.5 liter V6

    They were going to replace it with the 3.7 V6 but now the 4.0 will live on till at least 2015.

    Its got great economy and fantastic low end torque and its not even D.I!
     
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  27. The 4.0 liter inline 6 of the Falcon achieves the same economy as the 4cyl Camry using the ADR fuel cycle.

    Isn't that the engine they wanted to drop and replace with the 3.5 liter V6

    They were going to replace it with the 3.7 V6 but now the 4.0 will live on till at least 2015.

    Its got great economy and fantastic low end torque and its not even D.I!

    That is good news I always heard that was a great engine, glad it lives on
     
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  28. Pontiac G8 sales sucked when gas prices were high and they're now slightly more respectable at just over a couple of thousand cars a month.

    First, that's not the volume numbers a manufacturer like Chevy needs.

    Second, this car performs badly when gas prices are high and I don't believe we're going to see gas prices going down anytime in the next five years.

    So, if you think that Chevy is a small volume manufacturer and that gas prices aren't going back to $4 dollars a gallon in the next decade, then the G8 (excuse me, Caprice-of-#@%$) is the car for you.
     
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  29. In Argentina, the Commodore is produced as the Chevrolet Astra.
     
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  30. Pontiac G8 sales sucked when gas prices were high and they're now slightly more respectable at just over a couple of thousand cars a month.

    First, that's not the volume numbers a manufacturer like Chevy needs.

    Second, this car performs badly when gas prices are high and I don't believe we're going to see gas prices going down anytime in the next five years.

    So, if you think that Chevy is a small volume manufacturer and that gas prices aren't going back to $4 dollars a gallon in the next decade, then the G8 (excuse me, Caprice-of-#@%$) is the car for you.

    Roy, you don;t know what your talking about, go look at sales numbers before you make comments.
     
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  31. as much as i hate the Commodore and Falcon in the local market (caused minly by the fact that they ganged up on Nissan and threw it out of the local racing series which has become a yawn fest for black jeans white tshirt wearing yobbos) i would love to have a top of the range HSV GTS or the old Monaro GTO, or a Falcon FTP GT-HO with the Boss 370.
    These are good powereful fun cars. And its a no brainer why other regions arent taking them on....
     
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  32. Well that was even quicker turnaround then the constant waffling about the Z28 Camaro
     
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  33. Well that was even quicker turnaround then the constant waffling about the Z28 Camaro

    except the fact that the Camaro Z/28 will be produced. it was confirmed by GM officials at a Camaro event.
     
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  34. Well, as of today, I'm in esteemed company in my alleged lack of knowledge about the Pontiac G8.

    Bob Lutz just admitted it wouldn't sell.

    Here are the year-on-year sales figures for 2008 when the G8 should have had the advantage of a new-launch honeymoon:

    "Since the Pontiac G8 was launched in the U.S. market for the 2008 model year, the re-badged Holden Commodore has only found a home with 13,000 buyers. More than 11,000 more unsold G8s remain in Pontiac’s inventory, totaling a 283 day’s supply — the third worst of any GM nameplate," according to Automotive News (December, 2008).

    The best sales it ever recorded in the entire US were 2939 a month in March 2009, when gas prices were at a relative trough and the car was being heavily discounted.
     
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  35. Here are the year-on-year sales figures for 2008 when the G8 should have had the advantage of a new-launch honeymoon:

    "Since the Pontiac G8 was launched in the U.S. market for the 2008 model year, the re-badged Holden Commodore has only found a home with 13,000 buyers. More than 11,000 more unsold G8s remain in Pontiac
     
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  36. Considering that I've never seen a TV or print ad for the G8, and the G8 name means nothing to the 95% of Americans who don't read automobile enthusiast magazines or blogs - Those sales figures /\/\ are a darned good showing.
     
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  37. Considering that I've never seen a TV or print ad for the G8, and the G8 name means nothing to the 95% of Americans who don't read automobile enthusiast magazines or blogs - Those sales figures /\/\ are a darned good showing.

    They did have a tv ad. Roy that was a business decision based on importing the car here, it had nothing to do with sales of the car in the States because it sold well.
     
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  38. Man, now I'll mourn the great American performance sedan. I hear ominous tones in "There are real issues with CAFE and rear wheel drive". If it keeps going this way the Camaro and even the 'Vette as we know it will cease to exist. Expect the C7 to be a turbocharged, hybrid 4 pot with FWD. Have you heard about Honda's "S2000" replacement? And all because of CARB, CAFE and the like. This country is edging ever closer to totalitarian government. "What kind of car do you want?" "Too bad, you can't have that, but we, The Sovereign Your Lord and Master, will allow you to drive this Prius".
     
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  39. And then some people say that we need to give GM another chance. First they don't have enough talent to create a car like the G8. So they badge engineer it. Now they kill one of the most handsome cars in their lineup.

    But, fear not, the Camaro is here. Uf!

    And Henderson says the Corvette will continue to exist. Well, thanks very much Captain Obvious for that bit of info. Will the Silverado also continue to be built? Please tell us soon, the suspense is killing us.
     
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  40. i'm not old enough to remember the 70s well, but i'm turning 38 soon and that's long enough to remember the "death" of sports cars with fuel economy and emissions regulations of the 70s and 80s. remember when cars had no catalysts? engineers are smart--technology applied intelligently will cause significant increases in fuel economy, combined with reducing, not increasing vehicle weight and adding more, useless features. Do we really need power seats, power folding rear seats, and power hatches and side doors on minivans? Fuel economy has stayed the same for the past 15 years, with increasing weight and increasing power. Does your average joe's minivan really need 250+hp? My 1991 Miata gets 25-30mpg, but my uncle's 2009 miata gets slightly better mileage, despite having 25% more displacement, 40% more power, and weighing 10% more. The future is not as bleak as we may think. Rear-drive only made a comeback as a result of cheap fuel. Rear drive will disappear once again, but smart engineering and hybrid technology, in combination with government meddling via CAFE, will serve to tilt the priorities of car manufacturers (all of them), back towards lighter weight, and increased efficiency. And when you really think about it---the ideal sports car or sports sedan is all about light weight, and tossable handling. In a stupid, screwed-up kind of way, higher CAFE requirements and government meddling paradoxically means........
    better cars and minivans for true enthusiasts.
     
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  41. Wake up! americans want this car!!!! This government is strangeling the auto industry when will we kick these Non american progresives in the balls and take back our country? Gm will eventuly fail they are not giving the american people what they want!! Die GM Die!!!!
     
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