Not many cars can claim to have given birth to two American small- and big-screen legends, but the Trans Am can. Notorious for its use by The Bandit in the Smokey & The Bandit series of movies, the Trans Am was also the original basis for Knight Rider's KITT. Plans to revive the legendary nameplate alongside the new Camaro have been shot down, however. The cost of bringing the Trans Am to market under the new fuel economy scheme just wouldn't make sense, according to GM leaders.
News of the Trans Am's demise comes from a conference GM held with its Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealers. Despite the Holden-sourced G8's arrival at the brand, the high-performance, rear-driven revival of Pontiac is on hold thanks to the new CAFE standards. While it's not exactly surprising considering the state of the economy and of the industry, it's still disappointing to learn of Pontiac's redirection. Although given the already haphazard alignment of Pontiac's product line, taking away the clear goal of becoming GM's performance division returns the brand to its rather useless position within the GM hierarchy.
One dealer at the meeting told Automotive News that the Trans Am didn't make it to market because "It would cost $200 million to bring out the vehicle." That sounds like a rather steep pricetag for what would essentialy be a rebodied Camaro, so one has to wonder if that figure isn't loaded with other considerations. Perhaps bringing the Trans Am to the Pontiac line-up would have necessitated a new factory or updates to existing factories. Offsets in product lineup necessary to meet the CAFE standards coming in 2012 could also have increased the cost of bringing the Trans Am to fruition.
Whatever the reason, we hate to see another potentially great car bite the dust before it sees the light of day.