End Nears for Pontiac with Final U.S. Made Vehicle
Just a year ago at the 2008 Los Angeles International Auto Show, the Pontiac G6 made headlines for modest mid-cycle refreshment, but to show how volatile the current automotive climate is, that design turned out to be a swan song for the popular G6 lineup. Following General Motors' announcement that it was phasing out the Pontiac division, the final U.S. made Pontiac vehicle is just another step in the official death of the 83-year-old brand.
While the last Oldsmobile ever produced, a 2004 Alero sedan, received a grand send off as it was signed by hundreds of assembly workers and now rests in a museum, but the same fate will not meet the last Pontiac G6. As a testament to the brand's dependence on rental car fleets in recent years, the final G6 was simply a white sedan that was headed for an unheralded future in fleet duty. Many claim that Pontiac's over saturation in fleets help lead to its eventual demise, while others say that it was the abandonment of historical and popular nameplates such as the Bonneville, Grand Am, Grand Prix and Firebird.
Built at the Orion Assembly Plant in Lake Orion, Mich. assembly line, the final G6 not only marked the end for the Pontiac brand, but it also left questions for the future of this plant. The only other product made alongside the G6 is the Chevrolet Malibu, which is also built in Kansas City, Kan., so GM had thought about closing the plant. Eventually, GM decided to keep the plant open in order to build a future small car such as the Chevrolet Spark.
The G6 may have been the last Pontiac produced for sale in the U.S., but the final Pontiac of all time will be a South Korean-built G3 Wave hatchback. Built for sale in Canada and Mexico, the Pontiac G3 Wave is essentially a rebadged Chevrolet Aveo5 and it is manufactured by GM Daewoo.
Select photos via General Motors