GM To Phase Out Pontiacs

Monday, April 27th 2009, 6:05 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- General Motors is pulling the plug on one of America's favorite car brands. Pontiac will be completely phased out by the end of the year as part of a major restructuring plan.

Some Tulsa drivers tell the News On 6 it's the end of the golden era for American cars.

Pontiacs have been around for more than 80 years. They're a huge part of American car culture. They were made famous in movies and by the Beach Boys.

General Motors says the company is spread too thin to keep Pontiac afloat, but many dealerships say it's the wrong decision.

A 1964 Pontiac GTO is considered the first muscle car. Driving along Route 66, the mother of all roads, it's the mother of muscle cars.

"It's a form of automotive excitement to us. It has always represented horsepower and the high performance end of the automotive world," said Larry Crider, a Pontiac collector.

Collector Larry Crider says GM's decision to kill off the Pontiac is a head scratcher.

"I personally feel they've made the wrong move. Maybe that's part of why GM is going down the tube," said Crider.

Last year, Pontiac was the third bestselling brand behind Chevrolet and GMC. Pontiacs outsold Cadillacs and Buicks by wide margins.

"Lifestyles have changed. You're seeing more people buying the traditional family vehicles, the crossovers and SUV's, and they're going away from the sports car," said Larry Lahmeyer, of Marc Miller Pontiac.

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Car salesman Larry Lahmeyer says the loss of Pontiac is a blow for business.

"Pontiac in this town has definitely been a trademark that everybody has loved," said Lahmeyer.

Lahmeyer is planning big incentive packages to move the cars off the lot, but he's sad to see them go.

"It's been a great car line, not a good car line, a great car line," said Lahmeyer.

For both Lahmeyer and Crider, it's the death of an American icon.

General Motors is also cutting more than 20,000 factory jobs in America and they're trimming the number of dealerships by 40%. There's no word yet on if that will affect any of the eight dealerships in metro Tulsa.