The New GM shoots down Pontiac G8 and Bob Lutz

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(August 2009) Bob Lutz, who just postponed his retirement from General Motors to become the marketing chief, announced a week ago that the Pontiac G8 could live on as a Chevrolet Caprice. We applauded that decision because we believe the G8, especially in V-8 trim, is the best Pontiac in decades.

We said earlier this year it deserved to find a new home as the Pontiac line was phased out.

Lutz, the man behind some of GM's best products in years including the Chevrolet Malibu, said the rear-drive G8 performance sedan would be great for law enforcement as well as the general public.

“The G8 has finally been discovered by a broader percentage of the buying public,” Lutz said on GM's FastLane blog last week. “The owners are ecstatic about them, many calling it the best sedan they've ever driven. We consider it too good to waste. So we're studying the feasibility of bringing it in as a Caprice for both law enforcement and the public.”

It took only four days for the General Motors bean counters to gain the upper hand forcing Lutz on July 16 to backtrack. Lutz was shot down. The G8 was shot down.

"With my new 'marketing' hat on, upon further review and careful study, we simply cannot make a business case for such a program," Lutz said. "Not in today's market, in this economy, and with fuel regulations what they are and will be."

If you thought perhaps some new passion was going to be injected into New GM, forget it.

"With budgets being what they are for the time being, the resources must be allocated elsewhere," Lutz said.

He then hedged a bit, saying the move is not a sign that GM will back away from rear-drive performance vehicles. "We have a tremendous RWD team in Australia that gave us the beloved G8, a team that we will tap into at some point again in the future for its expertise and sheet metal."

That seems to be wishful thinking at this piont.

Lutz is a key individual to help move the New GM forward. But at 77, you can bet he won't wear a muzzle.

Within six months we predict his tenure as marketing chief will end in his permanent retirement.

And a great Pontiac that we admit would only sell in limited numbers will die an early death.

Guess we will have to shop BMW for our next performance sedan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       — Jim Meachen