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“Too Good to Waste”

July 11, 2009
tags: ,

UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST.

GM’s bankruptcy has been dominating headlines of late. Their past (and present) missteps have been examined in excruciating detail, and schadenfruede is in the air.

But one thing that’s often gone unremarked is how good some of their cars have been getting lately. The Chevy Malibu and Cadillac CTS are both very competitive in their respective categories. The new Camaro is a critical darling and a sales success. And the next-generation Chevy Equinox and Cadillac SRX look like they have the stuff to go up against segment leaders, if only buyers can be persuaded to take a look at them.

But one of the best vehicles GM has brought out in the past few years is undoubtedly the Pontiac G8. It’s a performance bargain that, according to several reviews, out M5s the mighty BMW M5 at a fraction of the price. And it’s a handsome car, too, eschewing the affinity Pontiacs past displayed for garish body cladding and a proliferation of hood vents.

Pontiac G8 GXP

Pontiac G8 GXP

It was also slated for extinction along with the rest of the Pontiac brand.

A few weeks ago, GM CEO Fritz Henderson squashed speculation that the G8 would be brought under the Chevrolet umbrella, because, as he said, “I’m not a fan of rebadging”.

First of all…what? GM is the king of rebadging. They’ve gotten a lot better about it in recent years, and actually gone to lengths to differentiate products across their brands, but they still rebadge like crazy. Just look at the Chevy Traverse/GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook/Buick Enclave. It’s basically the same vehicle dressed in different clothes.

Second…is it rebadging if the brand in question is being killed off?

Fortunately for anybody who actually likes to drive, GM realized the absurdity of killing off the G8 and today announced that it will in fact stick around as the all-new Chevy Caprice. In the words of Bob Lutz, “it’s kinda too great to waste”.

UPDATE: It would appear I spoke to soon. GM is killing the G8/Caprice/whatever after all. Too bad.

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