July 7th , 2005
Good news for GM, the GM employee discount program has increased sales by 41% over June of last year! They have increased market share by 8 points in the month of June to the highest level since the mid 80s! The promo has to be helping their high inventory levels. They also stated that trucks/SUVs were still making up a big part of their sales, which is where they make more money. They have just decided to extend the employee discount program through August 1 st . Ford just announced their new family discount program will run through the end of July as well. Chrysler will do one as too. Ford is not offering their new discount deal on the new Mustang. It's selling too well. Too bad the new GTO and new Corvettes are not part of the GM employee discount program!
Did anybody catch the Pontiac show Friday night July 1 st on Speed Channel? It was a pretty well done 30-minute Pontiac infomercial for the new GTO and the GXP Grand Prix. They did some laps on the Bondurant-Firebird course here in Phoenix . Doing drifting with two new 2005 GTO's then did some tests with the GTO and GXP up against a new BMW, Infinity and a new Mustang. With drag strip ETs and slalom runs etc. Needless to say the GTO did quite well. Thank you! They used the Sports Car Club of America to verify the results. After seeing it it sure made you want to buy a new GTO! I taped it and can offer a copy if any one needs one. I'm sure it will run again on the Speed Channel. Just look for a 30 minute show called Pontiac on your TV Guide. It's a fun ride. Especially if you like GTO's.
Solstice, Solstice wherefore art thou????????? Apparently Pontiac had BIG BIG plans to promote the new Solstice on the first day of summer, the Summer Solstice! Unfortunately, the gods of auto production did not agree with the laws of Mother Nature. So the calendar wins this one. The only question now is will they try to promote the car on December 21 st for the first day of winter, the winter Solstice? I'm not sure a convertible fits the role to well though.
Some people have seen the prototypes out there and are already complaining that the ebony (that's black to us normal people) cloth top is too flimsy and will not last. Let's hope they get it fixed before it comes out this winter. There's nothing worse than a poorly insulated top when the wind-chill factor is minus 30. I wish they were making a coupe. Also, don't get too excited about the under $20,000 price. It does not include air conditioning. If you want an automatic transmission it will be extra. I know it's a sports car and any purist would not want AT. Then I've read also that initially automatic transmissions will not be available, we'll see. It's beginning to look a lot like spring 2006 by the time we really see them in force. It kind of reminds you of the 2004 GTO that was supposed to be out in November 2004 and really did not show until three months later.
It seems that Pontiac did such a good job of promoting the Solstice on the Apprentice show that they took more than a 1000 orders for the first 1000 cars delivered! No one was taking numbers to keep track of how many of the first 1000 cars they had sold! OOPS! So there a several people demanding that they get their confirmation they are getting one of the first 1000 cars. But Pontiac is going to tell them “sorry”. You missed out. Another black eye (or is it ebony-eye) for our GM team! The Solstice is a great chance for GM and Pontiac to attract foreign car buyers back to a domestic product. GM just keeps stubbing its toe or hitting itself in the eye! Why not do something special for those people that are getting the second 1000 cars? Make them happy with something they would be excited about. That's what Jim Wangers would have done back in the 60s. Turn it into a positive instead of upsetting these people. To quote the AFLAC duck, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
Next time for this column I'm going to run the recap from Car & Driver magazine's 50 th Anniversary edition when they ran the article about the 64 Pontiac GTO running against the Ferrari GTO. It's a true testament to the marketing genius of one Jim Wangers. Too bad GM is so stuck on themselves that they can't use some of his ideas today.
Until next time…git it on wind it up blow it out GTO!
The "Real" Bill McCoy