Pontiac G6 Review

Page 1 of 2  
At the moment the news broke, I had written two words of a review of the Pontiac G6: "Dump Lutz."
On Monday morning, the news came that General Motors North America Chairman
Robert Lutz and Group Vice President Gary Cowger were "relinquishing" their duties with GM North America to assume unspecified roles in GM's global product development and manufacturing efforts — compared with the high-profile role Lutz has occupied, this is like "extraordinary rendition" to Pakistan.
Although GM's chairman and chief executive is Rick Wagoner, Bob Lutz — also known as "Maximum Bob" — has been the point man for GM policy and future product design, the Great White-Haired Father, the Man with the Golden Gut, the auto industry's most quotable and charismatic executive in a town where charisma is scarcer than banana trees.
In his 3 1/2 -year tenure, GM has lost something like 3 percentage points of market share. I was about to make the case that, given GM's current China syndrome — North American market share dropping to its lowest point in decades, and market analysts, sensing no real momentum for reform within the company, downgrading the company's bond ratings to near-junk status — someone's head ought to roll, and the most likely candidate would be the numinous white noggin of Lutz.
Cashiering Lutz, I would have argued, would be a positive sign for the street's analysts that the company is serious about accountability. Indeed, it had to be Lutz, for symbolic reasons that go beyond the car business. Of course, the responsibility is not solely his, but the culture of executive exoneration has to end somewhere, and it's not going to be in Washington, D.C.
However, given recent events, I have to revise my story. To wit: Dump Wagoner.
It was Lutz, after all, who candidly averred at a Morgan Stanley meeting last month that GM might have to phase out some of its product lines, even using the word "damaged" to describe Pontiac and Buick. In the ensuing furor, Lutz claimed his remarks were taken out of context and over-hyped by the sensationalist media, like that scandal rag Automotive News.
Wagoner memo to Lutz: Stop making sense.
GM is a morass of a business case, but one thing seems clear enough, and Lutz's mistake was to state the obvious and then recant: The company's multiplicity of divisions and models is turning into a circular firing squad. How can four nearly identical minivans — one each for Pontiac, Buick, Chevrolet and Saturn — be anything but a waste of resources? Ditto the Four Horsemen of Suburbia, the Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7X. How does the Pontiac Montana minivan square with Pontiac as the "Excitement" division? Why, exactly, is GMC on this Earth?
For a company so utterly devoted to each of its 11 brands — counting offshore badges such as Opel, Holden, Vauxhall — the overarching strategy seems to be to flatten the distinctiveness out of all of them in the name of global efficiencies. Take Saab, poor Saab. The new 9-3s will be built in Russelsheim, Germany, alongside Opel Vectras. The 9-2X is a badge-engineered Subaru WRX. The 9-7X is a Chevy Trailblazer built in the Nordic enclave of Moraine, Ohio.
Other recent Wagoner miscues:
GM utterly missed the boat on hybrid gas-electric technology and lobbied Congress not to raise fuel-economy standards on the grounds that meeting higher standards would divert funds from critical research in the ultimate propulsion technology, hydrogen fuel cells — an argument that, shall we say, lacks authenticity. Today, GM has no hybrids of consequence on the street, while rivals Toyota and Honda are selling as many as they can build.
As part of a product reorganization, GM announced last month that it would speed up development of new SUVs and trucks in the pipeline and slow-walk development of rear-wheel-drive Zeta car projects. So, let's see: At a time when SUV sales are cliff-diving, GM proposes to speed up big SUV development and 86 the mid-size, rear-drive future products?
This reallocation of deck chairs seems pointless when the real problem is the massive overhead of a company that cannot find the will to downsize. Capitalism, remember, is creative destruction.
However, the best case for a putsch in GM's Renaissance Center offices is this: The cars aren't selling.
Honestly, it takes some sort of perverse genius to make the Grand Am, the car the Pontiac G6 replaces, look like a showroom winner, but the G6 is selling at about half the volume of the unloved and unlovely Grand Am, which dates to the 1980s. Even a multimillion-dollar giveaway of G6s on "Oprah" in September wasn't enough to fire up sales of this car.
Six months into its life, the G6 has thousands of dollars on its nose and analysts are calling it a flop. Last month, Pontiac offered more incentive money as a percentage of MSRP than any other brand, a full 16%, according to Edmunds.com.
The G6 is not an awful car. It's entirely adequate. But plainly, adequate is not nearly enough.
Exterior styling: The G6 sedan, based on the same stretched-wheelbase platform as the Malibu Maxx, has its wheels in the right place, nicely quadratic and corner-wise. There are a few odd proportions that add up to a kind of visual consternation: The car's front tapers around the headlamps like a school eraser; the rear deck is more a rear bustle, with an arm's length of sheet metal over the rear wheel wells; and wheels and tires themselves seem small when, at 17 inches in the GT package, they aren't really.
Meanwhile, the detailing of the bodywork makes the skin of the car look eggshell-thin. I wonder how many buyers look at this car and wonder what is behind the billboard?
Interior styling: The GT comes with comfortable leather-lined bucket seats, nicely bolstered with heaters. I like the soft grip on the hand brake. That exhausts my praise for the interior.
The center console is a plastic fantastic with the now-familiar stacked boxes of the audio head and climate controls, and we know what comes with familiarity. This is pretty much a style-free zone in a larger moor of monochromatic plastic and vinyl.
The G6 does have a couple of fun features, both optional: an oversized moon roof that folds back in sections so that, lined up on the roof, the car looks solar-powered; and a remote starting function.
Some options are less fun: Side-impact and curtain air bags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes and traction control are all cost-extra options on the base model.
Performance: The GT model I drove had a 3.5-liter iron-block V6 under the hood, good for 200 horsepower and no surprises at all. And — though I can't believe I'm writing this sentence in 2005 — this pushrod six is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. It is because of this powertrain that the phrase "thrashy and unrefined" has become the hackneyed clichι that it has.
The electric steering is numb and oddly weighted. Though I thought the ride was very nice, the handling is pushier than a mortgage-refinance telemarketer. The car has zero appetite for hard driving. You want excitement from the "Excitement" division? Try to get this thing to turn in a sharp corner.
Bah.
This is an uncompetitive product, an assertion borne out not by my say-so but by sales numbers. When ballclubs have losing records, players and coaches and managers get their walking papers.
At GM, it's time to sweep the dugout.
-=- This message was sent via two or more anonymous remailing services.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The cars are technically competitive (for the most part). A big part of the problem is the damn daytime running lights (DRLs). I know literally dozens of people (friends/family/co-workers) that used to buy GM cars (some exclusively) that absolutely refuse to buy any more GMs. Some have already bought other brands for that one single reason. It matters not if they work (or not)...it's irrelevant! The NHTSA has recorded a 10-to-1 ratio in opposition to DRLs in public comment forums. It's damn hard to sell cars with a feature that 90% of the population doesn't want...hey!? Advice to GM...swallow your pride...wake up and smell the roses! For petes sake and get rid of the damn things people don't want (indeed despise)...THAT is a big part of what's killing you!
The second problem is all the automatic butt-wiper stuff. Some of us just like to be in control of the functions of the car instead of "the car" in control of us! That group simply does not want all the gimmicks. Make a way so that all that stuff can be disabled instead of alleviating that segment of the customer base.
Right there are two segments of the customer base that GM may be able to win back...although it's probably already too late for many of them...they've moved on by now! :-(
Lutz is the scape-goat. The culture runs MUCH deeper than Lutz.

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That is odd about daytime running lights and automatic wiper interval delay (rain sensor) being not wanted?? DRLs: In my view it is a safety feature especially on country road, early morning or late in evening. DRLs increases visibility for other drivers (like motorcycle). Why would a safety feature bother you? Wiper feature: It is a convenience option where the rain sensor automatically compensates wiper interval by reading water droplets on your windshield. The driver does not have to adjust wiper delay interval. Once again, both hands on steering wheel to keep you and your family safe. Why would you not wanted?

points
China
and
Lutz.
had
course,
exoneration
to
Germany,
authenticity.
would
slow-walk
is
is
the
dates
and
as
adequate
at
model.
the
say-so
coaches
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm with you on this none. Some people are just against change, even when it's for the better. I wonder if some still prefer manual windows and no air conditioning?
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There are probably some in that category. However, I would imagine that the numbers are few since most people see value in these features and rarely to they cause annoyance (unless they stop functioning)
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
none wrote:

Half-power highbeams are the problem. They aren't lowbeams, as they are in Canada and Europe. They tend to annoy and blind other drivers.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Especially those over 50 that tend to be more sensitive to light...which will apply to some of us eventually.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

delay
early
How is one blinded in the daytime? They must already be partly blind and have no bidness on the road.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you've ever shined a flashlight in your grandmothers eyes in the daytime and watched her wince in pain, you'd understand. A direct beam in the eyes can be quite intense.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Now you're stretching it James. But to go from the ridiculous to the sublime, I would suggest to you that if your grandmother was driving down the street in the daytime and I was coming from the opposite direction and shone a flashlight into her eyes, she wouldn't even see it! Hell, she might not even see my car!
Having children is hereditary - if your parents didn't have any, neither will you. Sting Ray
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

So you have never been on a long trip and got blinded by headlights in daylight. I remember years ago driving on holidays when people were told to turn on their head lights by radio stations but nothing was said about making sure you put them on dim. I think having head lights on motorcycles turned on is self survival, but I don't believe they help one iota on a clear bright day with cars.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

They don't help...and 10-years of insurance loss data seems to prove it.
The worst are the high beam DRL on trucks that pull up from behind and sit at a stoplight. The lights are above the trunk height and shine directly (and intensely) into the drivers eyes from the rear-view or side mirrors. It isn't too bad back when also driving high profile vehicles myself (which also has dark tinted rear windows). However, if in a sedan, it seems the rear-view mirrors are right in the path of the most intense part of the beam (on high-beam DRL implementations).
But, again, this thread is about sales and what can impact it. This is a very good point though. If people driving ANY make notice what make cars annoy them most with their high-beam lights on all day long, and they desire not to be annoying themselves, they will come to the conclusion to avoid the GM brand in any future consideration for their next vehicle.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Apparently you've never done it to you grandmother. I only did it once!! :-) And, a 3-watt flashlight beam is not nearly as intense as the beam that emanates from a a 55-watt high beam lamp.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

LMAO! I'll bet that your grandmother is still cussing you James! Even if from above!
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No doubt! ;-) But, hopefully I made up for it in later years. I had her come live with me and the wife and great-grandkids so the wife and I could to take care of her, take her to treatments, etc. when she was dying from Leukemia. Golly, that was 16 years ago now!!! (Yikes!)
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Even if true, is matters not. If people don't want them, they shouldn't be forced upon them by any entity other than the government requirement. The interesting thing here is that after 12 years, the NHTSA still hasn't apparently found convincing enough evidence to make them mandatory. And insurance loss/accident data on file shows no benefit at all. So, DRLs may turn out to be nothing more than a fuel wasting "experiment" in the end. Time will tell, I guess. Although if 12 years hasen't proved it, I doubt it can be.

GM and a few interest groups are the only ones calling them safety features. The Motorist Association and several motorcycle organizations say otherwise (in fact safety-negative, in their view and studies..all on file at the NHTSA). However, the merits of the DRL feature aside, the discussion thread here is about sales. If DRLs "bother" just 10% of the buying public (and it's likely much higher than that), then they have to go if GM wants to sell *any* cars to them. Or, at the very least, be made optional so that one can have a shot at selling cars to that segment. It's just dumb business to alleniate that large of a segment of the potential customer base, frankly.

My, how we ever managed for decades without that! Please!

Not a problem. For those that want that conveniance...let them have it. For those that don't, don't force it on them. It's business practices 101 we're talking here!

Personal decision...irrelivant for a car company to make that decision for it's customers. I'd be interested in the source for the statistic that it actually improves safety.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

your
I'm sure that little feature added about $200 to the price of the car.
What I think is retarded GM putting XM and OnStar in EVERY vehicle, if you want it or not, its not an option. Now you might remember them being a $1000 option back in the day, where do you think that cost went? straight to the sticker price.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
PDX,
XM Radio is standard in what GM vehicles?
I don't want XM. I can live witha CD, but give me a CASSETTE PLAYER TOO !!!!
Harryface ΨΏΨ 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE 301,311 miles
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Cadillacs, starting in '06.

TOO !!!!
How could I have guessed that, given your signature:
Harryface ΨΏΨ 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE 301,311 miles
In fact, I'm surprised you're not demanding an 8-track player.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I say take seatbelts out, thats what I hate being forced to use. I use them but dont like to be forced.
Cadillacs, starting in '06.

TOO !!!!
How could I have guessed that, given your signature:
Harryface ΨΏΨ 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE 301,311 miles
In fact, I'm surprised you're not demanding an 8-track player.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.