Pontiac Headed to the Brand Junkyard

April 27th, 2009

In a sign of just how far the automaker has fallen, GM recently announced plans to completely eliminate the Pontiac brand. Once a symbol of the American muscle car, this tired brand is now more indicative of GM’s inability to innovate or capture even the slightest interest of the 21st century car buyer.

Most people would argue that the issues began with lackluster product designs. That isn’t entirely the case though. In fact, Pontiac has been lauded for some of its recent designs including the sporty solstice convertible. The real issue comes down to brand – or lack thereof. The truth is a more defined brand would have gone a long way toward informing the designs more effectively.

Pontiac hasn’t been able to successfully communicate what the brand stands for in the post-muscle car era. And if they don’t know what it means to drive a Pontiac, consumers surely won’t know and won’t buy. Though, that much is clear given sales numbers in recent years.

A brand is a personality; it’s a perception; it’s a promise of what you’re going to deliver. Unfortunately for Pontiac, its personality is bland, its perception is blurred and its promises were broken a long time ago.

So where does that leave it? — on its way to the junkyard that’s where. It’s a sad day when what was once a marquis brand drives off as not much more than a marketing memory. It’s even sadder because GM didn’t have to reinvent the wheel on Pontiac they simply had to shine it up a little. In the end, they couldn’t.

So much for American ingenuity. So much for the muscle car and marketing muscle. So much for Pontiac.

Posted Under: Branding
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