But some Pontiac dealers aren't pleased.
They say they don't have enough of the sedans to sell. Some dealerships have yet to receive one G6.
"The event should have been timed with each dealer having product on the ground to sell," says Craig Tilleman of Tilleman Motor Co. in Havre, Mont. "The interest will fade before the product is there to sell."
Pontiac seized the opportunity to make a splash for the G6, the successor to the Grand Am, on Oprah's highly rated season opener.
"It had to be the season premiere; the ratings are phenomenal," says Gary Steilen, Pontiac marketing manager for the G6.
Pontiac has 2,000 G6s on dealership lots and hopes to have 15,000 by the end of 2004, Steilen says.
As of July, there were 2,798 Pontiac dealers in the United States, a GM spokeswoman says.
"In a perfect world, we would have liked to do it a little later," Steilen says. "If Oprah had said, 'Pick a date,' maybe we could have waited."
In an e-mail to Automotive News, one dealer, who asked not to be named, said: "GM never has the new product on dealers' lots when they hype its arrival. I have sold GM vehicles for 15 years and am continually amazed by this poor strategy."
Steilen says the most important thing was to get the G6 name out quickly to an important audience.
Pontiac gave away 276 G6s on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" before the cars were at all dealerships.
David Oakley Sr., owner of Oakley Pontiac-Buick-Jeep in Bartlesville, Okla., thinks "the timing was unfortunate, but the publicity was fantastic."
"It was a little sad because we had so many people see the car, but we didn't have one yet. It whetted a lot of appetites."
Pontiac claims it has cars at dealerships in 42 states.
The company also says it has been erring on the side of caution during the launch in order to ensure quality. This has slowed the rollout.
You may e-mail K.C. Crain at [email protected]