LAS VEGAS -- General Motors executives have told Pontiac dealers to expect a 25 percent increase in retail sales next year.
Higher retail sales would ease Pontiac's heavy reliance on fleet sales, which are expected to generate 36 percent of its total sales this year.
Dealers say Pontiac wants to sell 340,000 retail units in the United States next year, up from an estimated 272,000 retail units in 2005.
If retail and fleet sales continue at their current pace, Pontiac will sell 428,000 units this year.
The company expects the full G6 lineup, Torrent sport wagon and Solstice roadster to spur the boost.
GM executives told dealers at a conference here this month that the four-cylinder G6 and new Torrent will be high-volume vehicles.
GM launched the V-6 G6 sedan last year but has been waiting for a lower-priced version to increase volume.
Although several of the vehicles on which Pontiac is depending are on the market, it takes months for dealerships to be fully stocked and sales to reach normal volume.
With a full year of production at full volume, Pontiac expects big sales increases next year.
Pontiac has sold about 340,000 retail and fleet units for the first nine months of this year, down 9.7 percent from the year-ago period.
In 2004, the brand had 12-month sales of 474,179 in retail and fleet. GM will not reveal Pontiac's current retail-fleet mix or say what the 2006 goal is.
GM would not comment on the forecast given to dealers.
GM spokesman Rick Asher says Pontiac will work to increase retail sales and decrease sales to daily rentals.
GM's full line of G6s will be in showrooms by the middle of the first quarter. GM launched the 3.5-liter V-6 G6 sedan in September 2004. In July, GM launched the 2.4 liter 4-cylinder and the 3.9 liter V-6 sedans. GM launched the G6 coupe in July with two V-6 engines, a 3.5 liter and a 3.9 liter. The G6 convertible is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of next year. Only a V-6 ragtop will be available.
"The G6 is still gaining momentum in the market. The new Torrent will add to the mix," says Alan Czarnomski, senior vice president of GfK Automotive, a consulting company in Southfield, Mich. "As long as those products are well received, the 25 percent increase is on the radar at least."
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