ORLANDO, Fla. -- Buick-Pontiac-GMC executives continue to push General Motors' channeling strategy by introducing targeted product for the individual brands.
Executives made several product announcements to dealers at the three-brand make meeting. Executives also set sales expectations for the brands.
Pontiac will get a new entry-level coupe, called the G5, for the 2007 model year. It will be priced just under $15,000, said John Larson, general manager of Buick-Pontiac-GMC, in an interview with Automotive News after the meeting. GM will start producing the G5 coupe this summer, he said.
"We think the coupe had a significant amount of differentiation for our small-car products," Larson said. "We think it complements the Vibe sedan."
GM expects to sell 20,000 G5s in its first year, dealers said. It will be a sibling vehicle to the Chevrolet Cobalt and will be built at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant.
"Dealers are very optimistic about all these new products," said Mike Bowsher, co-chairman of the Pontiac-GMC dealer council and owner of Carl Black Buick-Pontiac-GMC in Kennesaw, Ga.
He said the new G5 will add cachet to the G6 product line.
"There's going to be plenty of difference between the G5 and G6," said Bowsher. "There might be more people wanting to step up to a G6."
Many dealers agreed that the entry-level coupe is a good product to have for the Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel.
"It looks like a Cobalt," said Scott Brasher, general manager of Brasher Motor Co. in Weimar, Texas. "It's at a good price point, and it's sporty-looking."
There will be a base and a performance version of the G5, Larson said.
Pontiac also will offer a four-cylinder version of the G6 that's just "a couple thousand more" than the G5, Larson said.
Larson told dealers that Pontiac retail sales should increase by 20 percent this year compared with 2005. Pontiac executives also told dealers that GM likely will build 20,000 Solstice roadsters this year.
Larson confirmed that Pontiac will lose the Montana SV6 minivan at year end because it doesn't fit with Pontiac's branding.
Buick will get a "super" version of the LaCrosse. That's an "up-level edition," Larson said. It will include new front-end treatments, such as a waterfall grille, and a V-8 engine. Larson said pricing has not been set.
Buick starts production on the Enclave crossover this fall and likely will start production on the super LaCrosse at that time, he said.
Larson also said Buick expects to sell 8,000 Lucerne sedans a month this year.
You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at [email protected]