DETROIT -- General Motors has told Pontiac dealers that it will discontinue the GTO coupe at the end of this model year. GM will make the last deliveries of the vehicle to dealers by the end of September, sources close to Pontiac say.
GM will produce 10,000 to 12,000 more GTOs before dropping the nameplate, one source close to the situation says. Last year, Pontiac sold 11,590 GTOs compared to 2004 when it sold 13,569. That's a 14.6 percent drop.
When Pontiac launched the GTO in 2003, it projected 18,000 annual sales. The vehicle was criticized for bland styling, and some fans of the original GTO complained that it lacked nostalgic styling cues.
A Pontiac spokesman confirms the GTO will be discontinued after the 2006 model year.
There are some changes in the federal regulatory standards. One is an airbag deployment standard that would require some very expensive re-engineering of the car, says Jim Hopson, Pontiac spokesman. Since the architecture of this car is being phased out around the world its not economically feasible to continue this car.
Pontiac will continue to build the GTO through the end of May, Hopson says. The last boatload will hit the ground in June, he adds.
The GTO first came to dealerships in December 2003 as a 2004 model, Hopson says.
The GTO is built on a rear-wheel drive architecture from GM's Holden division in Australia. The present model is going out of production as GM constructs the new Zeta RWD architecture, says the source.
There is no replacement coupe planned at this time and because of the strong Australian and weak U.S. dollar, the GTO had to be priced thousands over where GM originally wanted it -- in the mid-twenties, the source says. "It never did as much volume as we had hoped," the source says.
Pontiac is considering a replacement in the lineup for a RWD performance vehicle, but does not have anything to announce yet, Hopson says.
The GTO suggested retail price starts at $31,990, including shipping. One GM source says, "the 2005 and 2006 were pretty well sold out, and sales were especially strong in areas of GM weakness, like Southern California. It's a shame it has to go -- for now."
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