DETROIT -- What a surprise I got when I reached into my mailbox this week and pulled out a nice thick envelope from the Pontiac division of General Motors touting GM's new 2014 cars.
In late 2009, I was one of Pontiac's last customers. I bought a new Vibe from a local dealer here in metro Detroit. The buying experience was off-the-charts great -- I was in and out of the store in 90 minutes with my new car, no fuss, no stress. And the car was terrific. I haven't bought a new car since then.
It is highly unlikely, however, that GM will get another dime of my money with its current lineup. Despite a growing array of world-class vehicles, GM has nothing that appeals to me that I can afford and that has the right image.
To me, Pontiac conveyed affordable performance, and most of its vehicles were sporty looking. It was the one GM brand that not only had the right image for me but also had a few cars that were not badge-engineered copies of Buicks and Chevrolets. The Solstice Coupe and G8, for instance.
GM has never replaced what Pontiac stood for with its surviving brands. And no, the 2014 new-car catalog sent to me by "Your Pontiac Team" isn't announcing the return of the division.
The catalog showcases Malibus and Sonics, Sparks and Camaros ($75,000 for a Z28? Really, Chevrolet? Really?), Buick Regals and Veranos and Encores and all the rest.
GM is offering me 50 bucks to test drive a new vehicle, and up to $2,000 off if I buy one. I am sure all the new GM cars and trucks are just fine, but it is just not going to happen.