ALPHA TO ZETA
Pontiac is going rear wheel drive.
Pontiac is currently introducing the new G8, built on the GM Zeta platform which will also be used by the upcoming Chevrolet Impala. But Pontiac’s real big news is the next generation rear wheel drive G6, expected in 2010. It will be built on the Alpha platform, a less expensive variant of Zeta which incorporates elements of the Kappa platform created for the Pontiac Solstice.
In fact, Alpha may be GM’s future. It’s expected to support a new generation Cadillac BLS, as well. Currently, the BLS is sold only in Europe – and only occasionally. Sales of the BLS have been disappointing, partly because Cadillac has no cachet in Europe, partly because it competes with GM’s own established European brands, Opel and Vauxhaul, but mostly because the BLS is not a very impressive car.
But Cadillac and Pontiac appear to be part of Bob Lutz’s strategy for the new GM. Building on the concept that BMW and Mercedes define the market, GM seems intent on producing two competitors to the 3 series and C class: one for Cadillac, to be a world-wide brand, and one for Pontiac, to be a domestic competitor. Both are to be built on the Alpha platform, along with versions for Vauxhall and Opel. (And if Opel gets one, Saturn can’t be far behind.) The Cadillac will be positioned as a direct competitor to the 3 series BMW and C class Mercedes, moving CTS into the E class and 5 series market.
But the car to watch is the Pontiac.
The thought is that a Pontiac G6, built on a rear wheel drive platform, with a rather advanced modified MacPherson strut front suspension and independent rear suspension, could out handle and undersell the German marques, and define Pontiac as a BMW killer in the process. At a much lower price.
If they pull it off, Pontiac will be America’s car, GM stock will go stratospheric, Ford will file for bankruptcy, and GM will have the last laugh as the Bimmers languish on the used car lots.