GM to accelerate 2009 Pontiac Vibe
Toyota is impatient, so General Motors is moving up the beginning of production for the new 2009 Pontiac Vibe.
The Vibe is the same car as the Toyota Matrix. Both are built on the same platform and share most of the chassis and drivetrain components. The Vibe produced by New United Motors, Inc. (NUMI) in California. NUMI is a joint venture half owned by GM and half by Toyota. The Matrix is assembled in Canada at a Toyota plant.
And Toyota wants its new Matrix a.s.a.p.
The problem is that the current Matrix, which has been in production for six model years, is not attracting the demographic group that Toyota envisioned. It thought it had aimed the car at youthful buyers. But what it hit was the family market. Toyota puts this down to the Matrix being square, literally. Says Toyota USA’s head of product planning, Mike O’Brien, “It’s a bit boxy. And it just does not have the appeal to younger people that we had hoped for.”
To satisfy Toyota’s desire to get the new Matrix in production as rapidly as possible, GM is having to similarly advance its production of the Vibe. The 2009 is expected to return to the Vibe line-up the all wheel drive and GT versions which GM dropped for the 2007 model year.