Muscle has trumped mileage at New General Motors. At least this one time.
In an interview with Automobile magazine, conducted shortly after the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said that the company may ressurect the Pontiac G8 full-size sedan as a Chevrolet.
The Austalian-built, rear-wheel-drive model line was scheduled to die with the Pontiac brand name, but popular demand from car enthusiasts, glowing reviews from the automotive press, and interest from law enforcement agencies hoping to utilize the vehicle as a patrol car seems to have convinced "New GM" that it is a viable product to keep in its portfolio.
It is fitting that the revelation was made by Lutz, who was also scheduled to retire at the end of 2009 before deciding to stay on as the de facto face of the company in a new marketing role. This was his first major product announcement made since the creation of "New GM".
For weeks prior to the announcement, executives from General Motors made frequent denials that the G8 would get a reprise after the pontiac brand was retired. CEO Fritz Henderson saying bluntly that he is "not a fan of rebadging."
As it is, the full size sedan is expected to be rebadged as a Chevy Caprice, a nameplate the car wears in several overseas markets. Along with a standard 256 horsepower V6, the G8 comes in two performance variants powered by V8 engines producing 361 hp and 415 hp, the latter with an EPA combined fuel economy rating of 15 mpg.
However, GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan told the Wall Street Journal that it is "premature" to speculate on the future of the G8, and that a final decision could be months away.