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Pontiac is done by end of 2010; Saturn shutdown accelerated

Mon, 27 Apr 2009

Pontiac--the brand famous for the GTO, the Firebird, the Star Chief and, most recently, the Solstice--is dead. It will be phased out by the end of 2010 as part of sweeping cuts announced Monday by General Motors as it tries to remake itself into a smaller company with fewer plants, workers and dealers.

GM said it will concentrate on four U.S. brands--Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC--and that it expects to resolve the fates of Hummer, Saab and Saturn by the end of 2009. It also announced that it will offer stock to its debt holders in an effort to reduce its large debt load. GM warned that it expects to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy if it does not get enough tenders for the exchange by June 1, but the automaker maintained that it prefers not to have to go into bankruptcy.

The timetable for Saturn's demise has been accelerated, and it will be resolved this year, GM said. This is two years sooner than expected. The brand could live on if it is sold to another company or group of investors. Also, GM will not build Hummers after the 2009 model year.

By Greg Migliore