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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
GM will stick with Sunfire
But Canada will get small-car replacement
By Dave Guilford
Automotive News / June 30, 2003

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Sticking with Sunfire

Pontiac will use the Sunfire and the Vibe to attract small-car buyers in the next few years. Here's how they stack up.
BASE STICKER SALES THROUGH MAY
Sunfire $15,495 15,154
Vibe $17,045 28,521





DETROIT -- Pontiac has no plans to replace the Sunfire small car in the United States, even though Chevrolet is replacing its sister vehicle, the Cavalier, next year.
General Motors' Lordstown, Ohio, plant will assemble the Sunfire for several years alongside Chevrolet's new car, the Cobalt, according to Lori Queen, GM vehicle line executive for small cars.
That means Pontiac will woo small-car buyers with the aging Sunfire, introduced in 1994, and the Vibe hatchback.
Although U.S. dealers will keep the Sunfire, GM will replace the vehicle in Canada with a new nameplate, the Pursuit, next year. Both the Pursuit and the Cobalt will be built on GM's new Delta small-car architecture. Like the Cobalt and Sunfire, it will be assembled in Lordstown.
Meanwhile, Pontiac is not ruling out replacing the Sunfire with another small car.
"Pontiac has to decide from a portfolio standpoint where they want to go, what's the right number, what's the right vehicle, for their entry-level strategy," Queen says.
U.S. sales of the Pontiac Vibe are a key factor, she adds. Pontiac is pleased with Vibe sales - 28,521 this year through May, compared with 15,154 Sunfires.
"If the Vibe takes off and it's really hot, you have to question how many small cars they can sustain," Queen says.
Lynn Myers, Pontiac-GMC marketing general manager, says the division has different entry-level strategies in the United States and Canada because of differences in the two markets.
"The Vibe plays a much bigger role for us in the States," Myers says. "We'll sell over 60,000 Vibes in the U.S. this year."
Myers says Pontiac is weighing options for a low-priced entry but is unlikely to follow Chevrolet by using a Korean-made car priced below the Cobalt.
Aveo to fight Hyundai, Kia
Chevrolet's small-car strategy is to use the Aveo, built by GM-Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. in Korea, to battle Hyundai and Kia models, while moving the Cobalt to the upper small-car range. The Aveo, due in showrooms early next year, is expected to have a base price near $10,000, while the Cobalt would sell in the mid- to upper teens.
But Myers says Pontiac's entry-level car wouldn't be priced as low as the Aveo."That really is a Chevrolet play," Myers says. "That's not in our sight line."
Pontiac will continue to sell the Sunfire for several years, she says. The Sunfire was freshened for 2004, getting a sportier suspension, restyled front and rear ends, and an upgrade to a 140-hp, 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine as standard equipment.
Building the Cobalt, Pursuit and Sunfire in the same plant poses challenges, Queen says. Although all can use the same paint shop, they require separate body shop and final assembly lines.
But Lordstown needs the volume of all three vehicles to run economically, she adds.
1994 debut
Jim Hall, vice president for industry analysis at AutoPacific in Southfield, Mich., says Pontiac can continue with the existing Sunfire for a few years. But the age of the car, which was introduced in 1994, will become increasingly apparent, he says.
Hall says the Vibe probably isn't suited to be Pontiac's entry-level vehicle. Its base price of $17,045 is high, he says, and GM buys it from its NUMMI partnership with Toyota.
"The Vibe is lower-profit than a car GM builds itself," Hall says.
John Wiesner, co-chairman of the Pontiac-GMC national dealer council, says he expects Pontiac to develop a new small car, but the Vibe and Sunfire can cover that segment in the interim.
 

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Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (Whirling_Dervish)

I thought the Sunfire was introduced in 1982 as the J2000? 1994 seems a bit recent.
 
G

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Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (TabulaRasa)

Well, the Sunfire's basic architecture dates back to 1982. IIRC, the switch from Sunbird to Sunfire in 1994 was only a mild revamp of the platform, hardly an all-new car.
 

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Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (bgluckman)

Yes, j-body's have been around for a long time. But don't kid yourself, the sunfire and sunbird are reasonably different cars. I've had the displeasure of driving both, and I can assure you that while related the styling of the sunfire is completley horrid. GM did a great job making it much much uglier, though its a fine car for the money. And for customers who don't know any better.
As far as I am concerned the late 80's (88/89) Sunbirds with the flip up headlights were hella cool. Good looking GM's have been scarce since.
 

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mmm

Maybe it's a holding pattern until they can make the Solstice. They need another low cost car built by their own hands to bring in profits. So by building the Sunfire for now they can get those profits to offset the NUMMI costs for the Vibe. But if they then build the Solstice then they'll have the offsets coming from Solstice -- making the Solstice a much better decision to build

Vibe = entry
Solstice = entry sports
Pontiac = upmarket v. Chevy
Could be.
valder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: mmm (valder1)

Quote, originally posted by valder1 »
Maybe it's a holding pattern until they can make the Solstice. They need another low cost car built by their own hands to bring in profits. So by building the Sunfire for now they can get those profits to offset the NUMMI costs for the Vibe. But if they then build the Solstice then they'll have the offsets coming from Solstice -- making the Solstice a much better decision to build

Vibe = entry
Solstice = entry sports
Pontiac = upmarket v. Chevy
Could be.
valder.

Ever the optimist. I hope you're right. Anything to get the Solstice made. Of course this could also mean the Pontiac/Chevy clone days are finally ending (Camaro/Firebird, Cav/Sunfire). I guess Chevy will swing it out with the Koreans and Pontiac will be more upmarket? Thereby keeping with Lutz' goal for Pontiac to become more like BMW. Perhaps this isn't so bad.
 

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Re: mmm (valder1)

I wont turn this into a GM bashing thread, because as Ive said before I like some of the things GM is doing but thi is where my main concern is:

while moving the Cobalt to the upper small-car range. The Aveo, due in showrooms early next year, is expected to have a base price near $10,000, while the Cobalt would sell in the mid- to upper teens.
Its still pretty crazy that GM thinks they can get away with selling the sunfire any longer.
 

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Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (bgluckman)

Quote, originally posted by bgluckman »
Well, the Sunfire's basic architecture dates back to 1982. IIRC, the switch from Sunbird to Sunfire in 1994 was only a mild revamp of the platform, hardly an all-new car.

You can say that about damn near every platform then. WTH makes a vehicle brand new?
Given Honda's philosophy for communizing and standardizing for long term cost savings, the Civic platform today had its birth back in ~1988 - the mounting points for chassis build and how Honda designs/processes its sheet metal has not changed since then. They stick to a standard method and just strengthen structural members to meet new regs and simplifies componentry and processes to maximize profits.
For those to deny J bodies any improvement is silly without scientific data. Yeah, the suspension still sucks ass, but the body is a lot more sound structurally than my Si.
 

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Flowers!

Im not an optimist -- just calling it as i see it

I don't like Pontiac still selling the Sunfire but there's gotta be reasons we don't see here. It wouldn't be the first time GM's done something stupid but with Lutz at the helm screaming to rename everything, including the LeSabre, you'd think you'd catch wind about his frustration in this if it indeed WAS a frustration. So since he hasn't used the media as ihs tool in his political war I assume this is being done for a logical reason. Lutz works that way, you know?
Bringing the Cobalt up to attack a smaller range of the market. Problem with the Sunfire, beyond some obvious things, is that the cav/sun had to go after a HUGE market range. From 10k to 18k. You simply can't compete in this market when you're going after such a wide range of consumers. So the chevy move was good... We'll see with Pontiac.
valder.
 

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Re: Flowers! (valder1)

Quote, originally posted by valder1 »
The cav/sun had to go after a HUGE market range. From 10k to 18k. You simply can't compete in this market when you're going after such a wide range of consumers. So the chevy move was good... We'll see with Pontiac.

I'll agree with you on some parts of that your right about the market range part, 10 to 18k is MUCH different price range than say 45 to 60k. Prices in the low car segment are very tight.
As far as the colbalt moving upmarket, I think we still have to wait and see the car to determine if thats a good move. Theres some very good cars in higher end compact segment, and each one has some good merits.
Hyundai Elantra GT
VW Jetta
Honda Civic
etc. The Colbalt is going to have some stiff competition, especially regarding the fact that the cavalier usually sold on the fact that before it was the lowest priced car you could get with standard ABS, and automatic.
 

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yeah.

Well I wouldn't say the Cobalt is going UP market, merely able to operating within tighter market expectations. If it can build itself around the knowledge that it's gonna be a 15-18k car instead of having to be sold, for profit a 10k car then by market design it's going to be upmarket. But it'll be the same priced car as the current high level Cavalier but be much nicer based on it's paradigm.(hot **** i used that word... did i spell it right though?)
valder.
 

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Re: mmm (valder1)

Quote, originally posted by valder1 »
Maybe it's a holding pattern until they can make the Solstice. They need another low cost car built by their own hands to bring in profits.

But I read in a business magazine just a few years ago that the Cavalier and Sunfire cost so much to build that GM loses money on every one it makes. Considering how old and outdated the design is (an entry-level buyer who buys one is less likely to be back for his/her next car in a few years than an entry-level buyer of some other brand's inexpensive car), wouldn't it be reasonable to replace it as soon as a Delta-platform model is ready? A new design could be both better and less expensive to build, if designed well.
 

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Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (uncleho)

Quote, originally posted by uncleho »

You can say that about damn near every platform then. WTH makes a vehicle brand new?

Still, is there any car in its class sold in the US that is on an older design (than the 1995 Sunfire / Cavalier)?
 

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Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (Whirling_Dervish)

Quote, originally posted by Whirling_Dervish »
G
BASE STICKER SALES THROUGH MAY
Sunfire $15,495 15,154
Vibe $17,045 28,521

The other problem with the Sunfire is that its base price is expensive for an entry level car. Consider the MSRPs of other, better small cars:
Dodge Neon SE $13575
Ford Focus ZX3 $13265
Ford Focus LX $13695
Honda Civic DX 2-door $13270
Honda Civic DX 4-door $13470
Honda Civic HX 2-door $14170
Hyundai Elantra GLS $13439
Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback or sedan $14989
Mazda Protege DX $14100
Scion xA $12965
Scion xB $14165
Toyota Echo 2-door $10730
Toyota Echo 4-door $11260
Toyota Corolla CE $14055
Toyota Matrix $15155
If you were buying an entry-level car, would you buy a Sunfire over these other cars?
 

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Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (tjl)

Quote, originally posted by tjl »

Still, is there any car in its class sold in the US that is on an older design (than the 1995 Sunfire / Cavalier)?

I believe it could be the Fox body mustang since 1979 I think same platform different body style
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (tjl)

Quote, originally posted by tjl »

The other problem with the Sunfire is that its base price is expensive for an entry level car. Consider the MSRPs of other, better small cars:
Dodge Neon SE $13575
Ford Focus ZX3 $13265
Ford Focus LX $13695
Honda Civic DX 2-door $13270
Honda Civic DX 4-door $13470
Honda Civic HX 2-door $14170
Hyundai Elantra GLS $13439
Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback or sedan $14989
Mazda Protege DX $14100
Scion xA $12965
Scion xB $14165
Toyota Echo 2-door $10730
Toyota Echo 4-door $11260
Toyota Corolla CE $14055
Toyota Matrix $15155
If you were buying an entry-level car, would you buy a Sunfire over these other cars?

I didn't realize there was so much quality iron for $15K or less... http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: Pontiac KEEPING Sunfire! While Cav is replaced! WTF? (Whirling_Dervish)

Yea... us Canadian mostly like cheap car.... speically small cheap car... Still there are more and more SUV buying. But i don't think it is as much as in US. Of course it properly still more than other countries in Asia or europe because of cheaper fuel price and much more open area.
 

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Re: Flowers! (Jettavr666)

Toyota Echo hatchback CE will become the lowest-priced car to receive standard ABS in Canada with its below 13k price tag. Plus Toyota reputations, nice styling and good packaging. I doubt Cavalier/Sunfire are able to beat that car.



Modified by A4Jetta at 10:27 AM 6-30-2003
 
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