On December 2, 2008, General Motors announced that it was considering eliminating numerous brands, including Pontiac, in order to appease Congress in hope of receiving a 25 billion dollar loan. On February 17, 2009, GM originally proposed the elimination of its Saturn division, the sale of Saab, and either the sale or elimination of Hummer, depending on whether a buyer could be found quickly. In the original plan GM also clarified that Pontiac would have begun to focus on “niche” models aimed at the “youthful and sporty” segment, but did not provide specifics. Pontiac was to trim its number of models to four, although there was talk of retaining only one model. By April 2009 several automotive websites and business publications were reporting that GM was doing a study suggesting it might eliminate the brand altogether, along with sister truck brand GMC. On April 23 a report was published stating the company would be dropping the Pontiac brand while preserving the GMC truck line, as well as the Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick brands. The decision to eliminate Pontiac was made primarily due to the increasing threat of a bankruptcy filing if the June 1 deadline could not be met. On April 27, 2009, GM officially announced that Pontiac would be dropped and that all of its remaining models would be phased out by the end of 2010.
General Motors will cut an additional 7,000 to 8,000 factory jobs in the United States and shed 2,600 dealers by 2010 under a revised business plan developed with the Obama administration. GM Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson said the Pontiac brand would be closed by 2010, calling it an “extremely personal decision.” In addition to speeding up decisions on Saturn, Saab and Hummer, GM will be left with four brands – Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.
The G6 was the last Pontiac built in the U.S.
In early May, 2009, Jim Waldron, a Davison, Michigan Pontiac dealer, announced that he was interested in purchasing the Pontiac brand and logos, and had found financing to purchase them as well as some soon-to-be shuttered GM plants in order to build cars. However, GM had already decided to retire the brand as it has began to sell off its remaining inventory and said that, unlike Saturn, the brand was not for sale.
The last American Pontiac, a 2010 G6, was built on November 25, 2009 at the Orion Assembly plant. No public farewell took place, although a group of plant employees documented the event. In December 2009, the last Pontiac-branded vehicle to roll off an assembly line was in the Canadian-market Pontiac G3 Wave, manufactured in South Korea by GM Daewoo.
The Pontiac brand was pulled after the 2009 model year in Mexico and the brand was renamed as Matiz, while selling only one vehicle, the Matiz G2 (Matiz’s logo is similar to Pontiac’s logo).
Pontiac became the second brand General Motors has eliminated in six years. Oldsmobile met the same fate in 2004 after being more slowly phased out over four years. Pontiac also became the ninth North American automobile brand since 1987 to be phased out, after Merkur, Passport, Asüna, Geo, Plymouth, American Motors (AMC) (renamed Eagle in 1988, only to be phased out a decade later), and Oldsmobile.