GM Officially Announces Pontiac's Death, Saab, Hummer and Saturn to be Gone by 2009

This is the end of the road for Pontiac as General Motors confirmed earlier media reports by officially announcing on Monday the death of the 83-year-old marque that will be phased out by the end of 2010. As part of its revised "Viability Plan" that accelerates the timeline for a number of important actions, GM said that it will speed up "the resolution of Saab, Saturn, and Hummer to the end of 2009, at the latest." The General will focus on four core brands in the U.S., Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC, offering a total of 34 nameplates in 2010 compared to 48 in 2008, a reduction of 29 percent.

"We are taking tough but necessary actions that are critical to GM's long-term viability," said Fritz Henderson, GM president and CEO. "Our responsibility is clear - to secure GM's future - and we intend to succeed. At the same time, we also understand the impact these actions will have on our employees, dealers, unions, suppliers, shareholders, bondholders, and communities, and we will do whatever we can to mitigate the effects on the extended GM team."

Other significant changes in GM's updated "Viability Plan" include the accelerated idling and closures of powertrain, stamping, and assembly plants while the firm will almost cut its U.S. dealer count in half, from 6,246 in 2008 to 3,605 by the end of 2010. This is a further reduction of 500 dealers, and four years sooner, than the previous plan submitted to the U.S. Treasury on February 17.

And how will all these measures affect U.S. workers? According to GM, the updated plan will see an additional reduction of 7,000 to 8,000 hourly employees. Overall, U.S. hourly employment levels are projected to be reduced from about 61,000 in 2008 to 40,000 in 2010, a 34 percent reduction, and level off at about 38,000 starting in 2011.