USA: Pontiac axes long-running Bonneville sedan
General Motors reportedly will stop making the Pontiac Bonneville this summer, saying declining sales and changing customer tastes no longer make the nearly half-century old sedan worthwhile.
The Associated Press (AP) said no jobs will be lost because the Detroit-Hamtramck factory where the Bonneville is currently made will continue to produce other large cars, including the new Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS.
The report said Pontiac introduced the Bonneville name in February 1957 at the Daytona Beach races, but didn't introduce it as a product line until 1958 - it was the first Pontiac with fuel injection and was initially available only as a convertible.
AP said the model evolved over the years into a roomy family sedan with plenty of power but, as the public's tastes in family haulers shifted to minivans and sport utility vehicles, the Bonneville's core market evaporated.
"After much discussion, it is in the best interest of Pontiac to align our product portfolio with where demand is," Pontiac spokesman Rick Crooks told the Associated Press, adding: "Demand in the large car segment has been declining for some years."
The news agency noted that Pontiac has revamped its car lineup with products such as the G6, which replaced the Grand Am, and entered new segments with the Vibe hatchback and Torrent, a small SUV.
AP said Pontiac sold nearly 100,000 Bonnevilles as recently as 1992, but demand fell to 29,852 last year, according to Ward's Automotive Reports - sales peaked at 135,401 units in 1966.