The government team in charge of the bailout originally wanted to jettison everything but Chevrolet and Cadillac. The GM team convinced them to retain Buick and GMC based on the former's popularity in China, and the latter's ability to charge more for Chevrolet trucks and SUVs with different grilles. Whether that was the right move can be debated endlessly.
Pontiac was long past its heyday by 2008. The brand's golden era stretched from 1959 through roughly 1971. By 2008, there weren't that many potential customers left who remembered Pontiac's glory days. And the time when a Pontiac was a definite step-up from a Chevrolet in status and prestige was long gone.
Pontiac's performance image was long gone, too. Chevrolet, with the Corvette, had more of a performance image than Pontiac. The G8 and GTO were good cars, but they had zero impact on the market. GM simply didn't have the marketing and public relations acumen to establish these two cars as performance bargains. GM hasn't displayed that level of marketing savvy since the days of Jim Wangers and the original GTO (and note that GM management at the time fought Pontiac brass over what Wangers was doing).
Lutz thought that he could turn Pontiac into a domestic, bargain-basement BMW. The problem is that real lower-level BMWs aren't necessarily that expensive anymore, and the people who buy them wouldn't be caught dead in a Pontiac. The people who want old-school domestic performance - and the image that goes with it - are buying Dodge Chargers and Challengers.
As for Ford of Europe - it has a solid commercial business in the Transit line, and the Fiesta and Focus are respected and popular. The Fiesta, for example, has been the best-selling vehicle in the United Kingdom. The Fusion/Mondeo has been hurt by the decline in sales of non-premium large sedans, but that isn't just happening to Ford. Ford of Europe and GM's old European operations were miles apart in overall performance and profitability.
Edited by grbeck, 07 December 2017 - 02:14 PM.