2 of 6
2009 Pontiac G8 GXP
October sales: 12,140
U.S. market share: 2.06%

Pontiac, which offers seven different models (including the tiny G3, scheduled to arrive this spring) is about to get downsized, GM says. It's not considered one of the automaker's "core" brands, and it will become a niche brand built around sporty cars.

As it structures Pontiac around cars like the G8 performance sedan and the two-seat Solstice sports car, GM will have to resist pressure to water it down with filler products, as it often has in the past.

That would mean getting rid of models like the G5 and the upcoming G3, both virtually identical to Chevrolet economy cars.

Pontiac should then market a version of the Chevrolet Camaro, according to J.D. Power & Associates analyst Tom Libby. It would be called the Firebird, of course - but with even more performance than the Camaro.

GM will have to convince dealers to go with the program. In the past, the problem has been that dealers wanted a full line of vehicles to sell so they could compete, car for car, against Chevrolet dealers. But in the end, says, Libby, a focused Pontiac brand is better for everyone than a full line-up.

"I think it's crucial that everything by a brand be in sync with its core value message," he said.

Despite the new "niche" label, GM executives still insist that Pontiac will offer small fuel-efficient cars in the future. But they promise they will be fun, small and fuel-efficient.

NEXT: Buick

Last updated December 03 2008: 1:00 PM ET
More Galleries
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.