TEXT OF STORY
Bill Radke: Chrysler might make it, but it doesn’t look good for Pontiac. Later today, General Motors will announce more cost-cutting moves, including the demise of the brand that brought you the Firebird, the GTO and my first car, the LeMans. For reporter Steve Henn the love affair started even earlier in life.
Steve Henn: When I was 6 years old the car, I was going to get when I grew up sounded exactly like this:
[Sound of a Trans Am]
I wanted a Trans Am — a black Trans Am with a big gold eagle on the hood. And Pam Murtaugh, an automotive marketing consultant, says back then, so did every other little boy in America.
Pam Murtaugh: Yeah. Because when you were 6 years old, you wanted to take over the world.
Henn: I did!
Murtaugh: And in the meantime, the world has taken over you.
Henn: So are you saying that’s why I drive a minivan?
Murtaugh says for decades, GM has been relying on male fantasies about muscle cars to make Pontiac sexy. But in this economy:
Murtaugh: A car that comes after us with sex appeal, it’s like, I’ve got a headache. You just don’t have room for it in your life.
Pontiac might appeal to a niche audience, but GM needs mass marketing appeal to survive.
I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.