In 1926, the American automobile company Pontiac was registered, specializing in the production of middle class cars. The brand was conceived as one of the divisions of the General Motors concern, which sought to occupy all possible classes in the automotive market of the United States of America, offering its own brand for each class. However, the history of the Pontiac brand began much earlier.
In 1907, Edward Murphy, the owner of the Pontiac Buggy company from the city of Pontiac, decided to reorganize his firm for the production of horse-drawn carriages, for which he offered cooperation to one of the founders of the American automotive industry, Alencon Brush, who had extensive experience in the Cadillac firm. The result of the work of two enthusiasts was the 1908 Pontiac Spring car, equipped with a two-cylinder power unit with a capacity of 12 horsepower and a weight of half a ton. However, just a few months later, in November 1908, Pontiac was sold to MotorCar, which merged its production facilities with the Pontiac technological structure and changed its name to Oakland Motor Company.
In 1915, the automotive community heard the Pontiac brand name again when several prototypes of new cars were introduced. However, the project stalled, and the shareholders of General Motors became the new owners of the Oakland brand, and in 1926 the company changed its name to Pontiac Division, becoming part of one of the largest auto concerns in the United States of America.
Cars of the Pontiac company were supposed to take a vacant place in the lineup of the General Motors brand, which produced budget models under the Buick brand and luxury cars under the Chevrolet brand. Just a few months later, at the end of 1926, such a model was presented - a two-door Pontiac Coach, equipped with a removable roof and a 2.9-liter six-cylinder power unit with a capacity of 40 horsepower. In 1927, the Coach version was introduced in the back of a four-door sedan. In the same year, the GMC brand, specializing in the production of trucks, became part of the Pontiac company. In 1928, the power unit of the Pontiac Coach model was replaced with a new version, with a capacity of 48 horsepower, but sales of the obsolete model against the background of the Great Depression, which marked the decline of the US car market, gradually began to decline.
In 1929, the Pontiac Six was introduced, built on a completely new platform, which later became the basis of the Vauxhall brand lineup. Under the hood of the car is a 3.2-liter engine with a capacity of 60 horsepower. Thanks to the cost saving under $ 900, more than 120 thousand copies of this model were sold in just six months. In 1932, on the basis of the Six, the Pontiac 302 was built, equipped with an eight-cylinder engine with an output of 85 horsepower. By 1939, several modifications of models 6 and 302 were released, but significant design updates only affected the power units. And after the outbreak of World War II, the Pontiac company completely switched to the production of trucks for the needs of the United States Army and delivery vans, ambulances for social needs.
In 1948, when General Motors was able to allocate the necessary amount for the resumption of the work of the Pontiac brand, the production of pre-war models began, which received minor design changes. The absolutely new and first post-war car of the company was presented only in 1950. The model was named Catalina, but its most important success was the installation of the first automatic gearbox in the United States available to the average buyer. In 1953, modifications of the Pontiac models with power steering and the increasingly popular hardtop body were introduced. Due to the minimum investment and maximum efficiency from them, the company began to gradually take its former market share again, becoming a serious competitor to the Ford models.
In 1955, the Pontiac Star Chief mid-size station wagon was introduced, based on the Chevrolet Nomad. However, the model had a stiffer suspension and two transmission modifications - a manual transmission with a 173 horsepower power unit and an automatic with a 180 horsepower power unit. The low price and relatively economical engines provided the Pontiac with such demand that in 1956 the question arose of creating a second plant, which would save dealers from queues for the Star Chief model, stretching for two years in advance. In addition, in 1957, the government of the United States of America entered into an agreement with General Motors, according to which supplies of the Pontiac Star Chief began to all medical institutions in major cities of the country in the modification of an ambulance.
The 1960s marked a golden age for Pontiac, when the engineer John DeLorean took over the design office and later became the head of the company. His idea was to create the most powerful and inexpensive car that would appeal to young people. And so the world's first muscle car Pontiac GTO was presented, which was a package of options installed on the standard Pontiac Tempest model. Under the hood of the mid-size two-door hardtop sedan was an eight-cylinder 6.5-liter power unit with 325 horsepower. This was followed by modifications to the aerodynamic body kit for the GTO model, making it a classic design for all future sports cars produced in the United States of America.
However, the next decade plunged Pontiac into a real economic crisis, after the problems began with the supply of Middle Eastern oil around the world. Buyers in the American auto market have stopped choosing heavy and powerful models from Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, preferring compact, inexpensive and fuel-efficient cars of Japanese automakers, which led to the closure of a number of American factories. Trying to rectify the situation, General Motors entered into an agreement with the Japanese brand Mitsubishi, as a result of which Pontiac engineers were able to develop and present their own compact economical car - the Pontiac Fiero model, which looks like the Italian Ferrari brand and is equipped with 1, 8-liter power unit.
The further fate of the brand is described by historians of the US automotive industry as a protracted peak that ended in death. Since 1979, when competition in the United States car market intensified to the limit, and budget cars of the Buick brand took the middle class segment, Pontiac was transferred to the production of luxury cars, which were externally modernized models of the Chevrolet brand. Until 2008, the entire model range of the company completely repeated the line of Chevrolet cars for the American market, after which the economic crisis set in, and General Motors was forced to declare itself bankrupt.
However, after receiving assistance and a partial sale of shares, General Motors, which completely changed its management, was able to outline a new development plan in 2009, through a large-scale restructuring. In the same year, the GMC cargo department came under full control of the Chevrolet brand, and Pontiac employees were notified that they would be on administrative leave until early 2010, after which they would move to work at Cadillac "And" Buick ". During the stoppage of production at the factories of the brand, all the equipment of its two factories was completely updated, after which it was announced that from January 1, 2010 the Pontiac company would be closed due to the unprofitability of production.