2004-06 Pontiac GTO
Pontiac got the message with the success of the GTO Concept in 1999. But the biggest problem was that they planned to discontinue the Firebird/Trans Am, so there was no appropriate platform or design to base the GTO on. Pontiac and General Motors didn’t have the time or money to invest in a new platform, so GM looked to its subsidiaries, finding the perfect car in Australia.
Holden, GM’s Australian branch, produced a rear wheel drive muscle car they called the Monaro. It sat on a modern chassis with an independent rear suspension and disc brakes. They produced it with a sleek two-door body just like the original GTO. GM’s plan was to import the Monaro to the USA and rebadge it as a GTO. But things didn’t work out as they planned.
The first year for the modern GTO was 2004 and the car received universal praise from the buyers and the car press. The design wasn’t new or aggressive, but the GTO had the muscle car form and street presence. Under the hood was the LS1 5.7-liter V8 with 350 HP, delivering enough performance to be one of the hottest American cars for 2004. The target sales figure was 18,000 and Pontiac sold almost 14,000, which was a success.
Pontiac presented the 400 HP 6.2-liter engine, delivering a better performance in 2005. Although it had a 0 to 60 mph time of just 4.6 seconds, sales started to decline to 11,000. For 2006, the final model year, they sold just 14,000. The car didn’t excite customers like the original GTO. The design was restrained and not aggressive. Although it was fast, as an overall package, the new GTO didn’t appeal to drivers. And that was the main reason for its early demise.