Apparently GM has not completely thrown out it’s old playbook and is continuing the tried and true procedure of rebadging an existing vehicle and re-releasing it as a new model under a different division of the company. Remember the days of the Cadillac Cimmaron or Cadvalier as it is not so affectionally referred to? In that vein, is the G3, which is based on the Chevy Aveo, which is based on the Daewoo Kalos. The company position is that this is not as superficial as it sounds and that the G3 will have a unique identity. As predictably eye-rolling of a company line as that may appear to be, this move could go either way.
To be fair to GM, it is common for several vehicles to be produced on the same basic architecture, or like Lexus and Toyota, for essentially only the external look of the model to be altered between vehicles. Unfortunately for GM they historically tend to not put enough distance in the way of amenities or performance between their rebadge jobs. And even if they did, most would agree that putting a new face on an Aveo will not make it a vehicle that is magically of a higher quality. But considering the Vibe was the previous small car in the Pontiac line, the G3 actually makes some sense in terms of offering something in the small car segment.
The concern for Pontac will be in at least two areas. First, the G3 does not in any way approach the sporty image that they try to portray and foster with consumers. So this may hurt their brand image. Secondly for GM as a whole is whether this will simply move customers from the Aveo to the Pontiac showroom and not actually increase sales, only cannibalize them from another part of the company. As storied as Pontiac was or as much progress as they have made recently, is it reasonable to think that the typical GM or Pontiac customer is all that different from each other? This will only be a good move if GM provides enough upgrades with the G3 to attract customers and still keeps the price relatively low in the process. If they do that, it may be possible to lasso new customers to the small car, who were only turned off by the Aveo’s cheap style and not it’s budget friendly price or diminuitive size, characteristics the 2009 G3 is sure to have.