Pontiac's history

GM's 'Excitement' division
April 27, 2009 10:25:04 AM PDT
The first Pontiac hit showrooms in 1926, and for more than 100 years developed a loyal following of customers Pontiac History

Source: General Motors Corporation

Fast facts:

1926-First Pontiac introduced
1932-Oakland name dies. Pontiac makes it through as its own division despite attempts to kill the brand off
1941-Pontiac invents the engine option where buyers select the engine they want in their car
1941-Pontiac begins to build Oerlikon 20 mm anti-aircraft cannon for the U.S. Navy.
1948-49- Hyradmatic transmission debuts and Pontiac began to use bodies by Fisher
1950-Pontiac Catalina introduced
1956-Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen became Pontiac general manager.
1957-John DeLorean joins Pontiac, Bonneville introduced (first Pontiac to feature fuel injection)
1959-Pontiac "wide-track" bodies begin to appear
1964-Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO (the first acknowledged muscle car) introduced
1967-Pontiac Firebird introduced
1972-Pontiac builds its 16 millionth vehicle
1976-Sunbird introduced
1978-Pontiac builds its 20 millionth car (900,000 Pontiacs were built this year alone)
1979-Fiero development begins
1982-Pontiac begins ad campaign "We build excitement"
1984-Pontiac Fiero debuts
1990-Pontiac's first minivan the "Trans Sport" appears
1991-Pontiac Firebird convertible appears for the first time since 1969. Pontiac builds its 30 millionth vehicle
1994-Trans AM 25th Anniversary model offered
1995-Pontiac Sunbird nameplate dropped. Sunfire introduced
1999-Trans Sport renamed Montana
2001-Aztek introduced
2002-Solstice unveiled at North American International Auto Show, goes on sale as 2006 model



In 1907, the Oakland Motor Car Co., predecessor to Pontiac Motor, is founded by Edward M. Murphy on August 28, 1907 in Pontiac, Michigan.

In 1909, General Motors purchases a half interest in Oakland Motor Car Co. on January 20, 1909. When its founder, Edward Murphy, passes away the following summer, his company comes under the full control of General Motors. In 1932, the Oakland name is dropped from the vehicle line and Pontiac becomes the name of the division.

In 1926, the first Pontiac car is introduced by Oakland. The 'Chief of the Sixes,' a 6-cylinder car, is launched at the 1926 New York Auto Show.

In 1932, Pontiac Motor Division is established, replacing Oakland.

B-O-P Sales Company is established, consolidating the wholesale sales forces of Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac. It is disbanded the following year.

In 1937, Pontiac introduces the industry's first column-mounted gearshift.

Linden Division, Linden, NJ, is established to assemble Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs closer to the points of sale in the eastern U.S.

In 1945, The Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac Assembly Division is organized. It later becomes General Motors Assembly Division (GMAD) in 1965.

In 1957, the Bonneville model, with Pontiac's first fuel injection engine, is introduced.

Chevrolet introduces the F-body Camaro as a 1967 model. The following January, Pontiac introduces the Firebird, its third line of cars, as a 1967 model.

In 1976, GM introduces its downsized Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac full-size and luxury cars in September.

In 1979, GM introduces newly designed front-wheel-drive compact cars, the Buick Skylark, Chevrolet Citation, Oldsmobile Omega and Pontiac Phoenix X-body models.

In 1984, a new organizational structure for GM's North American Passenger Car Operations is formed. Two integrated car groups, Chevrolet, Pontiac, GM of Canada (C-P-C) and Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac (B-O-C), each have complete responsibility for their respective products, including engineering, manufacturing, assembly and marketing.

In 1988, GM introduces its 'GM10' family of newly redesigned midsize cars -- the Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and Pontiac Grand Prix.

In 1989, four-door sedan versions of the 'GM 10' Pontiac Grand Prix and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme are introduced.

The Pontiac Trans Sport and Oldsmobile Silhouette all-purpose vehicles debut. These models feature the largest plastic panels ever put on any vehicle.

In 1996, Pontiac and GMC marketing divisions are merged to form Pontiac-GMC Division.

In 2001, Pontiac celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary.

General Motors announces that its Ste. Therese, Quebec plant, which builds the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, will close in September 2002 in conjunction with discontinuation of the Camaro and Firebird models.

In 2004, GM announces plans to produce the sporty Pontiac Solstice roadster, first shown to the world at the 2002 North American International Auto Show, at its Wilmington, Del., assembly plant. The Solstice is to go on sale as a 2006 model year car.


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