|Originally posted by Rsvl-Rider:|
The magazine is available on that site but the article isn't.
So what was the real reason they killed it?
The full real story is according to the inside Fiero Pontiac people I have spoken too.
#1 Pontiac put the car in a plant that has a large capacity much more than one should expect a 2 seater car to be able to keep up with.
#2 Pontiac had expected the GM 80 F body replacement also with a plastic body to take up the remaining production. The problem was the GM 80 was FWD and when the Ford Mustang was retained to be a RWD and the FWD version became the Probe GM killed the GM 80 program.
#3 This left the Pontiac plant with a car that they had expected to sell approx. 25K-35K units per year but no other car to fill out production at the plant.
#4 Pontiac and GM mishandled the publicity on the car and it was getting a bad wrap.
#5 With the lack of car to put into the plant to fill out production and bad publicity gave the enemies of the car the ammo they needed to bring it down. It is well known there were people with in GM that never wanted the car and then the Chevy people feared a more powerful cheaper Fiero would cut into already declining Corvette sales and possibly Camaro. The Corvette contrary to popular belief is never given a free pass and this could have lowered sales that may have hindered their future business case for the car.
John Schinella the lead of design on the Fiero from start to finish said it best Chevy sells more cars so Chevy gets more say. They did not want the car and they saw to it that the car was killed. The many mistakes or miscalculations just gave Chevy the needed points to kill the car.
I also spoke to someone who was at the last meeting and I have read the documents from the meeting where it was killed. There was a good effort by Pontiac to save the car but no matter what they said or did the car was DOA going to the meeting. There just was no saving it.
This lead to many difficult things post car as GM and Pontiac made a lot of promises to the UAW so they were mad at GM. Pontiac people were mad at Chevy and GM people who saw fit to undermine anything they did. The bad blood lingered for years and even some still at GM from the program will only speak off the record.
The design for the 1990 was reused and converted to front engine for the 4th Gen F body including the dash.
The story in the magazine points out the killing of the car was due to Chevy and the Corvette. This is a true statement that was rumored for years and now proven true.
If you want an example of how damaged the GM culture inside was the Fiero is a the perfect case of it. This is where divisions and corporation did more to damage a car or to each other than any competitor could have done. If they had all worked together they could have really done something even greater here but as we know now where this culture lead.
As Bob Lutz said in his book. There are those at GM that were the problem and those who are not the problem. Today those who are not the problem are now gaining control and the products are now showing the changes and much less infighting.
The damaged culture culminated in the ignition deal and is another example where the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing. Some people at GM knew what was going on but for the most many did not.
There are a lot of other small details to the Fiero program and the issues. But the main thing is Pontiac made mistakes and took risk that paid off short term but caught up in the long run and gave those with in the company reason to take the car out. Something as simple as the GM 80 making production could have covered them but then we would have been stuck with a FWD Camaro and how long would that have lasted?
From what one Pontiac insider told me he never felt that many expected the car to last. Even if it got to a second gen time may have been limited as so many 2 seat cars have short lives. Only a few like the Corvette and Miata have lived long lives. MR2, RX7, Nissan Z cars etc all ran short cycles compared to what many cars see.
The fact is a 2 seat car is often a second or third car and the number of buyers are limited. When you sell as many Fiero's in a short time like they did limits future sales as they have flooded the market. The Miata has proven how you keep a limited market alive by limiting sales. They sell under 20K units per year here and it keep demand up. Global sales help fill out the volume to make it profitable. If Pontiac had shared this car with Opel and Holden. Then sold them in lower numbers each year on a smaller line or a line that did have another product to share it things may have been different. But these mistakes out of desperation because of the lack of support of GM in general made for risky moves.
But in the end the Fiero as Schinella pointed out got a lot of people in the show rooms and sold a lot of Grand Am's that lead to Pontiac surviving and Olds being killed a little later on. Pontiac was in trouble in the early 80's and nearly died then. Once they lost the 400 engine and much of their identity in the F body with so much sharing with Chevy it really hurt. Then they made the Bonneville from the old A body Lemans really did a lot of damage. I know may here may not have been around but the years 80-84 were some pretty tough years at Pontiac.