When It Makes No Sense To Buy a Used Pontiac

Pontiac's Demise Makes It a Mistake in Most Instances

Being in the market for a used Pontiac is no place to be right now, but if you must, consider a used Pontiac Grand Prix or Pontiac Vibe depending on your needs. Photo © GM

With the demise of Pontiac as a brand by GM by the end of 2010, now is the worst time to buy a used Pontiac, except in one case. Tony and Michele Hamer also weigh in on the topic at their classic cars site.

Your used Pontiac is going to have no resale value

Once Pontiac’s demise is announced the value of its vehicles (new and used) are going to plummet. Good luck getting anywhere near the value of your used Pontiac when it comes time to sell.

No responsible financial institution will lend you money for a used Pontiac

The dealer network is going to disappear. The cars are going to be more difficult to get fixed under warranty. Resale values are going to be weak. Good luck getting anybody but a sub-prime lender to back your loan. Count on paying a ridiculously high interest rate even if you have good credit.

Pontiac hasn’t sold a good car in years

Let me qualify that somewhat. A lot of people seem to be raving about the Pontiac G8. So, a used G8 might be a good value, but otherwise I can’t think back to a Pontiac in the last 10 years that I would want to own. None of the G-series appeal to me. Don’t get me started on the Solstice. It was an over-hyped vehicle from the start and it had a convertible top that was simply infuriating to use. The Pontiac GTO was appropriately nicknamed the Goat. The Pontiac Aztek has been the punch line to endless numbers of jokes.

By the way, Consumer Reports largely agrees with me. Out of its 36-member “Worst of the Worst Used Cars,” three are Pontiacs: Pontiac Aztek; Pontiac G6 (V6); and, Pontiac Montana. So, don’t take my word from it. Those guys at Consumer Reports know a thing or two about cars.

Your friends are going to laugh at you.

Let’s face it. Buy a used Pontiac now and, unless you can produce a bill of sale showing you saved 30% or more, your friends are going to question your judgment. They’ll whisper behind your back, “Did you hear he a bought a used Pontiac? And he seemed like such a nice person.”

A Pontiac makes sense if you plan to run it into the ground

Then you don’t have to worry about resale value. Take the Grand Prix I mentioned above. It’s going to serve you well as solid Point A to Point B transportation. It can seat five adults comfortably and its trunk is spacious.

I should mention there is one Pontiac that Consumer Reports recommends: the Pontiac Vibe. The Vibe never made my heart go pitter patter but it is a good practical used car that you should be able to run into the ground.

Our new car reviewer Aaron Gold had this to say, "Pontiac's Vibe is all-new for 2009. Though the wedge-shaped roofline and 5-door "wagonette" body style hark back to the first-generation Vibe, the new car is an up-to-date package that's strong on safety, practicality and versatility. As you can tell, I really liked it."

It’s basically a kissing sister of the Toyota Matrix. Here's what Aaron had to say about that car (at least the 2005 model). "Though mechanically identical to the Vibe, the Matrix has different sheetmetal, which has been updated for 2005. The wedge shape of the side windows is one of the features that sets it apart from the Pontiac."

You can save a lot of money buying a Pontiac right now

Both dealers and private sellers are going to have inventory they want to clear. They know they’re going to have to swallow hard and take any reasonable offer.

Private used Pontiac sellers are going to be seeing already reduced values. So, be leery when dealing with them. Make sure any pre-purchase inspection is especially thorough. People losing money on their used cars rarely impart a lot of tender loving care on them.