Pontiac was an American automobile brand owned, manufactured, and commercialized by General Motors. Introduced as a companion make for GM’s more expensive line of Oakland automobiles, Pontiac overtook Oakland in popularity and supplanted its parent brand entirely by 1933.
Sold in the United States, Canada, and Mexico by GM, in the hierarchy of GM’s five divisions, it was slotted above Chevrolet, but below Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac. Starting with the 1959 models, marketing was focused on selling the lifestyle that the car’s ownership promised than the car itself. By emphasizing its “Wide Track” design, it billed itself as the “performance” division of General Motors and that they “built excitement.”
The remainder of the 1970s and the early 1980s saw the rise of luxury, safety, and economy as the key selling points in Pontiac products. Wire-spoked wheel covers returned for the first time since the 1930s. More station wagons than ever were being offered. Padded vinyl roofs were options on almost every model. Rear-wheel drive began its slow demise with the introduction of the first front-wheel drive Pontiac, the 1980 Phoenix (a version of the Chevrolet Citation).
The Firebird was successfully marketed by product placement in the Smokey and the Bandit film and The Rockford Files TV show. The Firebird was available with Formula and Trans Am packages, plus a Pontiac first- a turbocharged V8, for the 1980 and 1981 model years.
1980 Pontiac Grand Prix, Grand LeMans, Grand LeMans Safari