Goodbye Pontiac – Yet Another Sign Of How Rapidly America Is Being Deindustrialized

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On October 31st, 2010 Pontiac officially died.  After 84 years and approximately 40 million vehicles sold, the Pontiac brand is no more.    Pontiac actually built its last car almost a year ago, but on October 31st GM’s agreements with Pontiac dealers officially expired.  So say goodbye for the final time to the GTO, Bonneville, Firebird, Sunbird, Grand Am and Grand Prix.  No more vehicles with the beautiful red arrowhead emblem will ever be manufactured.  The company that produced muscle cars that so many millions of American boys grew up worshipping has passed on.  In this life, nothing lasts forever, but it just does not seem right that Pontiac is gone. 


Back in the 1960s, Pontiac was only behind Chevy and Ford when it came to U.S. vehicle sales.  However, by 2009, Pontiac had fallen to 12th place and was struggling badly.  In the end, General Motors finally pulled the plug.

The following is how the New York Times recently described the sad passing of Pontiac….

Pontiac, the brand that invented the muscle car under its flamboyant engineer John Z. DeLorean, helped Burt Reynolds elude Sheriff Justice in “Smokey and the Bandit” and taught baby boomers to salivate over horsepower, but produced mostly forgettable cars for their children, will endure a lonely death on Sunday after about 40 million in sales.

Most of us that have owned Pontiacs will never, ever forget them.  Pontiac made some really fun cars.  However, it is undeniable that the quality did decline over the years.  A couple of years ago I rented one of the newer Pontiacs and I found myself deeply disappointed. 

It just shows that you can’t take anything for granted.  At one time Pontiac made some of the greatest cars in the world.  But that day has long since passed.

Unfortunately, the same thing is happening to America on a much greater scale.

Once upon a time, the United States was the greatest manufacturing machine in the history of the world.  But today, America is being deindustrialized at a staggering rate.

In 2008, 1.2 billion cellphones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States?  Zero.

A recent article on the Economy In Crisis website described some of the sad signs of deindustrialization that we have seen over the past decade….

Televisions have not been made in America since 2004. The last vending machine made in America was in 2003. The Mattel toys that children love to play with ceased to be made in America in 2002. And in June, the last factory in America that made silverware shut its doors for the final time.

As I wrote about yesterday, America has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.

The U.S. economy is being radically transformed, and most Americans don’t even realize it.

In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

Will we eventually get to the point where barely anything is still made in America?

Well, the truth is that the economy would probably totally collapse long before we ever got to that point.  The pillars of the economic machine that once made America the envy of the world are being kicked out right from underneath us, and our fragile economy simply cannot take much more of this.

Right now the American people are very, very angry about the state of the economy, but most of them still believe that if they just vote in the “correct” politicians that all this can be fixed in just a couple of years.

But that simply is not true.  The U.S. economy is in the process of dying, and at this point neither political party has shown even the slightest ability to slow down the unfolding horror.

So say a prayer for Pontiac and for all of the Americans that used to work for that once great car company, but at this rate the rest of the U.S. economy will be following Pontiac into oblivion very rapidly.

  • Greg

    We will be following Pontiac into oblivion because as a nation we have cast our morality into oblivion. No nation casts off restraint and remains strong in any area except odor – the stench of our rotting corpse will keep getting stronger. The demise that is constantly and accurately broadcast on this website was as certain to me as the sunrise when I saw the demise of our morals and the hatred towards our Creator. I have been surprised that it has taken so long to see God’s judgment but am also surprised at how fast we are slipping into oblivion now that the plug has been pulled. Sort of like a sinking ship, I guess. It seems to be OK for a while but once it hits the break over point it plunges to the bottom quickly. Hold your nose, we’re going down!

  • Piglet

    One thing the US continues to make in great quantities is military hardware with which it equips its own military, plus it pushes it on other countries around the world. This helps to enrich the war profiteers in the USA. As author Chalmers Johnson said, when we spend this much money on war, we’re going to get a lot more of it. Cheery thought.

  • zack

    The real question is how do we create an environment where American manufacturers can compete effectively? We live in a global marketplace, and, short of imposing draconian protective tariffs, it is only through massive capital investment resulting in high efficiency that we can compete with low-cost labor abroad. Unfortunately, as our politicians continue to pass populist “reform” legislation that discourages investment supposedly in favor of the little guy. In reality, these bills mainly help the entrenched big corporate interests, helping them to continue to loot the country. Sad.

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  • dave

    The world’s largest economy producing nothing but weapons of death and destruction. How can this be sustainable? Our wealth is just surface wealth, glittering to the eye but hollow inside, built on cheap labor overseas and buttressed by so much speculation on Wall Street. I am afraid that the manufacturing skills which made America great have escaped to foreign lands never to return.
    American labor has priced itself out of a market and to bring it back will take nothing less than a revolution. A public lulled into putting money into Wall Street and finding that it was nothing more than a mirage. Seems like the only way to recover the country is to recover our original strengths, of hard work, of living within our means, of spiritual life.

  • Travis

    Oh no! What will people buy instead? Honda CRVs? But that would mean I would have to build more seats for them than I already do here in Ohio to have them shipped off to the assembly plant here in Ohio! The horror!

  • Owen

    Down for the count.

  • mondobeyondo

    Pontiac is the perfect metaphor for America in general.

    The GTO was such a great car in its heyday. The Beach Boys sang about it. But it’s not 1964 anymore… in more ways than one.

    “As GM goes, so goes America…”

  • Val

    What a major disappointment. My favorite car ever was my 1973 Pontiac. Wish I still owned it,