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

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.