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New York Auto Show 2008: 2010 Pontiac G8 Sport Truck


Two Doors and a Bed: Are We Ready for an El Camino Revival?
Pontiac is GM’s star at the 2008 New York Auto Show, introducing two new takes on just-launched G8 sedan. As well as a hotter GXP sedan for 2009MY, late in 2009 there will be a G8 Sport Truck.


Despite knowing quite a few people who profess their admiration for the old El Camino, the coupe-meets-truck thing never did much for me. A very unscientific show-floor poll found several people who thought the G8 ST looked cool, but didn’t think they really wanted one for themselves. This does not bode well for the G8 ST’s general acceptance. But Pontiac sees a market and has an inexpensive way to meet it, so meet it they will. The 2010 G8 Sport Truck gives Pontiac something no one else has and a truck that sort of fits with a sport-oriented lineup. They may not sell many, but as an image car it just might work in some circles.

Described by the marketers as “segment-bending,” the G8 ST is a version of Holden’s coupe-with-a-bed Ute. The G8 ST will offer strong performance, interesting looks, and give most buyers enough truckability with carlike fuel economy. Not to mention not seeing one on every corner can make it that much more interesting when you do. This isn’t a product GM would be wise to share among their many U.S. brands, and it is different enough from the GMC Denali XT shown at 2008 Chicago show that those two could co-exist, assuming the GMC reaches production.
Pontiac is asking consumers to name the car, which can help build excitement as well gauge real interest. Cast your vote at www.pontiac.com/namethiscar; the winning entry is being announced April 15.

This truck will take 6.0L V8 of the sedan, the GT’s upgraded braking system, and all of its convenience and safety features. As you might guess, it carries distinct sheetmetal, including doors, roof, and everything behind the B-pillar. It shares the sedan’s rear-drive architecture, beefed up in key areas to allow for its expanded cargo and towing capacity. The truck is also longer than the sedan, almost all of the extra length between the axles.

Pontiac promises a zero-to-sixty time of 5.4 seconds, with 1074 payload and 3500-pound towing capacities, enough to tow a couple of jet skis, motorcycles, or a small boat. (The G8 sedan is only capable of towing 2000 pounds.) Though not my flavor, I can its appeal among the single, young, and nomadic.

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GMC Denali XT: Redefining a GMC Truck?


At this year’s 2008 Chicago Auto Show, GMC is showing off a dramatic new four-door pickup concept. What’s interesting about this truck is not its four doors, or even its hybrid powertrain, which is GM’s two-mode system made E85 capable for the first time and uses a new direct-injection small-block 4.9L V8. What’s interesting is that it sits on a platform related to the upcoming Pontiac G8 and Chevrolet Camaro. As a design study for future GMC products, this truck is a home run.


That’s right, this is a rear-drive unitbody car platform, developed primarily by Holden in Australia (in fact Holden lead the design and construction of the Denali XT). Down Under, Holden has been selling, with terrific success, four-door Crewman and two-door Ute trucks for years. In today’s climate and increased pressure to build vehicles delivering better fuel economy, lower emissions, and power, GM is exploring unitbody trucks for the States. (Act II is expected to be a two-door Pontiac G8 ST at the 2008 New York auto show; the Pontiac may already be approved for production.)

GMC may find themselves with the right product concept at the right time here. Consumers who don’t really need the full towing and off-road capability of a traditional truck SUV are very happy with car-based versions. Despite the mixed response to the Honda Ridgeline, which is both expensive and less attractive than this Denali XT, the idea may apply to pickup trucks as well. Work-truck needs ensure unitbody pickups aren’t likely to take over the pickup market as thoroughly as they did the SUV market, but there may be room for a product such as this.

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