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Pontiac Vibe 2009+
quote Wards- 2009 Vibe
General Motors Corp. will accelerate production of its redesigned ’09 Pontiac Vibe by at least two months, a move meant to satisfy an advanced timetable for the ’09 Toyota Matrix and growing consumer demand for choices in the upper-small car segment.
The 6-year-old Vibe and Matrix share a common platform. The Vibe is built at New United Motor Mfg. Inc., a Fremont, CA-based facility operated jointly by GM and Toyota Motor Corp. The Matrix is produced at Toyota’s Cambridge, ON, Canada, plant.
Toyota wants to update the Matrix because it has attracted families, rather than younger buyers the auto maker originally sought.
“The styling does not have the sense of motion about it,” says Mike O’Brien, head of product planning for Toyota Motor Co. USA, during a recent industry event in Michigan. “It’s a bit boxy. And it just does not have the appeal to young people that we had hoped for.”
In speeding the Matrix redo, production of the ’09 Vibe now will begin in first-quarter 2008, ahead of a typical NUMMI production turnover in mid-second quarter.
“They are sister vehicles, so the timing that would affect one vehicle would affect the other,” a GM spokesman tells Ward’s.
In GM’s case, the earlier the redesigned hatchback arrives the better. More fresh choices in its fuel-sipping small-car portfolio could help diversify its mix.