Saturday, June 22, 2024

Junkyard Gem: 2010 Pontiac Vibe

Just over a month before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2009, General Motors announced that the 83-year-old Pontiac Division would be “phased out” by the end of 2010. Only three Pontiac vehicles were sold as 2010 models in the United States: the Solstice, Vibe and G6 (new G3s were sold here during 2010 but they were all 2009 models, while the G5 was available as a 2010 model only in Canada and Mexico). Today’s bit of junkyard automotive history is one of the very last Vibes ever built, found in a yard near Denver, Colorado.

This car is significant not just as one of the final vehicles to bear Pontiac badges but also as one of the last cars built by the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated GM-Toyota joint venture in California, better known as NUMMI.

The NUMMI factory began life as GM’s Fremont Assembly, which built its first vehicle (a C-Series pickup) in 1963 and closed in 1982 after building its final vehicle (an Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera). Rebooted as NUMMI, the first 1985 Chevrolet Nova (an Americanized AE82 Toyota Corolla Sprinter) rolled off the line in December of 1984. A quarter-century and better than eight million vehicles hence, NUMMI shut down production after its last Corolla was finished on April 1, 2010. While there was some noise about the Oakland Athletics building a new stadium on the site at the time, Tesla ended up buying most of the site soon after that. Tesla now builds more vehicles per year there than NUMMI ever did.

The Vibe was co-developed with Toyota and based on the same platform as the ninth-generation Corolla. The Toyota Matrix was mechanically identical and was built in Canada, while the Japanese-market version (known as the Toyota Voltz) was built on the same NUMMI line as the Vibe and shipped across the Pacific. The Vibe/Matrix/Voltz got a redesign for the 2009 model year, but few noticed due to all the turmoil in the GM world at the time.

The final Vibe was built in August 2009. This car was built in July of 2009, just before the end.

It was living in West Texas just prior to coming to Colorado. El Paso is about a ten-hour drive from this car’s current location.

Once in the Centennial State, it got parked somewhere it shouldn’t have been and ended up being auctioned to Pick Your Part.

An occupant of this Vibe had time to sample some of the local agricultural products before that happened. At least there were no dispensary stickers over the speedometer or on the windshield directly in front of the driver’s eyes.

This is a base-model front-wheel-drive Vibe, though it does have the optional automatic transmission. It’s a safe bet that it started life as a rental car.

Kiss her in the rain, check off that achievement, then get back in your new Vibe GT. Pontiac also hired Shwayze in a not-so-successful attempt to lure The Youngs into the second-gen Vibe.

In Japan, Toyota pitched the Voltz with an exceptionally frantic skate-punk-themed commercial.

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