Dear Mr. Hopson:
I was hoping for an update as to when my car will arrive at the dealership.
I called the dealer and the 1-800 number, and nobody seems to know
anything. I had a TPW of 10/13, which apparently changed to 10/27 according
to a gto website. I know the corporate line is that the car will arrive 60
to 90 days after being built, but I also know that hundreds of GTOs are
already over here, and according to ls1gto.com, NONE of them will be going
to the 94 people who registered to have their cars tracked. That seems hard
In my opinion, Pontiac set customer expectations high about how informed
they will be. I was told that I would get emails detailing the build
process, and where my GTO was as it was going down the assembly line. So
far, since June, all I got was 1 form email letter.
All in all, I am pretty disappointed in this Advance Order experience, and
I think a lot of people are sharing my frustration. I need to sell my old
car and obtain financing, so this is not just idle curiosity. If I sell my
car after 60 days past the TPW, I will have to rent a car for
who-knows-how-long. The dealer and 800 number both seem to know a lot less
about the car's status than ANYONE else.
Please be forthcoming with some answers, and I promise to share any good
news with others who are waiting. When will the first ones be delivered? Is
there a delay? Is there some reason Pontiac can't provide an accurate
"tracker" for these cars? Is it too late for Pontiac to "re-group" and
start providing serious updates to the buyers, say once a week? I would be
grateful to know that my car was built, and if so when, if it had been
placed on a boat, and if so when, when it should dock, when and how it will
be transported across the country, etc.
I also wanted to ask you about the awful review of a GTO in Pontiac
Enthusiast Magazine. What, if anything is being done to prevent the
problems from appearing on my GTO. That magazine went out of their way to
not make the GTO look bad, but seeing bags of ice on the engine made me
question whether I am buying a white elephant.
I appreciate your time, and any help you may be able to offer
I want to personally apologize to you for the inconvenience you've
encountered with your 2004 GTO order. Certainly, this situation is not
something we are happy about, but we've had more than a few delays in
getting all of the information systems connected between here and Holden.
Please understand this is not an excuse, but rather an explanation that I
hope you will understand.
Although our intent with the GTO Advanced Order Program was to keep you
better informed than we have, I'm not certain there would have been any
method of tracking your vehicle as it was assembled down the line. We
currently don't have that kind of real-time tracking capabilities for our
North American plants, so I'm not certain that we could have ever had any
form of reliable tracking system for the Holden facility.
However, we are taking steps to increase the amount of data accessible
through your dealer. If everything goes as planned (and we have our
fingers crossed), as of next week, dealers will be able to determine when a
vehicle has been built, when it is loaded onto a ship for transportation,
when it reaches our port on the west coast and when it is loaded onto local
carriers for transportation to the dealership. We hope that this will
improve the information gap rather significantly.
On your particular order, I have backtracked through the system and I have
confirmed that your vehicle (Order #GJSPF2) has been built and is currently
on one of three ships currently between the west coast and Australia. Your
ship is scheduled to dock on December 20 and your vehicle should be
off-loaded soon thereafter. At that time, your GTO will be submitted to a
number of quality checks before being released for transportation to your
dealer. As I said above, your dealer should be able to track exactly when
the car is released from the port as of next week, so you should be able to
get a pretty good indication when your car should arrive at the dealership.
In terms of the vehicles already at the port, approximately 900 GTOs have
been received and processed (another 1,200 or so are on those three ships I
told you about). Most (if not all) have already left the port on the way
to their destination. Contrary to some of the information being passed
around on the Internet, many of these vehicles are actually going to
dealers and to their eventual customers. Some of the data being discussed
on individual order numbers is amazingly accurate, however there is also a
lot of incorrect information being passed as well. The best advice I can
give is to have each customer talk to his/her dealer next week to get an
update with the real data from GM.
Now, on to the last topic, the review in Pontiac Enthusiast. As the
article mentions, the vehicle they reviewed was a pre-production model and
not a vehicle that had been reviewed and prepped for the kind of testing
the magazine conducted. We build pre-production models to test all of the
new components and enhancements we've added with the intention of finding
problems and correcting them before the cars get to customers. Because
they are not fully indicative of the production vehicle, we usually do not
take them out racing on the track. Unfortunately,this is what happened in
the case of the car used by Pontiac Enthusiast.
In the case of the pre-production vehicles equipped with an automatic
transmission, we discovered that the wiring harness that controls the
traction control system was mis-routed. It then degraded to the point
where the traction control system would engage in all but the most mundane
acceleration attempts, causing the vehicle to "bog down" and lose power.
The problem has been corrected in the production cars that are going to
customers. I can assure you from the personal experience of driving over
3,000 miles in a GTO, you will not encounter any of the kind of performance
problems reported in the magazine.
In fact, you don't even have to take my word for it. You can check out
similar performance testing in the December issues of both Motor Trend and
Car & Driver magazines. Both magazine confirmed our zero-to-60 mph times
of below 14 seconds. You can also see reviews of the GTO in Road & Track,
Automobile and dozens of major market newspapers, most recently this past
weekend in the New York Times. It is unfortunate that Pontiac Enthusiast
felt the need to rush to publish an article before we could supply them
with a vehicle that was truly up to production standards.
Again, I am sorry that you've encountered so much frustration with your GTO
order. In all honesty, it's been frustrating for those of us involved with
this project for the past eighteen months to deal with some of these last
minute issues. Having driven the GTO (at times pretty aggressively), I can
only say that I think you will be happy once you are in that driver's seat,
smoking pretty much anything on the road with you.
Please let me know if I can provide any further assistance.