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The Real Reason The Pontiac Fiero Was Discontinued
As the 1970s gave way to the 80s, Pontiac was desperate for a vehicular hit that would put it back on the map while differentiating it from the handful of other automakers within General Motors' stable. Its general manager at the time, Bill Hoglund, felt that an affordable two-seat sports car would help recapture the performance image the company once had with the GTO.
Thus, in 1984, the plastic-bodied Pontiac Fiero, which means "very proud" in Italian and "fierce" in Spanish, was released for $7,999, and by the end of the year, nearly 137,000 were on the road. It became such a hot commodity that it zipped around as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 that same year — and the 2M4 model even made it on "Car & Driver's" 10-best list.
Unfortunately, Pontiac's penny-pinching ways, combined with the bargain bin parts used to get the sporty commuter car into production on such a paltry sum, resulted in engine problems leading to fires. Sales began to slide due to bad publicity, and once consumer advocate Ralph Nader got involved, they continued to plummet until GM halted production in 1988.