GM Intros Pontiac Vibe With Pomp, Circumstance

Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time new vehicles from automakers are unveiled at the year-round circuit of international auto shows.

General Motors took a different tack Tuesday, revealing the 2009 Vibe, a compact crossover--introduced in 2002 as a joint venture with Toyota--with fanfare, music and circumstance at Detroit's Filmore Theatre, a turn-of-the-century music venue.

And the event was open to a mash-up of general public, press, dealers and just about anyone interested with a computer and Internet connection, because the company launched the effort on its Pontiac lifestyle site, via live webcast, called Vibe Slam!

Jim Hopson, chief Pontiac spokesperson, pointed out that this was a first for the company, which typically follows industry tradition of pulling the wraps off for reporters at places like Cobo Hall or Jacob Javitz Center in New York City.

"We realize so many can't be there, and this is a little unusual to go beyond that to send out invitations to dealers, enthusiasts, and hand raisers," he says. "And it's also unusual that the Web site is unprotected. You don't need a password to log in. We wanted to share it with a much broader audience."



Craig Bierley, director of marketing, introduced the event, which punctuated the GenY target for the car with introduction of the vehicle's three variants--a base-model Vibe, All-wheel-drive version and a sporty GT version--with a poetry slam, in which a singer belting out "It's the Vibe Y'all, designed for action, main attraction, added traction," while artists drew interpretations of the car on canvases."

Jim Hunter, Vibe product manager, and Matt Satchell, development engineer, talked about the vehicles, as did Brian Nesbitt, general manager/vice president of design, who said the new version of the vehicle is an inch shorter, lower to the ground, with a wider stance. The new version also has fold-flat seat.

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