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“I think GM as a whole has lost its brand acuity,” Mr. Sowerby said. “Maybe a lot of that if you talk to the troops in the trenches, is that the marketing budgets were lost so badly and they couldn’t reinforce that image.”

Jason Scott, editor of Pontiac Enthusiast magazine in Sidney, Ohio, said his readers were mostly philosophical about GM’s announcement that Pontiac was effectively dead.

“They say it’s sad that GM can’t continue the brand, but they feel a strong connection that its been a part of the past,” he said of reaction.

“The cars that were known for the performance glory days mostly haven’t been made in a very long time. Pontiac’s glory days are mainly past, and you have a lot of die-hards who will tell you that Pontiac hasn’t made a true Pontiac for a decade.”

Mr. Sowerby, who retired from GM after 35 years in management, said that like many in the automotive community, he has been dismayed by the Obama administration’s interjecting its influence on U.S. automakers.

“I am disturbed by government’s involvement in industry and business,” he said. “I don’t think that our government has done a very good job at protecting anything that says manufacturing in our industry - from steel to textiles, it goes on and on with any industry that we invented and then squandered. Government simply has no business in business.”