Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for Irvine, Calif.-based Kelley Blue Book, said Pontiac's return to its performance roots is a positive step, but years of lukewarm vehicles have made the brand irrelevant to many consumers.
"They're on the brink of either great success or marginalization," Nerad said.
Hopson said when he joined Pontiac six years ago, many customers were angry at the brand for abandoning its performance heritage, which dates to the John DeLorean-designed 1964 Pontiac GTO muscle car. Hopson said he considered it positive that people were upset, and not just apathetic, about Pontiac.
"Pontiac has always been about style and performance. There have certainly been times that we've fulfilled that mission better than others," he said. "We're again getting the vehicles that fulfill that mission very clearly."
The New York show opens to the public Friday after two days of media previews.