Earlier this week, General Motors (GM) announced that it will be closing three plants and axing more than 14,000 jobs as the company shifts its focus away from passenger cars, or sedans, to match consumer demand for trucks, SUVs, and electric vehicles.
In addition to the affected workers and communities, the casualties of these cuts will include six prominent vehicle models:
- The Chevrolet Cruze will end production next March after seeing annual sales fall by more than 26% in 2018.
- In a somewhat surprising move, the Chevrolet Volt will also end production in March 2019. The extended-range electric vehicle was a flagship for GM’s early electric vehicle (EV) efforts when it debuted in 2011. However, with annual sales down 13.7%, its legacy wasn’t enough to spare it from the chopping block.
- Facing a sales drop of 14.2%, the Buick LaCrosse became the third vehicle class ceasing production in March 2019.
- A vehicle that I personally will miss is the Chevy Impala. A sales drop of 13.4% wasn’t enough to save a vehicle that was regularly featured on Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for handling and performance. The last Impala will roll off production lines in June 2019.
- The Cadillac CT6 will also see its final days on the production line next June, due to a 10.6% drop in sales. The CT6 was another vehicle that garnered rave critical reviews for its luxury and performance.
- Finally, the Cadillac XTS will cease production at the end of 2019. Even though sales are up nearly 16% this year, the low volume of vehicles sold through September made this vehicle an easy cut.
The demise of these four-door passenger cars stems in large part from increased truck and SUV sales.
As gas prices continue to creep upward, it will be interesting to see if vehicle makers like GM, and Ford, which made similar line-up adjustments earlier this year, hold to their plans of moving on from sedans that offer better miles-per-gallon ratings and lower maintenance costs than their larger, heavier counterparts.
According to GM, this round of cuts will save the company $6 billion.