A total of six GM sedans are slated to get the axe.
The only thing predictable about the auto industry, as well as life itself, is the fact that it’s unpredictable. Last year the entire industry had a fantastic sales frenzy, setting 2016 as the benchmark sales year after automakers moved more cars in America than ever before. Flash forward 12 months and now there’s a report plastered on Reuters' website depicting a reality not seen since 2008. After overfeeding its sedan segment following post-recession recovery, GM has too many vehicles on its hands and may have to cut models.
A quick glance at the General’s lineup will reveal plenty of cars, trucks, and crossovers spread across its Chevy, Buick, and Cadillac brands (GMC makes only trucks and SUVs), but the crossover variety for each brand either matches or is outnumbered by the number of faltering coupe and sedan models GM has on sale. That’s something GM needs to change, and though the auto industry isn't as quick on its toes as would be ideal, GM will start the shift to even out that ratio by cutting up to six slow-selling sedans out of its lineup. These are the Chevy Volt, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Sonic, which together comprise only 6% of GM vehicle sales.
For newly introduced models like the CT6, this shows that things are bad enough that GM is outright backing out of what was an undoubtedly expensive car to build. However, when we say GM has too many cars on its hands, we mean literally. As it stands, there's an average supply of 105 days across the GM lineup, all sitting on dealer lots unsold. Considering that the industry standard is a 70 day supply, GM has needs to do something. This puts GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit in a particularly bad position since it builds four of the cars on that list, the LaCrosse, Impala, CT6, and Volt. The United Auto Workers union is obviously not too happy about the proposition, but GM is quelling their justifiable fears of the unemployment check by talking crossovers.
GM and its workers hope that the upcoming Cadillac XT4 and like models will keep factory lines humming because for now, the automaker would rather cut shifts in the short term than unload slow sellers to rental car fleets, and its workers will certainly suffer as a result. In a sick twisted way, GM’s troubles are stemming from the opposite problem it had in 2008. Prior to declaring bankruptcy during the recession, GM had an inventory chalked full of trucks and SUVs without many sedans. When savings were wiped away in the crash around the time gas prices rose, consumers flocked to smaller Japanese cars, prompting GM’s current small car craze. Oh how times have changed.