GM to Make 'Significantly Lower Investments' in Sedans in North America
There will be fewer GM sedans, but they won't disappear...yet.
Ford’s recently confirmed decision to phase out almost its entire car lineup in the U.S., except for the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active, to put most of its efforts into SUVs and trucks, has raised questions about the other two of the Detroit Three automakers. Fiat Chrysler has already made a pretty big commitment to trucks and SUVs in its decision to phase out the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart and invest more heavily in Jeep and Ram, but what about the biggest of the three, General Motors?
According to Reuters, GM CFO Chuck Stevens said the conglomerate has “already indicated that we will make significantly lower investments” in sedans in North America in a conference call with investors. He went on to say that GM executives “look at these car lines on a weekly basis, at how to drive performance (and) cost efficiencies.”
So every week GM execs get together to decide if they want to kill the Volt and the Impala. Those are just two models that have already been rumored to be axed, the others being the Chevy Sonic (which is reportedly already on death row), Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, and Cadillac XTS.
But GM making “significantly lower investments” in sedans for the U.S. doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dead. For example, Chevy just gave a moderate facelift to the Spark, Cruze, and Malibu which means those cars are likely safe, at least for a few years. It’s easy to forget about the Chevy Spark, but it holds a fairly significant market share in the city car segment and with the Focus and Fusion soon to be out of the way, that just means more market share by default for the Cruze and Malibu.
Think about it. A few years from now, if you want a compact or midsize car from a non-luxury American brand, Chevy will be your only option. The smallest Dodge car you can get is the Charger and Ford is exiting the game almost entirely. That means a good chunk of market share in those segments, although they’re declining, is Chevy’s for the taking.
As for Buick, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it turn completely into a crossover brand. That’s what its clientele wants and Buick is doing a pretty good job catering to that market. If the Impala is eliminated, there would be no reason to continue making the LaCrosse with which it shares a platform. There’s also the issue of the Buick Regal being based on the Opel Insignia and GM no longer owning Opel. That’s probably another one that will be killed off after its current life cycle is up.
As for the future of Cadillac sedans, GM’s luxury brand still has some serious catching up to do in terms of crossovers. Last we heard, the XTS was going to die out at the end of its current life cycle with no replacement, the CTS and ATS are going to be replaced with one sedan called the CT5, and another, smaller sedan would be added to the lineup to compete with the likes of the Audi A3 and BMW 2-Series. However, that plan was under recently ousted CEO Johan de Nysschen so the whole thing could be scrapped for all we know.
So, don’t expect GM to give up on sedans and small cars quite yet, especially now that all of this juicy market share is up for grabs thanks to Ford.