GM Stops Chevy Traverse Production for Two Months. Or More.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

When GM released the Chevrolet Traverse, it ended speculation about the American automaker’s ability to stay on the “no badge engineering” band wagon. The CUV is a lightly-disguised fourth iteration of GM’s Lambda-platformed mini-behemoths, appearing after the GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Saturn Outlook. Equally important, the Traverse hailed from GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee, factory; ground zero in the epic failure known as Saturn brand. Or, more poignantly, the plant that’s located smack dab in the middle of Senator Bob Corker’s patch. You remember Corker: the politician who raked Chrysler, Ford and GM’s CEOs over the congressional coals when they appeared on Capitol Hill with their multi-billion dollar “bridge loan” begging bowls. All of which is a preamble to the fact that GM’s removing Chevy Traverse production from Spring Hill and sending it to Delta Township in Lansing, Michigan. Payback? Or a sign of a dead model walking? Yes and maybe, as the sales numbers reveal . . .

Automotive News [sub] reports July sales for the Traverse at a relatively healthy 6,690 units. That’s down slightly from June’s 7,045. And off May’s 8,204 pace. All told, since its October launch, Chevy’s sold 47,369 Lambdas. The Traverse inventories are high; not a good sign. July’s 82 days’ selling supply is a reduction from June’s 104-day stat, but it still represents a hell of a lot of units on the ground.

Taking Traverse production off-line will reduce those numbers. It will also delay the appearance of 2010 model year vehicles, which would steal sales from, and put downward price pressure upon, unloved ’09s.

But the best indication of GM’s faith in the model—or lack thereof—comes from spokesman Chris Lee. When Automotive News [sub] asked Lee how long it would take Traverse production to traverse the country, the flack was worryingly vague: “I can’t give you the exact time frame it’ll be down, but it’ll be a couple months if not longer.”

No rush, then.

Meanwhile, we know of at least one politician who’s not a happy camper today. It’ll be interesting to see Senator Corker’s reaction to the pull-out, and what he’ll do when New GM come a beggin’ for more bailout bucks. Or more federal subsidies to make the Chevy Volt look profitable. Or look for a little traction on its application for billions of dollars worth of Department of Energy re-tooling loans.

That sort of thing.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Dave Has to be Indy 500. Many more leaders and front passes than NASCAR, and Monaco is unwatchable with the inability to pass on that circuit.
  • Jeff How did the discussion get from an article about a 56 billion dollar pay package for Elon Musk to a proposal to charge a per mile tax on EVs in California or paying increase registration on vehicles to make up for lost gas tax revenue? I thought such a discussion would better fit Matt's Gas Wars series.
  • Master Baiter Both people who bought ID.4s will be interested in this post.
  • Urlik Not a single memorable thing happened in the big three races this weekend IMHO.