By on October 21, 2015

2014_Chevrolet-Impala-LTZ-tug-boat

General Motors is getting pickier about where it does business and the products it sells. Could that also translate to where it will build its products in the future?

In a recent piece from Automotive News’ Mike Colias, the trade publication paints a bleak picture for one of General Motors’ longest running nameplates. The subject was Impala and the question was whether the car named after an African antelope, while well received by the automotive press, could survive the guillotine in a market that increasingly prefers crossovers and SUVs over sedans.

“We have a broad portfolio. But how are we going to look at what are the right vehicles to put in the marketplace? We’ll look at what makes sense and what will generate a return,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra told Automotive News earlier this month.

Naturally, Colias brought up Impala, and the reply stopped short of commitment to the car and the segment.

“That’s a hard one because the Impala is such a great vehicle,” Barra said. “But we can’t look at where the market’s been. We’ve got to look at where the market’s going.”

Impala returned to the market in 2000 and has been built in Oshawa ever since. However, the end of Impala, should General Motors see it unfit to continue, could be another nail in the coffin for the one plant that seems to be constantly losing products.

Camaro production in Oshawa is scheduled to end this November, while next-generation Buick Regal production is rumored to move solely to Russelsheim, Germany in 2017. Cadillac currently produces the XTS in Oshawa, but that model will be discontinued at the end of its lifecycle in 2019.

Should Impala be discontinued, that leaves only Chevrolet Equinox and Impala Limited — based on the previous-generation Impala — on the Consolidated Line, and no products at all on the newer line.

In August of this year, GM Canada announced it would make a small investment in Oshawa Assembly’s Consolidated Line thanks to increased demand of the Chevrolet Equinox. The majority of the $12 million CAD investment went to CAMI, not Oshawa, though the detailed amount was not disclosed.

It was the fifth time the Consolidated Line’s death had been postponed in the last ten years, GM Canada’s VP of Corporate and Environmental Affairs David Paterson told TTAC in August. The Consolidated Line was most recently scheduled to shut down in 2016.

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24 Comments on “As GM Gets Picky About Products, Could Factories Be Next?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Impala returned to the market in 2000 and has been built in Oshawa ever since. However, the end of Impala, should General Motors see it unfit to continue, could be another nail in the coffin for the one plant that seems to be constantly losing products.

    Camaro production in Oshawa is scheduled to end this November, while next-generation Buick Regal production is rumored to move solely to Russelsheim, Germany in 2017. Cadillac currently produces the XTS in Oshawa, but that model will be discontinued at the end of its lifecycle in 2019.”

    Rubbish. Firstly, the Regal is a sales failure and moving it to a more expensive plant is simply soaking up excess Opel capacity. Dropping it altogether would have been wiser. Secondly there are THREE Ep II sedan models, Impala, LaCrosse, and XTS. No matter what JdN says or does, XTS is one of the few models with some decent sales for Cadillac and since all three are the same damn thing if it sells for one brand it makes sense to keep selling it for all brands to reduce overall platform production/mfg costs. The only way I could see around this is if some newer model takes their place which doesn’t seem likely.

    If Oshawa goes out, it goes out, but you will see Epsilon II go somewhere else beforehand.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If they build another XTS, although it appears they are not, it would be built in Hamtramck with the Impala, or Fairfax, KS, with the LaCrosse. I guess they could also build it in Shanghai with the Roewe 950.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Every single Cadillac sedan or limo I saw in Vegas as an XTS or Escalade. I didn’t even see a DTS iteration which I do see in these parts. JdN aside, it will continue if the sales are there. Ditto on Lacrosse and Impala.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Because volumes are falling, they don’t need Oshawa. Hamtramck is flexible enough to build a FWD large sedan, plug in hybrid, and large RWD sedan, and FWD midsized sedan.

          They do have the livery market locked up with the Escalade and XTS. Lincoln doesn’t put up much of a fight there anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No disagreement on assembly location, my argument is the models will continue regardless of Oshawa.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I really wonder if they will continue to make the XTS. It sells the same as the other Cadillac sedans that are newer and advertised more.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Seems like a no brainer, I do wonder why JdN was so “oh we’re dumping this pig” a few months ago, it seemed odd. Wait till the end until you decide to axe a model, don’t say “in 2019” because now he looks stupid when they won’t 86 it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well, it makes up 1/3 of their sedan volume, shares the most parts with other cars, and allows the CTS to stay upmarket (and have average transaction prices in the mid-50s). If it continues to move 25K-30K units a year, with decent transaction prices, JdN will have a hard time killing it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The Alpha CTS has an ATP of 50K? Seriously? Its an ATS which they can’t move new in the low 20s.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            $55K or so. I do not know if that ATP is before any rebates and discounts. Since it’s all lease business, discounts are rolled into the financing and inflated residual.

            http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-05-19/cadillac-finally-makes-german-luxury-prices-stick

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Just replace the current Malibu and Impala with one sedan. The “mid-size” Camcords are basically large sedans at this point, and growing with every redesign.

    Unless there is demand from China to warrant the investment, GM should walk away from the large sedan market and invest elsewhere.

    Once Gm discontinues the Impala Limited (or separates it in sales figures), I think we will get a better sense of retail demand for the Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I think they just need to put the Buick badge on the Impala. It’s a generation ahead of the current Lacrosse. Ford is still going to have a LWB CD4 vehicle as a Lincoln. GM would be wise to do something similar with Epsilon.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    I don’t know that everybody loves the giant people-movers, nor does everybody love a rolling tank that is the modern two-ton CUV.

    Admittedly it is my sample size of N=1, but talking to the person in my office who’s changing vehicles next, her Lambda platform vehicle is walking the plank, and I just kept hearing from her: “I keep talking to my husband that the kids are old enough now that one can ride in the front, and they’ll start driving soon – can’t we just get a regular old car?”

    The Impala is the ugly sister – everybody loves the look of the LaCrosse. The XTS has some appeal. The new duck-tailed Impala, although a better car than the W-body, is not on anybody’s radar.

    Edit: My Prescription: They should kill the Regal, kill the Impala, and give the Malibu six inches of more space, then say – you like a nice, affordable family car – get a Malibu. You like a more executive sedan – get a LaCrosse. They don’t want cross-shopping with Cadillac, anyway, and that’s fine with me – I don’t even think of the Cadillac brand, anyway. Chevrolet is to Ford as Buick is to Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “and give the Malibu six inches of more space, then say – you like a nice, affordable family car – get a Malibu.”

      That’s an idea that GM should take seriously – “empty nesters” are more likely to choose the new Malibu over the Impala anyway.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Does the Impala or some platform clone sell at all well in China?

  • avatar
    strafer

    Chevy is using Kia’s Tiger nose grill now?

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Having owned many GM cars…and always expecting that the next one would be a good reliable car, I will never purchase another. However, that Impala appeared to be a step in the right direction.

    Oh well, no diff to me. Rest (not) in peace, Government Motors.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    …and here I was thinking you were talking about factories in politically sensitive areas, like Uzbekistan:

    http://www.uzdaewoo.ru

    Yes, they still make the Opel Kadett (also Pontiac LeMans in colourful GM-speak).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Kill the Impala? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    If Chevy would have given the car three tail lights on each side, everyone would buy one! While the new one is a big step in the right direction, it’s too late for me, because when it comes time to replace my 2012 Impala, it’ll be something smaller, like a Malibu or something similar if not smaller. Most likely used as well.

    Hmmm… I wonder if I can get a new Impala Limited LTZ? Just musing.

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