As GM Gets Picky About Products, Could Factories Be Next?
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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