By on October 13, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Impala LTZ Detroit - Image: GM

It’s going to be a black Christmas at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant this year. Amid rising inventory levels for the Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Volt, General Motors plans to shut off the lights for the rest of the year.

Blame the American consumer’s rapidly changing automotive tastes.

According to The Detroit Free Press, the shutdown impacts 1,800 workers once production begins winding down on October 20th. GM anticipates a full production stop on November 13th. Of those workers, up to 200 might not return after production restarts following the Christmas break.

In a statement, GM said the shutdown is required to “help maintain more stable production” in a time of “declining overall industry volumes.”

A quick check of the Automotive News Data Center shows ballooning supply of all four vehicles produced at the Hamtramck facility. While LaCrosse supply, measured at 284 days’ worth on October 1st, is little changed from a month earlier, it’s leaps and bounds above the healthy industry norm of 60-70 days. CT6 inventories stand at 106 days’ worth, while Impala supply has grown from 45 to 67 days’ worth. The Volt, which now finds itself outsold by its all-electric Bolt sibling, showed a 107-day supply as of October 1st, up 10 days’ worth from September.

Awash with large sedans at a time when consumers can’t get enough crossovers and SUVs, Hamtramck’s plight mirrors that of other traditional car-producing plants. Models like the LaCrosse and Impala are no longer the sales juggernaut they were just a decade ago.

In 2007, Chevrolet’s Impala pulled in over 300,000 U.S. buyers, but year-to-date sales are already well below 2016’s tally — a year sales dropped below the six-figure mark for the first time. LaCrosse sales dropped 42 percent in September, year-over-year. (That September 2016 sales figure represented a 51-percent drop from 2015.) Cadillac’s CT6, which went on sale in March of last year, saw sales drop 29 percent in September, year-over-year.

As for the technologically innovative Volt, the second-generation model saw sales fall 28 percent in September, year-over-year. Despite last year being the Volt’s best sales year since its introduction, 2017’s monthly sales have fallen below 2016 figures since April.

Of course, Detroit-Hamtramck is no stranger to layoffs, be it temporary or permanent. GM idled the plant for three weeks in January, with a second shift cut in March.

[Image: General Motors]

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38 Comments on “Hamtramck Going Dark as GM Large Sedan Inventories Balloon...”


  • avatar

    I’ve seen exactly ONE CT-6 here in the overpriced burbs around NYC. I see more Tesla…heck, I’ve seen more McLaren in the wild.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      I’ve seen 1 CT6 around here in North Atlanta. Looks nice, but not *special* like you’d expect a high-end Caddy to.

      But I’m rooting for resale on these things to crater so I can pick up a used CT6 or Conti for a song in a few years.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. More show car DNA and less of the mosh that is the current CTS.

        I think about a CTS VSport, but even with 420 HP and full magna ride shocks, you still look like an escapee from a Funeral Line. This also is good…major speed in something NO ONE will suspect. Having said that, I’ve heard about, but never actually seen, an XTS-V, which I guess was made for Secret Service.

        The current caddy line, except for the escalade and the V cars, looks like someone took a good design then blunted every single part of that design. They should have evolved the second gen look, not tossed the second generation into a blender with a mid 90’s Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I just saw CT6 today… on a Virginia “For Hire” license plate worn by a Lexus LS460.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Very interesting that the Bolt and Volt are not manufactured in the same facility.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    tastes are changing and GM is flat-footed. The non-Escalade, medium-large CUV can’t arrive soon enough. (XT7)

    not going to take a bet on whether it’ll help though. Cadillac NYC seems intent on doing everything opposite of what the general consensus of the TTAC comments want.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    In my area Impalas are thin on the ground. Advertised lease deals are very unimpressive. Compared to Silverados which can be leased for peanuts. Crazy!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Is that it? GM wants too much for them and won’t offer deals? They used to have a sales trick for that, one that kept the “units” moving off the lot and kept the plants running. GM still somehow made money.

  • avatar
    volvo

    “Blame the American consumer’s rapidly changing automotive tastes.”

    Does that mean that there will soon be a similar production stop at

    Toyota’s Georgetown KY Camry/Avalon plant

    Honda’s Marysville OH Accord/Acura plant

    Nissan’s Smyrna TN Altima plant

    While not arguing with the data showing slowing sales of Full/mid sized cars. I think slowing sales of these GM products is more based on the product itself and the public’s perception of GM quality.

    It also might be that GM does not have the flexibility to ramp production up and down as smoothly as the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      No perception problem except some sedan trmming.

      From GM media:

      U.S. inventory levels are down about 160,000 vehicles in the third quarter.The company’s inventory target is unchanged, which is to end the year with stocks at or below last year’s level of about 850,000 vehicles, with fewer cars and more trucks, crossovers and utilities in the mix.According to JD Power PIN estimates, GM’s September incentive spending as a percent of ATP was 14.6 percent, which reflects special programs that support disaster relief. Year to date, GM’s incentive spend is below its domestic and many Asian competitors. Year to date, GM has the lowest daily rental mix of any full-line automaker at 8.7 percent of total sales. GM remains committed to decrease daily rental sales by 50,000 units in 2017.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Norm, you’ve been commenting more often than normal. You must be affected by the slowdown in GM sales. Get back to cherry picking Motor Trend figures for the next article that doesn’t favor a GM product.

    • 0 avatar

      He was talking about “full size” cars. Camry/Accord/Altima has nothing to do with that. Instead you should mention Avalon/RL/Maxima/Lexus LS – not hot sellers either.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    *cough* retool it for the Equinox *cough*

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Blame the American consumer’s rapidly changing automotive tastes.”

    No, I blame GM’s inability to tailor production to sales. It’s a constant theme with them.

    “volvo” is right ^^; you won’t be seeing shutdowns at the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I’m sure GM would like to be pumping out Equinoxes right now, but GM’s reward for producing vehicles that people like is the same now as it was when they introduced an attractive Malibu a year before they had to declare bankruptcy.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    SUVs, trucks, muscle cars and Vettes. In every other category, Big 3 products are below average when comparing.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      In other words, the D3 is terrible at making boring mundane blah mobiles for the appliance crowd. That’s actually a GOOD thing. What’s completely messed up is that they’re forced to build economical garbage that loses good money after bad in order to satisfy a bunch of idiotic regulations.

  • avatar
    ajla

    English alphabet >>>> Greek alphabet

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Shame. The 2017 LaCrosse Premium we had as a rental was a very nice car. Not flawless, but a darn nice car. The GM stop/start and AFM system on the 3.6L V6 was practically invisible. I remain impressed to have 310 HP under my right foot and average 30.2 MPG over 1517 miles of driving.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      The Impala is also assembled in Oshawa Flex. They were running them with the Caddy ATX,and the Regal?

      I have not heard on any “down weeks” . I do see it coming.

      Having previously owned an under powered 2014, I entertained the thought of a 2017 LTZ V6 .. My employee price with very few discounts worked out to over $50 K CAN , out the door.

      Too much money for my tastes ? I can see why they are not selling..

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      My buddy just traded a 15 Acadia Denali in for a 17 loaded LaCrosse…My buddy isn’t crazy about the Buick..His live in girl friend loves it ?

      A happy wife is a happy life.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Just playing around with TrueCar to check prices – the discounts are considerably larger on an Avalon than on a Lacrosse. Why would you buy the inferior product that’ll hold less value over time?

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Please GM, apply a little bit of engineering to create a RHD version of the Impala and send it to us. It would make a suitable replacement for our lamented Commodore. ( Might need a little suspension strengthening too)

  • avatar

    only at GM can an incompetent Steve Hill remain. it pays to have Gerosa as your mentor.

    the trouble at General Motors is, and has been the marketing. hence, the results never change, just the excuses.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It might be too much to ask to market cars when the top brass won’t budge on margins. Cadillac wants Audi margins, but can’t sell at the prices needed. The same must be true for Buick and Chevrolet. If Mikey’s employee discount on an Impala costs $50,000 Canadian, that’s $40,000 US. Without the discount, it’s a no-brainer why full sized Impalas aren’t selling.

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    I recently purchased a USED 2017 Chevy Impala LT mid-trim level model V6 for a great deal, with 28,000 miles for $19,000. That is a ton of miles for a year old car, but it is in great shape. The car invoiced for $33,000 brand new for the LT trim, which is still not bad for all the car you are getting.

    The values on these cars drop like a dime and you can get them for such good deals, including the La Crosse because nobody wants them and I honestly don’t know why since they are wonderful cars that are well put together with no problems or any recalls, they have loads of power, and are comfortable n quiet to boot.

    The Premium models used are the one to get if you have the money, but the LT V6 trim is a perfect balance without all the added safety features that could go wrong or fail in the future.

    All I can say is that I love it, and really don’t get the whole GM is still making junk and has poor quality because I don’t see it in this car.

    Sure they’re some small things that seem a bit cheap, like the volume control knob and certain trim pieces, but did you know that the armrest hinges are metal and not plastic? It feels heavy and sturdy, while 99% of every other car uses plastic and they all feel extremely flimsy and crappy.

    The car feels solid, the doors close with a nice “Thunk” sound, it has no rattles, BUT, this is one area I would really like to know why in the hell does GM still use door locks that stick up from the door panel like the old schoolers from the past?

    The problem with these locks is that they are all are loose in the socket, so when driving over some really rough streets, they tend to rattle!

    It’s unacceptable for this to happen and could have easily been avoided if they simply didn’t even have door locks like ones designed from the 70’s-80’s in a brand new Impala. Now that is cheap and just plain stupid. Someone at the factory should have caught that and said something. I fixed the issue by wrapping small amount of felt tape around and inside the door lock retainer and now they don’t rattle anymore.

    But for the little things GM seem to look over, the rest of the car is flawless, including the fit and finish and quality of materials for a car in thise price range and it being a Chevy.

    Plus the car feels borderline luxurious and gives off this upscale image, not like the bland and boring previous gen Impalas.

    GM truly did a great job with the Epsilon II platform, and I honestly feel that the Impala and La Crosse are very underrated vehicles in GM’s lineup that are great performers. Everyone that rides in my car, from friends to family, all compliment it, and say “Wow I can’t believe this is an Impala, it’s so nice!”

    I wonder why? Who’s to blame here? I totally agree that GM’s marketing division is horrific!! WTH do these guys do all day long? Why isn’t the Impala front and center, and advertised on TV ever? What about the XTS?

    No wonder sales of these cars are in the dumpster because GM hasn’t been marketing these cars to customers, letting them know how great they are and why they should buy them. It’s just common sense, and GM sometimes seems so airheaded and retarded that they shouldn’t be shocked when the sales results are poor from these models since they never bothered to show them off.

    GM comes off as being desperate, none of their AD’s for Chevy are emotionally engaging or do anything that makes you want to go out and buy a Malibu, a Cruze or even an Impala. This terrible marketing is probably one of the bigger reasons why the company is suffering major losses in the midsize car segment.

    It isn’t their quality as their new cars are really really nice and competitive with the best of them.

    Also the notion that GM vehicles continue to be unreliable is another great point in why their sedans sales are low. People default to Honda and Toyo for right reasons, and this will never change, even though they aren’t that much better than the competition anymore, in many cases the competition has surpassed them.

    Big cars like the Impala drive extremely nice for almost the same amount of money for a typical Camry and Accord, riding in a new Honda Accord, and back in my Impala was like a night and day difference, the Impala feels very spacious, has tons of legroom, a smoother quieter ride, with a more solid feeling compared to the Accord, sure the Accord has slightly better tech, but on an overall scale, the Impala destroys the Accord.

    Another reason why I love American sedans is because of their smoother ride quality, less interior noise, and generally heavier curb weight makes the car feel much more substantial vs a Japanese or even Korean cars like a Hyundai Sonata which feels like a toy in comparison.

    The value you get from an Impala is tremendous, it’s one of the largest large cars out there, is around the same price for a typical V6 equipped midsize sedan, but yet you will get more room inside, a huge trunk, a powerful 3.6 V6 engine, a body style that is attractive, upscale, and bold, and is a great car to drive.

    I guess the large car segment is dying, and it is sad. The Impala actually isn’t that much bigger than most midsizers, yet behind the wheel, it feels and drives small. I think if more potential buyers test drove Impalas, they would want one over say a Fusion or a Camry. But GM really does need to refresh the Impala in order to stay competitive in the market as the model design is already 4 years old, Honda, Toyo, Hyundai all have completely redone their model lineup and they look far more modern and new while the Impala’s interiors are starting to look a little dated, including the exterior design, although the car is still great in its own right, it’s just in the day where everybody wants the latest and greatest thing, GM needs to update the Impala.

    Let’s just hope the model isn’t discontinued, since sales are way done, and hardly anybody is buying them.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      I just turned in an Impala LT, it’s feels much tighter in the cabin than our 2012 Accord. The high dash and sweeping large console don’t help. It’s a comfortable car and gets up to the 80mph speed limits with ease. Hate the high trunk though.

      Sounds like you bought a rental, with the miles.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Your Impala was a huge flop and most people agree the Accord is the better car. And that stands to reason, the Accord’s engineering is superior because it’s important to Honda, while the Impala has been dead to GM for years.

      But keep telling yourself the Impala better. The ungainly Impala destroyed nothing but itself.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Man, I wish I were in the market for a new Impala. LT2, in dark red, please.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    So, gonna paint with a broad brush here. GM has issues selling their big sedans. But so does everyone else. Why? Bear with me here: Boring cars have been the morm. We’ll focus on GM. The Impala got boring and bland (inside and out, in all ways) until its refresh. Cadillac forgot how to make Caddillacs, instead opting to chase the Germans. Little did they know that simply improving quality and performance while still respecting their heritage and not using alpha-numeric gibberish would have done wonders. Do you think “Cadillac” when you think “CTS” or “CT6”? Buick? Used to be great. Let’s kill everything that people liked about the brand, including models, and appeal neither to old or young buyers. None of these are bad cars. But you wouldn’t know that based off of the recent past. Even I, as a GM fan, see Ford and even Toyota as enticing lately.

    They shot themselves in the foot. People made other choices when sedans got bland. They improved things, but now they don’t believe anyone is intetested in them because they created the disinterest. So now the marketing sucks. Can’t sell what you don’t talk about, right? I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about any of these sedans if I wasn’t into cars enough to seek the information myself. I can tell you ALL about the Equinox just from marketing.


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