By on December 1, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Impala, Image: General Motors

General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant isn’t the only facility hit hard by the public’s growing distaste for traditional highway cruisers. Falling full-size sedan sales turned out the lights at that plant last month, and GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant will follow suit in January, returning with a missing shift once production resumes.

Like Hamtramck, the Oshawa plant builds the Chevrolet Impala sedan, and is the sole domestic builder of the Cadillac XTS. As the only remaining front-wheel-drive passenger car in the brand’s lineup, the XTS — saved from execution and refreshed for 2018 — didn’t stage a repeat performance of its October sales climb in November.

According to The Globe and Mail, the Oshawa plant’s passenger car production will cease for the first three weeks of January. Following that, the current two shifts transition to a single shift through the end of March. In order to avoid layoffs, workers on the plant’s Flex Line will rotate their weeks of work, though what lies in store for next spring and summer remains a mystery.

Oshawa, which handled six models just a few years ago, was feared to be in danger of closing until it reached a deal last year to perform final assembly of full-size pickups. The CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario used to send overflow Chevrolet Equinox production to Oshawa, but that practice dried up last summer.

Cadillac XTS sales fell 27 percent in the U.S. in November, year-over-year, with sales over the first 11 months of 2017 down 21 percent. In October, the model posted a surprising 49.5-percent year-over-year sales increase.

Impala sales, while heading in the right direction in some respects, aren’t doing great when you consider the bigger picture. Despite a 13-percent reduction in GM fleet sales last month (and a 24-percent decrease in vehicles  sent to rental agencies), Impala sales rose 54.1 percent, year-over-year, in November. The nameplate rose 24 percent in October, though Impala sales tend to vary wildly month to month. Overall, this year has seen Impala sales slip 21.5 percent.

[Image: General Motors]

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17 Comments on “More Passenger Car Blues as GM Throttles Back in Canada...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Seems like this article needs a line reminding us of the current number of days supply of these vehicles.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I’ve had two of the new Impalas. The first one was an LTZ with the 196-hp 2.5-liter I-4 that looked almost exactly like the photo accompanying this article (just picture it with the alloy rims). The second was a 2LT with the 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6. While faster in a straight line, I felt that they V6’s nose was way heavier and I actually preferred the I4 (blasphemy!). Anyway, I wish I still had the first Impala in my driveway. I really enjoyed that car, and for my commute it was excellent. One thing I loved is that the Nav system would show a 3-D view of my entire commute (adjustable/variable distance out), with color overlays showing traffic congestion, like Google Maps. I would recommend that car to anyone. Too bad that no one cares – they all want crappy, thirsty, tin-can CUVs (I’m looking at you, CR-V), or if they have the money, a Lexus RX.

    • 0 avatar
      Oldschool

      I own a 17 Impala LT 3.6 V6 and love it to death. I test drove a lot of midsize cars before buying the impala and IMO the Impala is extremely underrated and overlooked by the masses. The impala does everything better than the majority of all the midsize cars in the market. The interior is unique although the dash is inconsistent but that’s what makes it stand out inside. The quality of materials are nice, not too many cheaply made or flimsy parts like you feel in other cars. The car feels extremely well insulated and solid. Road and wind noise is barely heard and the riding comfort is great. I don’t get fatigue from driving the impala like I did driving my 16 Altima. The heavier weight and suspension tuning of the car really makes for a nice calming ride compared to other makes and models. Plus then interior massive as is the trunk space.

      I compare this car to the Camry and Accord because the price for a V6 Camry is almost the same for the Impala yet you get way more for your money in an Impala.

      I guess the negative stereotype of owning American cars is still in many people’s minds. Looks are subjective but I think the Impala is one of the better styled sedans out there. There’s no crazy angles that go all over the place, and it has a grill that isn’t offending or weird. It’s aggressive yet stately in its proportions and the design comes together well.

      My Impala has been trouble free as well. I drive for Uber part time and have already racked up 40,000 miles on the car. I always get compliments on the car for how nice it is and how my riders “Can’t believe its Chevy!”

      It’s just sad to see that sales of the impala keeps falling. Chevy really treated this car as afterthought in its marketing efforts. I don’t know why the brand has never bothered to try to make the car more appealing to the masses knowing how great this car is. The total lack of imagination on Chevys part.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      My mother’s CR-V gets 28 MPG in normal driving and once hit 39 on a long roadtrip with a brisk tailwind. If that’s “thirsty,” an Impala would be thirsty too. “Tin-can,” sure. “Crappy,” not really. It’s better than the Sportage she had before.

      And we can all get in the front and back without having to contort our bodies to avoid bonking our heads on anything. I tried that on my grandma’s Impala and failed.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The lead photo of this article, of the red Impala, has alloy wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      You just shot yourself in the foot, the CR-V is anything but a “crappy, thirsty, tin-can CUV”.

      The CR-V is easily best in class. Easily.
      http://www.motortrend.com/news/honda-cr-v-2018-suv-of-the-year/

      Nissan makes craptastic CUV’s.

      This Impala was a flop from day one and it is long past its shelf life.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Haven’t driven the current gen Impala but have driven the 2017 LaCrosse and we were extremely impressed. Tremendous car. As noted above, people just don’t want sedans and it’s a shame. These are competitive and nice vehicles.

  • avatar
    Heino

    Always wanted one as a tribute to my dad who simply couldn’t afford it with 5 kids. He had to settle for the Chevy Chevelle 3 on the tree, which I learned to drive on simply sitting next to my dad on the bench seat. He was amused when I would back the car out of the garage and park it in the street. I was 12.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I’ll say this for the Impala, its the best looking Chevy sedan, bar none. I don’t know how they got it so right, and the Malibu so wrong. The Malibu and Cruze look like they were left parked too close to a Nuclear reactor.

    If they were baby humans, all you could say when viewing them for the first time would be “awwww”. Maybe “breathtaking” if this were a Seinfeld episode.

  • avatar
    V16

    The Impala has presence.
    A trait missing from most of GM’s lineup.

  • avatar
    mikey

    The article in the Globe failed to mention was that the “Flex”line.. (Impala /XTS) has Saturdays scheduled right up to Christmas ?

    The down time, and shift lay offs begin in January..Go figure ???

  • avatar
    AlexMcD

    There are too many similarities to what I see wrong in Chrysler products. All the money is on the surface. Owning them is too often a shit show. How many relatively new cars (my relatively new scale is less than 10 years)have huge expensive repairs required while still making the payments?

    I won’t be buying a GM anytime soon even if I could stand not being able to look out the rear and see cars or kids less than 5 feet tall. I drove a 2016 Impala rental car and didn’t see the new Corvette right behind me at a stop sign.

  • avatar
    WalterRohrl

    I am curious if the sales of the Impala (and really, all of the sedan lines out there that are experiencing a sales freefall) would be improved if a wagon variant was added.

    Think about it – it’d be extremely easy and fast to add to the same production line, the cost to the consumer would be minimally extra, the utility would be greatly enhanced over the sedan body style, and the fuel economy would be largely unchanged. The only thing that wouldn’t occur would be the increased ride height of a CUV/SUV and perhaps the increased profitability to the manufacturer of steering a buyer into an existing CUV lineup instead, BUT the production line would see higher utilization/throughput.

    The only large-ish wagons out there currently are by Volvo and Mercedes (or am I forgetting one?). There could well be a market for an Impala or LaCrosse Wagon, and likely for a Sonata, Altima, and Mazda6 as well as perhaps Passat.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Rented a black Impala LT v6 recently, and was duly impressed. Some misaligned dash trim was a little underwhelming but it drove well and had a huge interior.

    I was helping my BIL do some work on his ’16 Impala yesterday and was amazed at the cheap lug wrench and jack that car comes with…stamped steel lug wrench instead of the cast alloy item in my Hondas and shiny black steel wrench in the Kia. It’s little bits of cheapness that turn me off with GM. Does it really matter, probably not, but it just felt cheesy. The inch of water in the spare tire well of a 2 year old car was a little odd too…


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