QOTD: Ford's Pretty Much Ditching Cars, So What Should GM's Plan Be?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd ford s pretty much ditching cars so what should gm s plan be

Shock, horror, outrage, grudging acceptance, agreement. This pretty much covers the reaction to the announcement buried within Ford Motor Company’s first-quarter earnings report.

The automaker that brought us the Thunderbird, Fairlane, Crown Victoria, LTD, Galaxy, Torino, Pinto, Fairmont, Tempo, Taurus, Fusion, Fiesta, Festiva (sorry), LTD II, Contour, EXP, Custom, Five Hundred, and other car models will relegate its passenger car lineup to just the Mustang and a lightly lifted Focus hatch, now classified as a crossover.

Almost anything can be a crossover these days.

Be it bold or short-sighted, Ford has at least made its vision of the near-term automotive future crystal clear. And buyers helped form that vision. Consumer preference led Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to make a similar decision two years ago, just without the same resulting ripples of outrage. No one wanted a Dodge Dart or Chrysler 200, so it left the compact and midsize sandbox in the hands of other automakers. Traditionalists still have their Dodge Charger and Challenger and Chrysler 300, and police fleets can turn to the Charger if the Ford Police Interceptor Utility isn’t to their liking. Urban types have the Fiat brand while it’s still around.

That covers two-thirds of the Detroit Three. But what about General Motors?

Just in the last month, we’ve heard GM Korea say it’s thinking of scrapping the Chevrolet Spark in favor of a better-selling crossover, targeting the entry level space below the Chevrolet Trax. The subcompact Sonic appears doomed, as does the long-running Impala — a full-sizer nervously plodding along in a market that isn’t too kind to tradition.

That leaves the midsize Malibu ( refreshed for 2019) and the compact Cruze ( also refreshed, but now built on a single shift at Lordstown). Like the Mustang, the Camaro (again, refreshed for 2019) remains ready to compete in the pony car space and sprinkle athleticism over the brand.

Put yourself in Mary Barra’s shoes. Minus the Camaro and Corvette, there’s five passenger cars in the Chevrolet lineup. Two more populate the Buick stable, while Cadillac currently fields four (the short-term strategy shows the brand moving to three). You’re being asked to position the automaker as a forward-thinking company with a finger on the market’s pulse.

So, what do you do with GM’s passenger car space? It’s in your hands now. Which models live, which ones die, and which vehicles would you turn into … something else?

[Image: General Motors]

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2 of 113 comments
  • Trend-Shifter Trend-Shifter on Apr 26, 2018

    My strategy for GM sedans would be to go back to the good ole days, really! Position Chevrolet as a well-built first tier vehicle. Only have the Cruze and the Malibu. Keep the designs to have family resemblance. The Cruze should be a Mini-me Malibu. Sedans should only be offered in FWD. Retain the front engine RWD Corvette and the RWD Camaro. ============== Buick sedans should be for the professional. These sedans should ALL be AWD and full size while heavily branded around AWD. The drivetrain will need some snappy AWD marketing name. ============= Cadillac sedans should all be built on the existing RWD platforms with AWD only as an option. Discontinue the XTS as not to compete with Buick. Kill the ATS 4 -door but keep the ATS Coupe. Continue to build the ATS coupe along-side the Camero. ONLY offer the ATS Coupe with a V8. No other engine! This will be the halo performance car to keep the magazines buzzing. Keep the CTS as the lower end luxury car to replace the ATS 4-door. Offer only a 4 or 6 cylinder for the CTS and LOWER the price. Keep the CT6 as the luxury high end halo car. It should only have a V8. Cadillac should get the mid-engine Corvette, renamed of course. Move the New York office back to Detroit and hire me!

  • E30gator E30gator on Apr 27, 2018

    I see many comments on here lashing out at domestic CEOs for killing cars. Cars are not selling. CUVs and trucks are. Thing is, just as GM can take a car platform and turn it into a successful CUV, couldn't they just as easily (and with the same minimal development costs) take a platform meant for a random CUV and build cars on it, should they return to popularity with consumers? That to me is the beauty of building versatile platforms that can be interchangeable between sedans/CUVs.

  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?
  • El scotto My iPhone gets too hot while using the wireless charging in my BMW. One more line on why someone is a dumbazz list?
  • Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.
  • Dusterdude The Detroit 2.5 did a big disservice by paying their CEO’s so generously ( overpaying them ) It is a valid talking point for for the union ) However , the bottom line - The percentage of workers in the private sector who have a defined benefit pension plan is almost non existent - and the reason being is it’s unaffordable ! . This is a a huge sticking point as to have lower tier workers join would be prohibitive ( aside from other high price demands being requested - ie >30% wage gain request ) . Do the math - can a company afford to pay employees for 35 years , followed by funding a pension for a further 30 years ?