By on November 27, 2018

Image: GM

We’d love to create our own reality, but it’s not achievable. Not while other people exist. I’d prefer a vehicular landscape populated with vinyl-topped sedans and formal personal luxury coupes and regular cab pickups, but alas, the personal buying choices of millions of consumers have stymied those childhood dreams.

With a few rare exceptions, coupes are now the domain of ballsy muscle cars, not front-drive compacts. Sedans were vanishing even before GM’s Monday decision to cull half-a-dozen four-door models. Fiat Chrysler said goodbye to the compact and midsize field a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, Ford has no plans to populate the roadways with anything other than the Mustang and a bevy of light trucks in the near future.

Sad times for lovers of the traditional car, for sure. Still, General Motors’ decision to shutter underperforming plants in pursuit of higher-margin light trucks (and whatever EV or AV action the future holds) shouldn’t come as a surprise. One look at historical sales figures shows the writing was on the wall for General Motors’ crop of soon-to-be-discontinued sedans.

In 2012, just six years ago, some 58 percent of GM sales in the U.S. involved some form of light truck. Over the first three quarters of 2018, that figure was 79.3 percent. That’s a sea change for an automaker already well-stocked with pickups and SUVs.

Through the end of September, Chevrolet Impala sales fell 13.4 percent, year to date. Compared to the model’s high water mark of 2007, however, the Impala’s Q3 figure is 82.4 percent lower than in the same period of that heady year. Chevy Cruze sales fell 25.6 percent, year to date, in 2018, but the loss grows to 56.8 percent if you contrast it with Q3 2014 figures. 2014 was the Cruze’s best sales year.

2016 Chevrolet Impala LTZ Detroit - Image: GM

As for the Volt, 2016 marked the model’s best sales year, but only by a hair compared to 2012. The American election and subsequent fears of a culled EV tax credit sparked a surge of sales that December, inflating the annual tally. Regardless, Volt sales are down 13.4 percent in 2018, and 18.9 percent from 2016.

You don’t have to guess how the Buick LaCrosse fared during this tumultuous decade. It’s well documented. In 2010, the first full year after the LaCrosse nameplate took over full-size duties from the defunct Lucerne (I still see more Lucernes on the road than LaCrosses), Americans lined up for traditional big-car living, then promptly disappeared. LaCrosse sales over the first three quarters of 2018 are 71.8 percent lower than the same period in 2012, and 14.2 percent lower than the same period last year.

Cadillac’s XTS front-drive full-sizer has already seen one production reprieve in its lifetime, and its execution notice was the only one that didn’t take anyone by surprise. Still, the XTS was a relatively consistent seller thanks to its popularity among livery companies. Sales of the Caddy sedan peaked in 2013, with volume falling 46.6 percent between Q3 2013 and Q3 2018.

As for the CT6 flagship sedan, the model never really took off after its release in 2016 — a fate it shared with Lincoln’s reborn Continental. If the first XT4s hadn’t shown up on the sales ledger in Q3 2018, the CT6 would be the lowest volume vehicle in the Cadillac stable, and even then, sales are down 10.6 percent from a year ago.

Americans buyers don’t care that auto journos wouldn’t be caught dead driving a crossover. The thought of a Chevy Equinox in their driveway appeals to them far more than the thought of a Kia Stinger taking up real estate in front of their home. How many Equinoxes did GM sell over the first three quarters of 2018? 234,379. Put another way, that’s roughly 38,000 more sales than the six GM sedans put together.

Whether or not GM can make use of the Oshawa, Lordstown, or Detroit-Hamtramck plants for new, profitable products remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that the products they did produce had little in the way of a future.

[Images: General Motors]

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79 Comments on “Sales of Culled GM Sedans Tell the Story...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “I still see more Lucernes on the road than LaCrosses”

    Gee I wonder why?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Then again, if this were 10 years ago, and Buick were selling the Lacrosse as it’s bougie old-guy-lux-mobile instead of the Lucerne, you’d see a lot more LaCrosses to begin with. Same with everything that car competes with. Cars like the LaCrosse sold a lot better not so long ago.

      It’s all part of the move away from sedans, which has been going on for years.

    • 0 avatar
      portico

      I own a fully loaded Buick Lacrosse and it is the best vehicle I have ever owned. It’s quiet, well built, ample power and more comfortable than any furniture I have in my house. The Lacrosse is an excellent car. People on this board comment about some of these cars without any knowledge of them whatsoever. I have owned many cars and crossovers, I will take the Buick or Cad XTS over most of them. It turns out I am one of the few in this country who still feel that way.

      • 0 avatar
        Pigeon Rob

        Agreed. It’s a great car, and I’m inclined to believe the trash talkers are uninformed. I’m a 40 year old auto enthusiast and it’s everything I want and need right now. Comfortable. Powerful. Stylish. I’ve had a half dozen people mistake it for a Jaguar. The only better car I owned was the 2012 Lacrosse I had before my 2017. I traded it in with 200k miles so I can’t say I agree with those claiming GM makes bad cars.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m running a borrowed XTS. I didn’t realize HOW cushy it was until I got into a Jetta. The XTS is the last of the luxury Caddies….but surprised the guy with the R32 up on a rural interstate….if you don’t try to make it act like a Vette, or wonder who spec-d FWD bias on the AWD, it’s the bees knees.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      I see more 2000-2005 LeSabres than I do Lucernes.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      28-Cars-Later

      Because they be purchased used with low miles pretty reasonable-that’s why.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I think a lot of the decline is younger generations just don’t have as much love for the whole concept of an automobile. All sorts of surveys seem to show this.

    To them (millennials and younger) a car is more of a practical tool, so something like a generic CUV blob makes a lot of sense. Almost like an Uber driver buying car to carry people around in to the airport and back.

    To older generations, cars were more of an emotional purchase, so things like coupes and stylish sedans that offered a better driving experience were more the norm.

    A lot of young people get more excited about their phone or tablet purchase than a car.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      And who can blame them. If you spend 2 (or more) hours a day stuck in horrible bumper to bumper traffic a generic blob is exactly what you want. You don’t want a low to the ground sports car to worry about. You have no idea what driving dynamics or handling is about. Anything with more then 250 HP only cost more at the pump, you can’t drive any faster because speed traps abound. I love when auto ads show the young couple zipping around lovely mountain roads without a single worry. I’d say your average person has that experience maybe once a year (or less!) on vacation.

      Much easier to get excited about a new phone because each year a revised and improved version comes out to play with. Compared that with another year in the drive-o-blob where it will feature more broken bits, scratches, squeaks, replacement tires, oil change, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      Infotainment systems and phone connectivity are more valued than ease of maintenance. The car buying (and driving) experience is more emotional than ever before because it makes me feel like the car is about me. Everybody loves feeling like they are the center of the universe.

      Cars are no longer about how I get to my destination (the driving experience) and more about me feeding my addiction to self.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      They are still building stylish and sporty cars, because even though they dont sell as well as the boring sedans, they sell for a price that makes money. Corvette, Camaro and Mustang are not being discounted. Why? They make money. People who care a lot about their driving experience would be more likely to buy one of these anyway.

      If you sell 4,000 sports cars a month and make money on 3,995 of them, is that not better than selling 50,000 sedans but *losing* money on 49,500 of them in the same time period? Especially when you can also sell 80,000 light trucks and make money on 95% of them?

      For those who care about having a vehicle that works well as a family ride but also isnt boring, there are products like the Edge ST, Jeep Trackhawks, etc. That’s not even to mention the high end vehicles from Germany that drive 90% as well as their sedan counterparts, yet are roomy and practical enough to pass the sniff test for a family vehicle.

      If you want to argue that we need the Chevy Impala and Cruze around because their driving experience is so wonderful, that’s going to be difficult. Sure, they might be marginally better than an Equinox or Traverse, but if people cared that much about enjoying the drive, they wouldn’t be buying the cars listed anyway. Most people dont care that an Impala can go around a corner faster than a Traverse. It isnt even on their radar.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        *discontinued, not discounted, damn autocorrect.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        While we don’t need the Impala, I can say I have a love hate relationship with mine. Motor and mileage of the six pot is good, rear hubs are trashed at 66k, gets 31-33 mpg hwy and switching to manual mode those wide hips can hussle curves.

        Bad is that dam chrome strip reflecting low angle sun burning a hole through your retina while barreling to Salt Lake City. Or replacing a flat with Made in China metal stamp staring at you while wrestling the paint out of the socket to fit the nut. Depreciation curve mirroring a BASE jump alimony in the same amount of fall time. In the end it’s an appliance. Sad to report we reached peak auto on the back side of the bell curve. Won’t buy another.

    • 0 avatar

      Well said, Jacob. In a general sense I believe you are correct.

  • avatar
    mittencuh

    I’m somewhat sorry to see the XTS go as it was an excellent rental car to get in after a long day of traveling. In the Avis fleet at least, they were always well equipped with ventilated seats, heated wheel, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      As nice as the XTS was to rent, though, would you walk into a Caddy store and write a check for 55 large for a new one?

      Unless I’m way off base, I predict the answer to that question is “no way,” or “well, if I could pick one up that’s a year old for $27,000…”

      And that’s the problem – it had tons of appeal as a rental car, and not so much as a car you’d buy new.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Any of these sell 100K per year or more? 50 to 70K yearly volume?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I believe the Cruze does – it certainly did – close to 200K a year at peak – and the Cruze would have to be selling at least at 50K volume for 2018.

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        Camaro sales numbers for calendar year (CY) ’17: 67,940
        Impala sales CY ’17: 75,877
        Malibu sales CY ’17: 185,857
        Cruze sales CY ’17: 184,751

        All models were off ’16 numbers but the Cruze only by less than 2.5%. Malibu numbers were off ’16 by more than 42,000 units!

        Data according to the 1/8/18 issue of Automotive News.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      I was thinking the same thing.
      “234,379. Put another way, that’s roughly 38,000 more sales than the six GM sedans put together”. This still leaves 196,379 sales. Is there no way to make a profit on any of these? I know there are bigger economies of scale involved here, but I find it hard to believe you would just defer those sales to your competitors if there was money to be made. Not everyone wants a truck/SUV/CUV. Not yet anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        And in my case, not an SUV/CUV under any circumstances. Trucks (and minivans) are something you buy used and take them out when you’ve got something to haul.

        I figure I’ve got at least twelve years of driving in me, hopefully more like twenty. I intend to spend those years in a car. And I’ll buy it from whoever still bothers to make them.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        So, you wouldn’t “defer” sales to your competitor if the majority of those sales cost you money? And if the sales themselves are on a tumble down a mountainside? And if the similar products made by your competitors are sliding just as quickly?

        Let’s see, it costs me $20 to manufacture a widget, I sell 5,000 each month, but I can only sell each one for $15-18. Would I really miss all those sales I’m losing money on? What good is selling 5,000 a month if I’m losing money on them? Also, if over the past few years, I dropped from 20,000 a month to the 5,000 level, with my retailers telling me they expect that level to drop further. I also look across the street and see other widget manufacturers having the same problems.

        Now, my widget XL product costs me $21 to make, but I can sell it for $25-28, and I’m selling 35,000 a month and growing. My competitors also make an XL version and theirs are selling well, just like mine.

        Which version should I concentrate on? Which one should I pay employees (including their benefits) to make? Which one should I keep a factory open to build? Clearly there is a demand for one and not the other. I dont understand why this is so hard to comprehend.

        • 0 avatar
          deanst

          “Which version should I concentrate on? Which one should I pay employees (including their benefits) to make? Which one should I keep a factory open to build? Clearly there is a demand for one and not the other. I dont understand why this is so hard to comprehend.”

          Obviously even auto execs don’t understand what you think is obvious. If any of the Detroit 3 stuck to producing only the profitable models, they would all be down to pickups, large SUVs and maybe a few CUVs. (Model profitability is never disclosed, but most analysts estimate that pickups make up 80 to 120 % of industry profits.) if you want to be a full line manufacturer and get new customers, selling vehicles at a loss is part of the price of admission.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        The issue with the remaining 196,379 is how many of those are fleets, rental cars etc which are notoriously low margin, if any margin?

        I would bet quite a bit, more than half, volt excluded. So the economy of scale is really can they make money on 6 models selling 80k? They answer is no they can not.

        The outrage on this subject is odd to me. The rental car counters are littered with Camry’s and Altimas. It is not like GM and Ford are the only ones having a tough time moving sedans.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          THANK YOU!

          Look at sedan sales from *ANY* manufacturer, they’re all heading down. All-new Camry and it couldn’t even keep sales going in a positive direction for more than a few months before they started sliding again. It’s the same story with Honda and Nissan. People try to make this a “big 3” issue, but it isn’t limited to them in the least. They’re just the first ones to do something about it.

          Anybody want to guess as to which of those 7 models Toyota said they’ll discontinue are? Bet you all the tea in China that NONE are trucks or utilities.

          How long can notoriously slow selling cars like the Maxima hold on? When they cut fleet sales, it dropped 70% in one month. Similar story with Versa and Altima, though not quite as sharply.

          This isnt a Ford/GM/Chrysler thing. This is the entire auto industry.

          And you all laughed when Tim Cain started the midsize sedan deathwatch. The Malibu missed the cut by inches, I bet you. The other second tier players like Sonata probably wont last another generation. The new one, as with the new Altima, will probably be its last. Why continue to invest in something that consumers have screamed to the top of their lungs that they dont want?

      • 0 avatar
        Pigeon Rob

        That’s what I can’t figure out. How can profit be elusive when dealing with 200k in annual sales? I know sales are down but Ford really wants to give up those Fusion sales to the competition?

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      It doesn’t make any sense for GM to make a sedan/hatchback from the new Trax platform. It would costs just as much to make but they’d have to sell it at a lower price. Size=Quality according to car buyers.

      There’s also no point in having mutiple versions of the same vehicle, GM just doesn’t have that big a market share. I can’t see the Regal lasting for much longer either. I think the only reason they’re sold at all is that the decision to import them was made before GM decided to leave Europe and PSA is supplying them for a lower price than GM can make the Malibu in the US. I don’t think PSA will want to do that for very long.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    My dislike for CUVs centers on the whole charade of them being tough, sporty, go anywhere, haul anything vehicles. They’re certainly not tough, despite all that grey cladding, they have a couple inches more clearance, but would you vault a curb in a CRV? They are not sporty, the Lexus NX I’ve driven has frightening badly calibrated shocks/springs. And they don’t have nearly the storage you think they do, thanks to fastback rooflines. So what are CUVs? They are sedans rejigged to make more money based on a false image. I won’t dispute the benefits of AWD, but if you see me in a utility vehicle, it’s going to be a 4Runner or a Yukon.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      They are a reflection of the Amerikan consumer: fake and useless.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      “they have a couple inches more clearance, but would you vault a curb in a CRV?”

      Who decided that was the metric of CUV usefulness? You don’t think extra ground clearance is useful, for example, for driving through snow?

      “they don’t have nearly the storage you think they do”

      My MKX has more than double the trunk space of my Optima and nearly triple the volume of my dearly departed G37 sedan with the seats up, and with the high roof, big aperture and reasonable load height it’s much easier to fill with stuff.

      “They are not sporty”

      Strawman alert… nobody is buying an NX for sporty driving. But something like a Macan or X3 M40i will grip and accelerate like a sports car all day

      “if you see me in a utility vehicle”

      So now we get to the crux of the matter… you are just projecting your issues with the image you project onto people who couldn’t care less about the image they project. CUVs are more practical + versatile + easier to live with than sedans, which is why the market has moved to them en masse.

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        CUV’s should be compared against wagons and hatchbacks for interior space and utility.

        Beyond that, I agree that having even just an inch or two extra ground clearance can make the difference between getting out of my garage and not (Chicago city services don’t include plowing alleys).

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Wagons haven’t been relevant in America for 20+ years, and sadly hatchbacks are not far behind. The meaningful convo is sedans vs crossovers. Even with the same interior space, crossovers will generally have more utility in that higher ground clearance. They can also cram more interior volume into a smaller footprint, making them easier to park than a similarly roomy sedan. There’s also the (generally) better visibility, AWD availability, more versatile cargo space etc. Crossovers are just easier for people to live with.

          Plus even in Europe, where wagons and hatchbacks are all readily available, crossovers are gaining steam. So people who say wagons are better… for who? If they were better they would have come back by now.

          • 0 avatar
            SpinnyD

            Wagons haven’t left us at all. Every SUV and CUV is just a tall wagon. Wagons never left, they just grew up.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Our Rogue has much more cargo space than our Avenger on paper, but the reality is the Avenger gets better mileage with 100 more hp and more legroom for passenger (even on paper) and the actual usable space is the same. We have taken a few long road trips in both and we can carry the same load of coolers and luggage in both.

        If the snow is so deep that the car drags you shouln’t be out anyway and if you do, tires will make a larger difference than the extra 2″ of clearance.

        If you were really concerned with usable space, everyone would drive a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Living where it doesn’t ever snow (or even really get cold) is so choice.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      So, the fact that a Traverse can haul seven in reasonable comfort, where as 5 in an Impala is uncomfortably tight, that’s false image?

      The fact that an Equinox has 63.5 cu ft of cargo space with the rear seat folded vs 47.2 cubic feet in a Cruze hatchback with the rear seats folded is false image, or not as roomy as we think it is?

      And, yes, we all know how super sporty a Cruze or Impala is. It’s just dumbfounding as to why people aren’t lining up for these BMW E36s wearing bowties.

      Lovely how you put down crossovers for not being sporty enough, then say the only utility vehicles youd buy are two of the most ill-handling, truck-like versions available, perhaps only behind the Jeep Wrangler. That totally makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        No. The fact that a Grand Caravan (or a Sienna, if you really need AWD) can haul seven even more comfortably and carry their stuff at the same time is false image. The fact that an Enclave is just as comfortable and roomier than a LaCross, and with a higher seating position, is why they sell so much better.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      “My dislike for CUVs centers on the whole charade of them being tough, sporty, go anywhere, haul anything vehicles. They’re certainly not tough, despite all that grey cladding, they have a couple inches more clearance, but would you vault a curb in a CRV?”

      Exactly. I always find it interesting when I go to rowing regattas – littered with actual active people – and see a disproportionate number of wagons and hatchbacks. Faux do anything vehicles are more popular with faux active people.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      I have vaulted my 2008 Crv over a curb. It was a snowy blizzard in 2015 and I was dumb and driving too fast. Instead of hitting a car at a stop light, I hit a curb and vaulted over a 15 foot side walk between the roads, and kept on driving, no damage. 188,000 miles on the K24, smooth like a sewing machine, and it’s been a tough little vehicle that I can pull a little 4×8 trailer for lumber/sheetrock or put 16′ boards on top for small house projects. I do wish I had a pick up, but this CRV can get the job done. Forgot to mention, I can do this with my family of 4 with me.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    So let’s do a little more math:

    58% of 2.6 million = 1.5 million light trucks, and by extension 900K cars. Let’s say GM does 3M this year (based on the last 3 years)… that’s 2.4 million trucks and 600K cars. Bear in mind, over that period, GM has added the following cars:

    ATS
    XTS
    CT6
    Spark
    SS
    Verano

    I’m pretty sure all the bailout brand euthanasia had cleared out by 2012. So 6 new cars and yet sales still dropped by a 3rd. And pretty much any GM car you can find that isn’t a Corvette is selling at steep, steep, steep discounts. Bad times

    • 0 avatar
      MatadorX

      Where are these “steep” discounts you speak of though? I think that’s the main issue.

      Of all dealers I’ve visited, with maybe Honda as the exception, GM dealers were the most unwilling to move on price unless manufacturer rebates were active. Mother GM not giving out cash on the hood, they don’t either. Place is a ghost town between 20% off sales. At least Toyota/Mazda/Ford will float you a couple grand off at the dealer level if there are no good rebates running.

      You can’t sell cars when everyone knows unless there is a sale you are getting ripped off.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’d second Matador X.

        Although the one dealer whom I know well who doesn’t give a discount beyond whatever GM is offering as a rebate DOES give silly prices for trade ins. So it must be a “pay me now or pay me later” situation.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        It must be different here in Canada – we regularly get 20- 25% discounts on “old” inventory. My last GM purchases were well in excess of that.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Along this line of thought, GM’s real failure is (other than the Corvette) they don’t make any line or brand of cars that the consumer would be willing to buy without deep discounts, money on the hood, or both.

      Over the last 20-30 years we’ve learned to take it for granted that no GM vehicle (once again, other than the Corvette) is worth sticker price.

      Yet they can do it for the Corvette. You’d think over the decades they’d have figured out how to do 2-3 more models that would sell the same way.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Memo to GM

    I’m BEGGING you do not reuse a good name like “IMPALA” on a POS CUV. Let it die. Let it go out on a high note, likely the best full size FWD sedan that GM has ever built. (I’d nominate the Lacrosse but the trunk is too tiny.)

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    It’ll be interesting to see what the next market correction looks like. Crossovers are the de facto choice now, but what happens when they’re no longer en vogue?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Long, low sedans were in vogue for about 40 years; we are only 15 or so years into the crossover craze. And many factors working in favor of crossovers (i.e. completely crap roads, snow) are not going anywhere any time soon. It’s not a matter of fashion, it’s a matter of the right tools for the job.

      • 0 avatar
        multicam

        I have to half-disagree with you there, Sporty. Where I come from (Florida), snow is not a concern so the right tool for the job for many CUV-driving families would really be a minivan. But their fashion sense, so to speak, won’t let them be caught dead in one of those.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Thankfully you don’t get to dictate what other people buy.

          Truthfully if we got some smaller minivans like the Renault Grand Scenic I’d be down, but the current crop is massive. An Odyssey or Pacifica are like 1-1.5ft longer than midsize 2-3 row crossovers. Won’t work with our garage, which we use the hell out of in the winter. Even without snow, dealing with frosted glass and ice cold seats is a pain.

          Plus if we really need a van we can rent one or borrow grandma’s. Haven’t needed to yet though

  • avatar
    mikestuff

    I can’t seem to reply to PrincipalDan, who said: Memo to GM

    I’m BEGGING you do not reuse a good name like “IMPALA” on a POS CUV. Let it die. Let it go out on a high note, likely the best full size FWD sedan that GM has ever built. (I’d nominate the Lacrosse but the trunk is too tiny.)

    But please GM, include Malibu as a name that won’t show up on a new SUV. I heard that Blazer is coming.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “Chevrolet Impala sales fell 13.4 percent, year to date. Compared to the model’s high water mark of 2007.” Long live the W-Body! I’d better hold on to my 2012 as long as I can, but that’s up to my eye(s).

    So sad to see so many car models go, but it makes sense – the customer has spoken, so maybe Chevy can bring back the Avalanche or some other form of an SUV, truck or crossover.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Future QOTD: Will GM, as it is currently configured, exist in ten years?

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Thanks for crunching some numbers, Mr. Willems. Your analysis helps us to think like an automaker.

    Another thing to keep in mind: All these current CUV, SUVs, and trucks need to be replaced with new models. Automakers cannot afford to stub their toes when the new models arrive…I’ll call it the F150 Syndrom. Past success demands future success because the stakes are too high for missteps. Is it best for product development to play things safe, or dare to be radical?

    Take Honda, for example. Historically, Honda has had a full line of successful cars, SUVs, and van. In a short period of time, the CR-V becomes the star while the Fit, Accord, and Odyssey begin to shed significant volume and the Civic treads water. Couple that with recent memories of the missteps of the CR-Z, Crosstour, and a somewhat disappointing Ridgeline. Suddenly the board room is nervous since years of good sales like the last several won’t last forever. A company can become vulnerable very quickly with significant swings in consumer taste.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I understand why GM is doing this but my concern is that in 10 years GM will be in bankruptcy and ask for a Government loan to build cars because they will have mostly trucks, suvs, and crossovers. Maybe this will not happen but if it does then a going out of business sale or a take over would be appropriate.

  • avatar

    GM just could not figure out how to produce a competitive modern family sedan. The Camry, Accord, and Altima were just out of GM’s reach. Ford came close with the 1986 Taurus.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    A large reason for CUV/SUV’s that I have heard is the population is getting older. The baby boomers now are in peak earning years and have disposable income to buy cars, and they’d rather have a higher vehicle that’s easier to get in an out of than a low sedan. Similarly, it’s easier to get the bags of groceries out of the back of a higher SUV than a deep trunk of a sedan.

    Nothing at all to do with off road ability, just ease of access and convenience. When those same people were young and flexible they bought PLC’s – now it’s CUV’s.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      When I drove my Mustang up to my parent’s house for the first time, my dad wanted to sit behind the wheel; and maybe even go for a test drive. Watching a 76yo man try to stoop down and slide behind the wheel was uh… sad. I had to help him out. His stoop is bad enough that he couldn’t see over the hood. No test drive for him.

      Needless to say both of his vehicles are CUVs – a Buick Enclave for longer road trips, and a Chevy Equinox to beat around in town.

  • avatar

    simple solution is sell more cars, the biggest obstacle is inside the building.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Sure, CUVs and SUVs are purchased by a lot of people who simply want to appear active, but…

    I’m a car guy. I love sports cars and my vintage imports, but when it comes to the one car I use every day, a high-ish-roof box on stilts works well. I don;t want to have to worry about getting stuck in a mud puddle when I park to go MTBing. I want room to throw -and lock- things inside. I want good visibility when driving among the other boxes-on-stilts.

    I think that a lot of people, families especially, enjoy the benefits of CUVs/SUVs, beyond image. Sedans aren’t always as convenient and useful for people with need for utility. Folks on enthusiast sites don’t always seem to understand that.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe that’s true in your area about CUVs and SUVs being purchased by people who simply want to appear active, but I know a lot of old codgers, age 55 and waaaaaaay up, who replaced their CrownVic, GrandMarquis or TownCar with a $50K+ Enclave, Grand Cherokee, Sequoia, Armada, Suburban, etc.

      They were tired of having their view on the road blocked by CUVs and SUVs.

      If you can’t beat ‘m, join ‘m.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @highdesertcat–Agree I work with AARP Tax-Aide volunteers who have for the most part gone from the full size sedans to crossovers but most are not driving Enclaves or Grand Cherokees but instead Subaru Foresters and Outbacks, Honda CRVs, Toyota Rav4s, Buick Encores, Ford Escapes, Chevy Equinox, and various Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia crossovers. Most seem to prefer loaded compact crossovers. That being said since I am older I prefer the easier ingress and egress of our CRV along with the easier access to cargo space. I am more interested in function over form.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Jeff S, yes, in my area as well, many oldsters have opted for a fully-loaded compact crossover, like the models you mentioned. And many have chosen the ones I mentioned.

      Then again, a number also chose an AWD Sienna as their primary traveling vehicle. Or an F250 TurboDiesel with Camper Trailer for their wanderings, and a smaller CUV/SUV as their local grocery-getter.

      The compact CUV or SUV doesn’t work well for many long-distance travelers. My wife and I have been renting an Expedition EL whenever we travel long distances these days.

      And that’s fine to own a traveling vehicle of one’s choice if a person confines their traveling to within the 48 contiguous States. It didn’t work for us because we spend a lot of time OUTSIDE of the US when we travel. We have limo service where we stay.

      So, a couple months back, my wife turned her beloved 2016 Sequoia over to the company office in WY, and at the beginning of this year I turned over the Title to my 2016 Tundra to my grandson in Fallbrook, CA.

      He’d been using it while my wife and I spend ~5 months in Ensenada, BC, Mexico. He has been sending me $500/month and promised to pay the full $39K I had tied up in it.

      So my wife and I are down to my 1989 Camry V6 grocery-getter. Now we rent or borrow if we need something else.

      Maybe once my wife and I settle down in one place again here in NM, maybe we’ll buy a new vehicle, or vehicles, to match our wants and needs then.

      It’s gotta be pretty good size. I gained 65-lbs since retiring EOY 2015. And my wife is skinny as a rail but she stands 5’8″ in bare feet.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    We lost a bunch of FWD unibody mostly 4 cylinder cars – woopee

    I no longer have to worry about getting these in rentals, worse I don’t have to put up with a Impala being considered a “Premium” car while the Hemi charger is considered a normal fullsize. Alongside the Camry and Altima that are inexplicably considered full size despite being small midsize cars.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      And GM tweeted today that many of the laid-off workers will transfer to other plants, if they want to.

      No doubt there will be more news on this subject tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.

      President Trump is not pleased about the $54Billion GM cost the US tax payers only to repay the tax payers with lay-offs and plant-closings.

      Stay tuned. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

  • avatar
    Jim52

    Faithful reader that posts rarely. Does anyone besides me recall article after article in the last 5 years about flexible and lean manufacturing, as well as platform sharing and component commonality. The experts said automakers could be profitable in runs of under 20,000 units. Clearly at GM, even if sales of the Cruze and others are in decline, they sale far more than that.

    As a corollary to this: anyone see that PSA turned a profit at Opel in Germany after 1 year of ownership. GM could not do that in 23 years.

    I hate to say it (as an Ohioan with family/friends/neighbors at risk) I think GM’s days are numbered.


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