By on February 18, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Traverse - Image: GM

On Monday, General Motors stated its intent to invest $36 million into Lansing Delta Township Assembly, maker of large crossovers since its inception.

Little info was provided on the details of the investment, and GM claims the cash won’t expand Lansing’s complement of 2,600 employees. GM CEO Mary Barra said the investment is needed to “prepare the plant for future crossover production.”

Let’s indulge in a little speculation.

“We are proud of the hard work and commitment of the entire Lansing team and the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave are important products in our growing crossover portfolio,” Barra said in a statement. The money is said to fund a mid-cycle refresh of the two models. Ho-hum. But where could GM take its quest to put crossovers in every driveway in America?

Lansing Delta Township, GM’s youngest domestic plant, is the ancestral home of the automaker’s largest unibody vehicles, opening in 2006 to build the automaker’s new Lambda-platform crossovers: Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook. The plant has soaked up $600 million in investments over the past decade.

While down to two models since the Acadia’s departure, the plant is a busy one, running two shifts with overtime. The strong sales performance of the Enclave and especially the Traverse makes one wonder about a white space in GMC’s lineup: a vehicle larger than the now-midsize Acadia (refreshed for the 2020) and the full-size, body on frame Yukon and Yukon XL. It’s not the only empty space in GMC’s stable, but it’s less talked about than the absence of a sub-Terrain crossover or an off-road focused model.

True, the Acadia is more of a gap-filler than the two-row Chevy Blazer, but there’s little doubt that a large, GMC crossover built atop the platform shared by the Enclave and Traverse would sell well; the Traverse was the third best-selling Chevy-badged vehicle last year, unloading 146,534 units in the United States. Meanwhile, GMC’s Denali sub-brand is a license to print money. It’s worth noting that, in the waning days of 2018, GM trademarked the Envoy name, which might not signify anything other than the General wanting to keep a defunct model name in the family.

Beyond this thin gruel, there’s no indication GMC has any intention of going “big” on new product. Brand boss Duncan Aldred stated in the past that the lower end of the ladder is the “logical” place for new model introductions.

The automaker’s preemptive response to questions arising from its LDT plant investment is, “For competitive reasons, GM is not disclosing specifics or timing related to the plant’s future products at this time.”

[Image: General Motors]

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33 Comments on “GM to Sink More Cash Into Lansing Crossover Plant...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I see an “Envoy” being the GMC version of the reborn Blazer (which I assume is built somewhere else.)

    I had also thought that the shrinking of the current Acadia (vs the 1st gen) was to protect the cash cow that is Yukon.

    I also think it is fascinating to remember that the Lamdas were originally going to have an optional V8 and were dreamed up as a lifeboat if gas prices got so high that it threatened the extinction of the Yukon/Tahoe/Suburban.

    But thankfully gas got cheap and sadly GMs financial position in the 2000s killed that branch of the V8 program.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    You already forgot about the bigger “Cadillac” that was revealed recently? It’s utterly unremarkable so I can’t blame you, but definitely being built there.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      IBx1

      No, The Cadillac XT6 will be built i Spring Hill Tennessee. It’s an honest mistake. GM has lots of U.S. factories. It’s hard to keep track of what’s built where. It’s why our slow learners buy Toyotas. They have very few U.S. factories, and only one of those builds crossovers.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Peter: Hahahaha! Good one! I’ve often compared GM to Texas; it could split in half and each half would still be larger than other car companies in the US.

        I’m glad to see more investment in Lansing, as it’s 60 miles from here and will keep the company I’m currently working for busy also (we provide returnables to GM and suppliers).

  • avatar
    redapple

    DAN

    Blazer is HENCHO.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Lansing upgrade? Time to bring back the Oldsmobile Bravada!!!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe Lansing upgrade because

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-autos/auto-industry-lines-up-against-possible-u-s-tariffs-idUSKCN1Q71SA

      I hope Trump slaps the same tariffs on foreign-made vehicles sold in America as our trading partners slap on American-made vehicles sold in their country.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        highdesertcat

        I don’t think thats going to happen. The Germans don’t want their people to realize that all those Fords are made in Europe.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          You could very well be right because what I have noticed in the global auto industry (and trade in general) is the amount of uncertainty that President Trump has injected into the mix, in order to make a better and more advantageous deal for America.

          Love him or hate him, he’s effective, and effectively scaring trading partners and NATO into re-evaluating their financial relationship with America.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            highdesertcat

            Definitely above my pay grade. Lets say your BMW. You build Engines and transmissions in Germany. Ship them to the U.S, and put them in Crossovers assembled in Spartanburg South Carolina. How much are you going to charge youself for those engines and transmissions?

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            Large multinational can play with numbers anyway they want.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            A percentage is charged based on foreign/domestic content.

            But ultimately what I believe will happen is that some sort of trade agreement is reached that President Trump can live with and accept, like the AMCA.

            Cars from China may be problematic because of all the stolen Intelectual Property issues. I remember when a boatload of Fender-lookalike guitars arrived at the port-of-entry and promptly had their tuning-pegs cut off above the nut.

            Can’t do that with foreign-made cars that have a lot of American IP in them.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I wish we could talk about doing something larger than the Yukon and Yukon XL rather than focus on more midsize crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Like a school bus?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Exterior width of a school bus maybe but easy enough to park. The Suburban just doesn’t have the interior room of the older trucks any more and the heavily raked windshield further impedes on interior room. It time for another Excursion sizes SUV for those that like to have room to stretch out.
        FCA is in the best position to do this, they have the correct axle suspension designs on both 1/2 and 3/4 trucks, their new 2020 3/4 which I saw at my local auto show, is perfectly suited for SUV duty if they replaced the bed with an enclosed space. The 6.4 and 6.7 are perfect engines for such an SUV.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Plus, FCA doesn’t give a rat’s ass about meeting their fuel economy targets. Perfect for them.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I didn’t know that Fiatsler had FE targets. Sure can’t tell from all those HiPo vehicles they’re cranking out.

            Hallelujah for affordable performance vehicles! Make more of them!!!

        • 0 avatar
          CKNSLS Sierra SLT

          1999 18,315
          2000 50,786
          2001 34,710
          2002- 29,042
          2003 26,259
          2004 – 20,010
          2005 16,283

          Yep-the market really loved the Excursion-just look at the massive sales numbers…..:)

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Over the past 6 years the Chevrolet Volt has sold between 15,000 and 24,000 a year. Care to take a guess which had the least engineering involved to bring to market? Care to guess which made a very nice profit for its company?

            Your numbers massively work in favor of my argument. Minimal engineering to bring a vehicle with nice profit margins to market. Especially considering manufacturers can name any price they want on a crossover or SUV and get it (case in point: new Explorer)

        • 0 avatar
          CKNSLS Sierra SLT

          1999 18,315
          2000 50,786
          2001 34,710
          2002- 29,042
          2003 26,259
          2004 – 20,010
          2005 16,283

          Yep-the market really loved the Excursion-just look at the massive sales numbers…..:)

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “something larger than the Yukon and Yukon XL”

      I agree. Size matters!

      There was a time when Suburban and TravelAll reigned the full-size SUV market, but today’s Suburban seems more modest than its predecessors. The TravelAll is still dead.

      So I’ll take our Southwind on our next trip to San Diego, CA, and leave it parked there during our stay in Ensenada, BC, Old Mexico.

      Size matters. Speed not so much, with a cop under every overpass just waiting to mine that highway.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Expedition MAX is 7 in shorter overall than the old Excursion.

        GD, how much freaking room do you people need?!?!?!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          A high-maintenance woman takes a lot of stuff on the trip with her.

          The last two rentals I had for long-distance travel were both an Expedition MAX with the Ecoboost V6 and 20″ wheels. The Silver one was a lot cooler at Four Corners than the black one was in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

          I’ll take the family Southwind on our next trip, next month, and, no doubt, we’ll manage to load it up and max it out.

          Well, at least gas is cheap.

  • avatar
    jatz

    How nice all these 2-boxes would look if we could go back to round headlights, especially quads.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Still no word on the Honda Ridgelines who’s fuel lines dissolve in the car wash?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Or the hundreds of thousands of Hyundai/Kias that burst into flames? If only they were domestic automakers, then it could be 12 vehicles with the wrong color floor mats and it’d be the worst thing since WWII.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    1999 18,315
    2000 50,786
    2001 34,710
    2002- 29,042
    2003 26,259
    2004 – 20,010
    2005 16,283

    Yep-the market really loved the Excursion-just look at the massive sales numbers…..:)

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    1999 18,315
    2000 50,786
    2001 34,710
    2002- 29,042
    2003 26,259
    2004 – 20,010
    2005 16,283

    Yep-the market really loved the Excursion-just look at the massive sales numbers…..:)

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    If they’re running two shifts with overtime, I’d be curious to know how that translates to plant optimization, since that seems to be a large part of the plant closure equation.

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