By on December 5, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Impala, Image: General Motors

Just a couple of days ago, your author’s eyes were drawn to a brand spankin’ new, dark red Chevrolet Impala sitting in a parking lot — one made all the more distinctive by black five-spoke steel wheels. Tis the winter season, after all.

The Impala’s design always garnered a nod of approval from this writer, a person whose former ME once referred to as a raging GM apologist, though the model’s rear-seat headroom is definitely lacking. It’s also a Chevrolet and not a Mercedes-Benz. All of that aside, fans of traditional full-size sedans, especially those of the domestic variety, can mark two dates on their calendar. The Impala is leaving forever, and it seems the model’s Cadillac CT6 factory mate will not get the lease on life some expected.

Both products roll out of the underutilized Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, formerly home to the Chevrolet Volt and Buick LaCrosse. The latter model was the first of three Buick cars to earn the axe in this eventful calendar year (the Regal ceases its trans-Atlantic boat trip in 2020; the equally foreign Cascada is dead all around).

Early this year, it was expected that Detroit-Hamtramck would close — it was one of five North American plants targeted for mothballs by a cash-hungry, efficiencies-seeking GM. Still popular enough to continue production, the Impala and CT6 were expected to die before the end of 2019, though GM later pushed that back to January of 2020. In the automaker’s recently ratified UAW labor pact, Detroit-Hamtramck was saved, but it seems its remaining products were not.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the in-limbo CT6 will not live on at D-H or another domestic plant, and the Impala will die before spring hits Detroit.

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the state of Michigan, GM claims 814 hourly and salaried workers at D-H will be laid off on February 28th, marking the end of vehicle production at the facility. After that, D-H gears up for electric vehicle production expected to commence in 2021.

GM spokesman Dan Flores told the paper that some 753 UAW workers at Detroit-Hamtramck will be offered buyouts or relocation to other GM facilities in Michigan or Ohio; either way, they will remain on the payroll following that date. A few dozen additional workers will remain at the plant, with the bulk of those laid off on March 20th.

The company will begin making job offers in January.

As for the Impala and CT6, the Caddy will cease domestic production in January — just as previously reported. The model will continue in production in China, though it’s doubtful GM will opt to import any. The Impala will linger a bit longer, wrapping up its storied history on February 28th.

Following $3 billion in investment, Detroit-Hamtramck will come back online with 2,225 eventual employees. Exactly what vehicles those workers will build remains hazy, though an electric pickup is certain. A range of EVs will eventually roll out of the Detroit plant, including one that may carry the Hummer name. Stay tuned.

[Images: General Motors]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

48 Comments on “Tombstone Date for Two Large GM Sedans Revealed...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    resquiat in pace

    The Impala was a contender during my vehicle purchase but I decided to roll the dice that I would likely have another opportunity to own a sedan in my lifetime. I figured the TourX was one of those once in a lifetime things especially that the Volvo V60 competition for my Buick had so many barriers to getting one.

    At what point does the B&B think there will be NO everyman sedans?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      There will be Accords, Camries, Civics, and Corollas for a long time yet, not to mention 330is and C300s on deeply subsidized leases. Niche sedans are goners, though.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        BMW and MB don’t count.

        When I say Everyman I mean the entry level brands.

        I assume there will still be sports sedans in a future world and I may indeed buy one.

        I predict that Toyota with their Camry/Avalon might be LAST MAN STANDING.

        Corolla and Civic are actually in a precarious position because entry level buyers would rather have a CH-R or HRV or Encore or Trax or gad even the soon to be released Trailblazer.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          There’s also the Civic and Corolla *hatchbacks* confusing things there…

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I think a subsidized $329/month lease qualifies as “everyman” within the universe of people buying new cars. The 3-series has been the best-selling non-SUV/truck in California in some years. People are shopping them against things like Accords.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            A moderately equipped 3 series is mid 40’s. An analogous Accord is just under 30k. I’m not sure they’re really getting cross shopped.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It’s about lease terms, not MSRP. Many, many people are shopping on monthly payment. The subsidies BMW and Mercedes offer on leases (pretty often) can basically make up the MSRP difference.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Camry.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    If Impala ends production in a few months, it will still take time to sell off the over 4000 Impalas sitting on dealer lots listed as new. At least according to cars.com. Some of those new Impalas are leftover 2018 models.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      It’s almost as if killing the Impala makes excellent sense.

      The GCBC numbers justify killing the Impala all on their own; they’re lucky to sell 4,000 a month, and sold under 3,000 in September.

      (So that also means they only have maybe 5 weeks of inventory on lots, so it’s not a catastrophe, but … it’s not a volume car.)

  • avatar
    65corvair

    The front of the Impala looks a lot like my ’14 Honda Accord. (It has a 6 speed manual!) I’m renting an Impala next month for ten days, hope that’s what I get instead of a Kia equivalent.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      your Accord has a larger interior. this Impala always looked like a high riding Accord w/ a deformity along the side

      this Impala was a sales flop from day one, despite good reviews – GM refused to reveal how big a flop by combining sales w/ the old fleet Impala

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I’m surprised it took this long, what a waste of engineering talent.

    $35k to be stuck in a front drive 6 cylinder is a joke.

  • avatar

    Boy the CT6 didn’t turn out as planned. Especially considering a new V8 was developed just for it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Coulda had an [LS] V8… and pocketed the development costs… but thinking is hard.

      • 0 avatar

        And like, use that expensive RWD platform for CUVs.

        This is going down in the same Big Mistakes vein as the Ford-Jag aluminum XJ platform.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          It’s pretty remarkable that GM thinks Cadillac sharing a world class V8 engine with a Chevrolet is beneath it, but sharing poor interior quality and a small rear seat is fitting.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What’s especially asinine is for decades Cadillac thinking was “must have an exclusive engine” hence 368, 4100, and Northstar (aside from the Olds 350/307/diesel and Chevy 350 engines of course they pretend they didn’t use). But after 2000 they seemed to drop that thinking going with “corporate” choices such as 3.6 yet apparently that idea never died hence this Blackwing debacle. Every day it becomes clearer to me that GM should have been liquidated in 2008/9.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            If they wanted an exclusive engine they should have built the Sixteen.

        • 0 avatar

          gotta run out and get a blackwing. It will be huge in 2040

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I’m sure the Impala is gone because demand just isn’t there.

    BUT it would have helped if they advertised them, incentivized them, and stocked them on the lots.

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      It also would have helped even more if the car had been priced properly.

      Arrogance, hubris. GM came up with an excellent-driving (V6 version) car, but priced it too high.

      “This is a good car, we can charge a lot”. WRONG. Strike 1

      Then, they figured they would sell so many at the higher price, they put it in TWO factories. TWO sets of tooling. Double the overhead. So the car cost more to make than it would have. Strike 2

      Lack of promotion, general headwinds against sedans. You’re out.

      Both plants making it are being closed.

      Had GM simply launched the car with prices of $1,500 to $2,500 more than the old (but competent, if not competitive) Impala, and simply kept it in ONE plant (Oshawa would be more logical), the car would have sold more, made more money for GM, and GM would have incentive to update it and keep those sales, rather than giving many of them to the Avalon or Charger.

      This is not rocket science. But, apparently, the General’s MBA-educated, politically correct, “data-driven” leadership can’t grasp these relatively simple, yet very essential business fudamentals.

      A company that has struggled to compete in what I will call ‘middle cars’ (Camry, Accord, Sonata, Excel, Avalon, Charger/300) for my adult life, with few credible cars (this Impala, and the 2008-12 Malibu are the only ones since the 1977 full-size cars that I can think of) is now going to leapfrog this and become General EV, and win in an arena of batteries (where Koreans have leadership), electronic hardware (Japan/Korea), and software (Google, Microsoft, others) where they are not in the same league as the other entities.

      Meanwhile, Toyota, the best-run company, and Honda and Hyundai/Kia, will proceed slowly with EVs, while continuing to hone their offerings and cementing their grip on the ‘middle car’, which is the basis for middle crossovers (and not vice versa).

      How sad for GM in particular, and the US auto industry in general.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree it is not the 60’s or 70’s and rear wheel drive vehicles are a niche product except for pickup trucks and big suvs. I think more sedans will go away and those that come back will be EVs. I will miss the Impala as I miss the Lacrosse but the market has spoken. Both the Impala and Lacrosse are among GM’s greatest vehicles in recent years. I also agree that GM has done a good job with their front wheel drive sedans and both the Impala and Lacrosse have become better overtime.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I recall Alex on Autos and his reviews of FWD GM vehicles he would always drop a line in there that became a throwaway but was very true: “GM knows how to build good handling FWD vehicles.”

  • avatar
    brettc

    It looks like GM is still selling 3000-4000 Impalas per month based on the data available through September. So people are still buying them. Kind of stupid that they’d end production, but we are talking about GM here. I guess they know best, or something.

    I also discovered that VW only sold 228 Passats in November (and 211 in October), which was hard to comprehend. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Passat dropped since the Atlas and Tiguan seem to be making up the bulk of VW’s sales, and the Atlas Cross Sport is coming soon.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      brett, if your math is right then GM will be all sold out of Impalas by March, as they have about 4000 new ones on dealer lots now. Any bets that those dealers will still have thousands on the lot by 12/5/2020?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      As far as the Passat goes, they heavily delayed rollout of the 2020 update, and I believe stopped production on the ’19 very early (I know my company wasn’t able to buy any ’19 Passats as they just weren’t made available to us). Once the new one really starts rolling out, I’d expect sales in the ballpark of 40-50k a year. Nothing spectacular, but decent in VW terms, and enough to lock of a piece of a dying market. Odds are, they let it roll out as long as they don’t need the capacity in Chattanooga for anything else

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      people? or fleets?

  • avatar

    “if management can’t sell Pontiacs, you don’t get rid of Pontiac, you get rid of management.”

    Buickman
    Founder
    GeneralWatch.com

    • 0 avatar
      Michael S6

      My wife’s 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix was such as POS that everyone from engineering to management to assembly workers who constructed this car should have been fired. The issue was not selling the car, but building substandard mediocre cars that had one and done customers.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I’m sure the Impala will be back… as a crossover.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I would just like to say that I am a HUGE fan of WordPress. Then again I do Redteaming and Penetration testing for a living. YMMV.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Cutting the Impala that sells maybe 4000 a month for an EV that will sell in the hundreds in a redone facility which will have had several hundred millions spent on it for the glorious EV future. Good thinking. I mean the Bolt is selling like gangbusters, so a bigger Bolt will sell even more. Oh, wait a minute.

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    GM simply baffles me. How can you sit here and advertise the Malibu which is a lesser cheaper feeling car than the Impala which is head and shoulders above the Malibu in every way in terms of build quality, ride comfort, quietness, interior space, quality of materials, styling, drivetrain (3.6 V6) and overall value??? It’s a car that easily competes and is better constructed than a Camry, Accord and pretty every other midsize sedan for the price maybe besides for the Avalon.

    The Charger is cool, but has a cheap ass interior with hard plastics everywhere, and we all know about the horrendous reliability of Dodge.

    It’s like Chevy had this huge winner and never bothered to give it a chance to thrive with proper support and backing from GM marketing.

    Is it some sort of culture issue that GM has of what that is causing such dismay? How come other companies easily compete with one another and continue to make strides in their sedans while GM and Ford falters so severely.

    My 17 Impala will probably be the last newish GM vehicle I will ever own. Knowing all the cost cutting measures taking place within the company scares me away from the brand. Although I am huge fan of their old stuff (1940’s-70’s), they have taken this dark path into extinction by discontinuing so many models, that is going to leave consumers with very little vehicle choice on offerings from the Domestic automakers in the future and that is pretty sad knowing how amazing GM vehicles used to be during the 1950’s-60’s. A company that built works of art, to lumps of junk today., excluding the Impala, LaCrosse and XTS of course. They are better examples.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      Please. Stop. For as large as the Impala is, it is horribly inefficient on passenger space. The Accord and Camry have just as much in a better package. Yes, it has a huge trunk. That is about it. After driving a ’17, I felt like I was driving a claustraphobic boat compared to most midsized sedans. The beltline is atrocious.

  • avatar
    How_Embarrassing_4You

    The Ford death thread is <—over there. Nothing to see here…..

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Inside Looking Out: People like to tell the same tales over and over facts being damned. Meanwhile Tesla is taking...
  • ttacgreg: It looks like it just took a big bite out of a sh*t sandwich and is experiencing severe disgust.
  • Tele Vision: Plenty of Jeeps available for that money, complete with straight-six engines and licence plates....
  • conundrum: Rav4 …. uh, I forgot what I was going to say.Yawn. Oh yeah. Nope, forgotten again. Oh well, makes no...
  • ttacgreg: Yup reminds me of a mini drive in movie theater. Some automakers are far better at integrating these...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States