Mark this date on your calendar or, should you be so inclined, in your diary. Today — February 27th, 2020 — marks the end of the Chevrolet Impala.
Some 62 years after its launch, the last Impala sedan will roll off the line Thursday at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, The Detroit News reports. A very different future awaits both the factory and the industry, and it seems cars like the Impala have no role to play in it.
It’s been a long time coming.
With just days left before the last Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala sedans roll off the assembly line at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck plant, the automaker has put up funding for the facility’s future.
For the once endangered plant, it will be a future free of gas-powered cars and trucks. Instead, the sprawling facility will be home to a range of electric SUVs and trucks, one of them bearing the Hummer name, and a rolling box with no driver.
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.
The past 24 hours has been all about electric propulsion and domestic nameplates, and this tidbit is right up the same street.
Hot on the heels of General Motors’ ratified UAW contract, in which the automaker pledges to keep its once-endangered Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant open, an automotive forecaster claims there’s more product headed to that facility than initially thought.
With last week’s tentative agreement between the United Auto Workers and General Motors, the end of the now six-week-long strike seemed closer than ever. GM hourly workers in the U.S. have until the end of the week to decide whether to approve the contract deal; if it gets the thumbs-up, the strike’s over.
Amid all of this labor news came a couple of tidbits, both of which stand to make the UAW happy. The first involves a resurrected nameplate built in Mexico, the other, a defunct GM brand that didn’t survive the company’s recession-era bankruptcy.
As the UAW-GM strike closes out its fifth week, workers now hold the power of determining when it will end. Late Thursday, the UAW National General Motors Council recommended ratification of the tentative agreement forged a day earlier, tossing the ball into the workers’ court.
While the strike continues, some members claim they’ll reject the contract unless GM reopens mothballed assembly plants — an unlikely scenario, given that the suddenly thrifty automaker has already reversed course on the closure of Detroit-Hamtramck. That plant is now tapped for GM’s Ford-fighting electric pickup.
No one knows what the future of General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant holds, or if it even has a future after Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6 production dries up in January 2020. In an alternate future, however, the plant would have swapped out the sign out front, replacing the GM logo with a Fiat Chrysler one.
According to sources with insider knowledge, the two automakers met to discuss just such an ownership change.
Detroit-Hamtramck, one of the five North American plants General Motors plans to shutter before the end of the year, will instead linger online a little longer.
While the plant’s future is still very much in doubt, and the lights will certainly go off for at least some period of time, the automaker plans to keep cranking out cars past New Year’s Eve. The reprieve stems from GM’s interest in continuing production of the Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala. Not the Buick LaCrosse or Chevrolet Volt, though. Definitely not the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Volt.
The vehicle they provide batteries for has less than three months to live, and this week brought news to 50 workers at General Motors’ Brownstown Battery plant that their positions are even more short-lived. In a filing with the state of Michigan, GM said it will cut 37 hourly and 13 salaried workers at the Detroit-area facility, adding an extra dollop of job losses to the mass culling announced late last month.
If the idea of owning a plug-in hybrid with real electric range tickles your fancy, your time’s running out fast.
But first, some Cyber Monday deals…!
Just kidding. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of that, God willing.
It didn’t take long for the usual suspects north of the border to respond to General Motors’ looming plant closures with ridiculous “solutions” — nationalizing GM Canada, for example, no doubt with the goal of repeating the successes of British Leyland in the late 70s and early 80s. Who could doubt the profit-generating prowess of the public sector?
Elsewhere, fiery rhetoric from autoworkers’ unions greeted news of GM’s plan to shutter five plants in the U.S. and Canada. But without new product allocations, and with demand for traditional sedans sinking fast, there’s little hope of seeing these facilities return to their golden days.
Heavy-duty streamlining has reached the production level at General Motors. After last night’s bombshell (though not unexpected) report claiming Canada’s oldest auto plant would cease operations late next year, more news is trickling out about the automaker’s production future.
Add Ohio and Michigan to the list of locales expected to lose an assembly plant.
It’s going to be a black Christmas at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant this year. Amid rising inventory levels for the Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Volt, General Motors plans to shut off the lights for the rest of the year.
Blame the American consumer’s rapidly changing automotive tastes.
The possibility, or even the necessity, of turning General Motors’ Hamtramck, Michigan, passenger car assembly plant into an SUV/crossover facility in the next half-decade has the company considering the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Volt, Buick LaCrosse, and recently launched Cadillac CT6.
According to a report in Reuters, General Motors is in talks with the United Auto Workers about replacing the increasingly unpopular products currently built in Hamtramck with in-demand utility vehicles. Also in question is the future of the Michigan-built Chevrolet Sonic and the Canada-built Cadillac XTS, which has enjoyed stays of execution in the past.
On average, GM had a 111-day supply of the six models in its U.S. showrooms heading into July 2017. 70 days’ worth of supply would be appropriate. Combined, the Impala, Volt, LaCrosse, CT6, Sonic, and XTS account for 6 percent of GM’s U.S. sales in 2017.
In 2008, the Impala, LaCrosse, and the Sonic’s Aveo predecessor — merely three of the nameplates — accounted for 12 percent of a much more voluminous GM U.S. operation.
(Update: This story has been updated to reflect new information.)
Not since the dark days of the recession has General Motors had so many vehicles clogging its inventory.
Bursting at the seams with unsold cars (but not trucks or SUVs), the automaker will temporarily turn out the lights at five assembly plants and kill off three shifts in order to bring things back into balance. For thousands of workers, that means the kind of extended Christmas holiday you don’t want.
In light of General Motors’ recent announcement of a $384 million investment in its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, two vehicles from Cadillac and Buick could wind up being produced alongside the next-generation Volt.
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