General Motors will begin closing plants in the United States and Canada in 2019, ceasing production of most passenger cars in favor of crossovers, sport utilities, and trucks. This move by GM follows in the footsteps of Ford and Chrysler, both of whom have already ceased production on most of their standard autos.
Compared to the other two Detroit makes, however, the move by GM is more aggressive, shutting down already low-performing and underutilized facilities in order to downsize. GM says that this will make them “leaner and meaner” and more able to adapt to the fast-changing automotive landscape. A landscape that currently favors crossover-SUV sales.
Models on the chopping block include vehicles from Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet. This major restructuring is expected to send about 5,600 hourly employees packing (most of them union) and about 15 percent of the company’s salaried employees off to early retirement or to find new employment.
Plants to be closed include the Lordstown, Ohio facility, the Detroit-Hammtramck, Michigan assembly, and the Oshawa, Ontario plant. Vehicles to be discontinued by late-2019 include:
General Motors says that the focus for non-crossover-SUV models of passenger vehicle will be on battery-electrics, such as the Bolt, and on streamlining production of more popular models in trucks and SUVs. The re-positioning of assets, GM says, will add about $6 billion in cash flow by the end of 2020, making GM more fluid and responsive.
“We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success,” CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.