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John Goreham Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com 11-26-2018 General Motors is expected to announce soon that the company will move to eliminate certain car models and close some plants that build the cars. This news seems to jive with our recent reporting about a workforce reduction among salaried employees. Reuters is reporting that the vehicle cuts will be significant and that some models will be eliminated. Separately, CTV News Canada is reporting that its sources say the Oshawa Plant in Canada that builds the Impala will be closing its operations. GM presently employs about 2,800 salaried and hourly union employees at this car plant. “While the union does not have complete details of the overall announcement we have been informed that, as of now, there is no product allocated to the Oshawa Assembly Plant past December 2019,” Unifor, the union that represents the Oshawa plant's hourly workers, said in its statement. “Based on commitments made during 2016 contract negotiations, Unifor does not accept this announcement and is immediately calling on GM to live up to the spirit of that agreement.” In related news, Toyota is also planning to reduce the number of car models it produces. The Financial Times reported this week that Jim Lentz, North America chief executive officer, said the company was “taking a hard look at all of the segments that we’re competing in. We have got a large number of passenger cars,” he said. “You would expect that to come down over time.” These changes would mirror Ford's plan to eliminate all but a couple of car models in favor of crossovers and trucks. Update: GM has confirmed the Oshawa plant news and added to its "Unallocated" list the Lordstown, Ohio and Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Detroit. In addition, GM is not planning any products for the Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland, and the Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan. GM's announcement focuses on re-aligning future product focus on electric vehicles. The announcement includes, - "GM is evolving its global product development workforce and processes to drive world-class levels of engineering in advanced technologies, and to improve quality and speed to market. Resources allocated to electric and autonomous vehicle programs will double in the next two years." - "GM has recently invested in newer, highly efficient vehicle architectures, especially in trucks, crossovers and SUVs. GM now intends to prioritize future vehicle investments in its next-generation battery-electric architectures. As the current vehicle portfolio is optimized, it is expected that more than 75 percent of GM’s global sales volume will come from five vehicle architectures by early next decade."
John Goreham Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com 4-27-2018 Ford has announced that it will begin to phase out of the passenger car market. The most recent announcement caps a long list of hints by Ford that the company could not seem to build cars that are competitive or that were profitable to make domestically. Ford will be walking away from a volume of business larger than the total sales volume of Volkswagen in America. The Mustang will stay, but most of the Ford cars will not have a next generation. FCA recently canceled two Dodge and Chrysler models, deciding to keep only the luxury and rear/AWD muscle cars that it can also sell to government agencies. The natural question to ask, given that both Ford and Chrysler are walking away from mainstream family cars, is will GM follow the examples? Mary Barra, GM’s CEO says GM will not follow the example. At least in the near term. Here’s what Barra told investors in a recent conference call: “We launched very efficient architectures in the midsize and compact (segments) proving to be good platforms going forward with fairly minor changes…And the segments are still significant. Because we’ve made the investments, we need to deploy little to no capital going forward, so we view (cars) as an opportunity. What you’ll see us do is play very efficiently in a segment that, although it is declining, there is still an opportunity.” That does not mean that GM won’t retire individual car models across its brands. Barra has already said that the Volt will go away eventually as GM switches to battery-electric cars (fully electric like the Bolt). Cadillac, Buick and Chevy also have some cars that are moving so slowly the market is killing them off, regardless of what GM wants. All but one Cadillac car, ironically, the front wheel drive one, the Lacrosse, the Impala, and the Sonic all look like models that could eventually be replaced by crossover models.