Report: GM may eliminate up to six cars from lineup

General Motors has put six of its cars under review and is evaluating whether to cancel them in the coming years, according to a report from Reuters.

The news comes as sales of cars continue to plummet in the U.S. and as consumers increasingly turn to SUVs and pickups.

The company is considering plans to eliminate the Chevrolet Volt hybrid, the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Sonic, according to Reuters.

GM spokesman Jim Cain declined to comment on the report.

UAW President Dennis Williams said Thursday the union is in ongoing discussions with GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler about falling car sales and how to keep the automaker's U.S. plants operating at full capacity.

"We are talking to (GM) right now about the products that they currently have" at underused car plants such as Hamtramck in Michigan and Lordstown in Ohio, Williams said.

"We are tracking it (and) we are addressing it," Williams added.

Earlier this year, GM eliminated a shift at its Lordstown plant where it makes the Chevrolet Cruze.

Over the first six months of this year, industry sales have dropped 6.6% for compact cars, 18.5% for full-size cars and 18.4% for subcompact cars. And those declines are on top of car sales declines that began several years ago even as overall industry sales increased for seven years in a row.

With car sales falling fast, it makes sense for every automaker to review whether it still needs the cars it is producing.

One of the GM's most vulnerable plants is the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the company produces the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Volt.

The Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric sedan introduced in 2010, could be replaced by a crossover, according to Reuters.

Over the first six months of this year, sales have dropped 11.9% for LaCrosse and 66% for the Impala but have increased 11.5% for the Volt and 172% for the CT6.

Industry sales of full-size sedans such as the LaCrosse, Impala and CT6 only accounted for 1.8% of industry sales in June. And Korean automaker Hyundai said earlier this month it would stop making the Azera, its full-size sedan.

However, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen told Jalopnik late Friday that the CT6 will not be phased out. Introduced in 2015, the CT6 is intended to serve as a flagship for the Cadillac brand.

“There is absolutely, if I could speak all capitals now, they’d be coming out of my mouth,” de Nysschen, company president since July 2014, told Jalopnik. “There is absolutely no plan, at all, to cancel the CT6.”

According to Reuters, GM likely won't phase out any of the models until 2020. That will put pressure on the UAW in 2019 when it is set to renegotiate its contract with all three Detroit automakers.

But Williams stressed the UAW isn't waiting until then. The union already is pressuring GM to make its Buick Envision SUV in the U.S. GM began importing the Envision — a new model — into the U.S. from China last year.

"(UAW Vice President) Cindy Estrada is on GM all the time about several vehicles. And she monitors as we monitor the number of vehicles that are sold here," Williams said. "And when it gets to a point that we think is significant, we are on the companies to start producing them here (in the U.S.)"

Williams also had a warning for any automaker that might consider closing a car plant in the U.S.

"When an employer like GM, Ford or any other employer produces so many vehicles in Mexico and around the world and is bringing them back to the United States for sale, and comes to us with a plant closing, there is going to be a problem with us, without a doubt," Williams said.

Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or bsnavely@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely.

The Detroit Free Press


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