Slumping U.S. car sales is taking an impact on vehicles and workers. The United Auto Workers president stated last week that the union is talking to General Motors (GM) about threats to jobs and plants due to the falling sales numbers.
Shifts have already been cut by GM at a number of plants around the United States this year following the increased inventory of unsold cars. More jobs could be in trouble as small and midsize sedan production shrinks, according to Reuters.
The cancellation of the Chevrolet Volt hybrid is a shocking bit of news from General Motors. The Volt was likely to be replaced with a new gasoline-electric crossover in 2022, but the environmentally green car was supposed to remain in production until then. Along with the Volt, the Chevy Impala and Sonic are at risk, as well as the Cadillac XTS and CT6, and Buick LaCrosse.
As for jobs, analysts believe the GM Hamtramck plant located in Detroit is at risk. Opened in 1985, the plant builds four of the cars on the list to be canceled. The plant has built 32 percent fewer cars than the same period in 2016. Typically, the plant would be producing 200,000-300,000 vehicles a year.
To try to turn things around, GM is looking at creating new vehicles to replace the slow-selling sedans. If they do not, the only option will be to start closing the production plants. Already they has begun a shift of future plans from cars to trucks. Less than 10 percent of the new cars from General Motors are expected to be sedans in the next four years with the company turning to SUVs, crossovers, and trucks.
GM believes that, besides the sedan sales issue, they will reduce inventories overall and be in line to have a good 2017. SUV sales, cheap gas, and a short-term shift of production to crossovers and SUVs as well as long-term adjustments to drive capital spending look strong to the heads at General Motors.
However, it does not appear that GM will look at retooling the plants producing the sedans to be cut to start extra production of SUVs or other cars that are still selling good. So, the likely hood of job cuts is still high, and there is no word on when or if sedan production would be increased again, requiring the rehiring of these positions and reopening of the Hamtramck plant, if they do choose to close it.
What do you think about General Motors closing a plant and cutting six vehicles including the Chevy Volt? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Chevrolet