GM will be ceasing production of the subcompact Chevy Sonic within the near future, and ceasing production of the Chevy Impala within the next few years, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The report stems from discussions with unnamed sources “familiar with the matter,” as reported by Reuters.
At the same time as GM seems to be planning to reduce its car offerings, fellow US-based auto manufacturer Ford has begun pursuing a similar strategy — with the plan reportedly being to cease US production of the Ford Fiesta by as soon as 2019, and to cease production of the Ford Taurus sometime soon as well.
What does all of this mean? It seems to mean that American auto manufacturers are pulling back from the subcompact and sedan segments, focusing more attention on SUV and pickup truck cash cows instead.
Such vehicles of course feature much lower fuel-efficiency figures than subcompacts do, but with the recent announcement that the US EPA may cancel its earlier 2025 fuel-economy increase plans and also the strong demand for SUVs and pickups, it appears that the auto manufacturers in question see no reason not to double down. Additionally, trucks have certain key loopholes in fuel efficiency requirements.
Reuters provides more: “Ford executives are still considering the future of Fusion cars, the report said. General Motors declined to comment, while Ford was not immediately available for comment. Last month, Ford disclosed plans to shift the product portfolio from passenger cars to SUVs, add more hybrid and pure electric vehicles, and cut manufacturing costs.
“Demand for sport utility vehicles in the United States is booming, with the number of new models vying for a share of the market growing even faster. Last month, GM unveiled a revamped luxury pickup truck, intensifying the battle among Detroit’s big three automakers for fat profits at the top end of a highly lucrative segment.”
Keep that last bit in mind when people are talking about GM’s interest in the plug-in electric vehicle sector. The reality here is that gas/petrol-powered SUVs and pickup trucks are highly lucrative for the firm, whereas the Chevy Bolt is potentially selling at or near a loss. That being the case, the firm isn’t going to embrace the electric vehicle sector the way that some observers claim.
What’s far more likely is that Chevy Bolt sales will be eclipsed to a vast degree by EV sales from firms that intend to dive into mass production and that possess the battery contracts or production to achieve that — whether those firms be Tesla, Nissan, possibly Hyundai, or others scheming in the backrooms of supplier negotiations.
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