More Passenger Car Blues as GM Throttles Back in Canada

2018 Chevrolet Impala, Image: General Motors

General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant isn’t the only facility hit hard by the public’s growing distaste for traditional highway cruisers. Falling full-size sedan sales turned out the lights at that plant last month, and GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant will follow suit in January, returning with a missing shift once production resumes.

Like Hamtramck, the Oshawa plant builds the Chevrolet Impala sedan, and is the sole domestic builder of the Cadillac XTS. As the only remaining front-wheel-drive passenger car in the brand’s lineup, the XTS — saved from execution and refreshed for 2018 — didn’t stage a repeat performance of its October sales climb in November.

According to The Globe and Mail, the Oshawa plant’s passenger car production will cease for the first three weeks of January. Following that, the current two shifts transition to a single shift through the end of March. In order to avoid layoffs, workers on the plant’s Flex Line will rotate their weeks of work, though what lies in store for next spring and summer remains a mystery.

Oshawa, which handled six models just a few years ago, was feared to be in danger of closing until it reached a deal last year to perform final assembly of full-size pickups. The CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario used to send overflow Chevrolet Equinox production to Oshawa, but that practice dried up last summer.

Cadillac XTS sales fell 27 percent in the U.S. in November, year-over-year, with sales over the first 11 months of 2017 down 21 percent. In October, the model posted a surprising 49.5-percent year-over-year sales increase.

Impala sales, while heading in the right direction in some respects, aren’t doing great when you consider the bigger picture. Despite a 13-percent reduction in GM fleet sales last month (and a 24-percent decrease in vehicles  sent to rental agencies), Impala sales rose 54.1 percent, year-over-year, in November. The nameplate rose 24 percent in October, though Impala sales tend to vary wildly month to month. Overall, this year has seen Impala sales slip 21.5 percent.

[Image: General Motors]