GM to kill Chevrolet Volt, Cruze, Impala as Americans ditch passenger cars
General Motors will close three assembly plants by the end of 2019, and lay off up to 5,600 workers. USA TODAY, USA TODAY
(Photo: Jim Fets Photography, GM via AP)
General Motors is killing several passenger cars, including the Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Cruze, two compact vehicles that were held up as examples of the automaker’s post-bankruptcy revival.
The move — part of a sweeping cost-cutting plan unveiled Monday — comes as Americans are abandoning passenger cars in favor of crossovers, SUVs and pickups.
The automaker will no longer make the Volt semi-electric car and the Cruze compact sedan for sale in North America beginning in March, Chevy spokesman Kevin Kelly confirmed.
GM will also discontinue the Chevrolet Impala full-size car, the company confirmed. It will end U.S. production in March and Canadian production in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Kelly declined to say whether the company would sell any of those products in markets outside North America.
The company will also end U.S. sales of the Cadillac XTS and Buick LaCrosse luxury cars after production ends in March. And the Cadillac CT6 will be killed off in the U.S. after mid-2019, though it will continue to be sold in China.
General Motors announced plans to close three assembly plants, one each in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario before the end of 2019. Wochit
The moves are part of a sweeping $6 billion cost-cutting plan announced Monday. GM is poised to close plants in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland and Canada, and cut 15 percent of its salaried workforce.
The Volt’s demise comes about 10 years after the semi-electric vehicle’s production model debuted. The automaker trumpeted the Volt for years as a symbol of its alternative propulsion expertise, but the company has since pivoted toward building fully battery-powered cars. The Volt still had a small gas engine paired with its battery pack.
Mike Ramsey, mobility and transportation analyst for Gartner, said the Volt was “a beautiful design” and a sensible solution for its time. But he said pure battery-powered cars are ultimately a better solution than plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, like the Volt, which compromise on battery range to make way for a small gas engine.
“The only one that really surprises me is the volt and even then I understand the rationale,” Ramsey said. “They’re basically saying that halfway doesn’t work — we’re going all the way.”
Like the Volt, the Cruze was also described for years as an illustration of GM’s recovery after its federal bailout and bankruptcy. GM’s decision to locate Cruze production in Ohio breathed new life into the Lordstown plant and was hailed by President Barack Obama’s administration as reflective of the auto industry’s revival.