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: GM To Halt Production of Chevrolet Volt in 2019, Build Electric Cadillac in 2021

GM To Halt Production of Chevrolet Volt in 2019, Build Electric Cadillac in 2021

27 Nov

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, announced on Monday, November 26, 2018 that GM will downsize sedan production, close five North American factories and lay off 14,700 employees during the following year, in order to maintain profitability while adjusting to a shrinking and changing US automotive marketplace.

GM will be closing five automotive production plants in North America that produce smaller sedans and related transmission drive trains:

1. Lordstown, Ohio factory that produces the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan

2. Detroit-Hamtramck facility in Michigan that produces the Chevrolet Volt, Buick Lacrosse, and Cadillac CT6

3. Oshawa, Ontario plant in Canada that produces the Chevrolet Impala

4. Factories in Baltimore, Maryland and Warren, Michigan that produce powertrains for smaller vehicles

About 8,000 factory workers will be laid off during the reorganization, as well as 6,700 salaried employees or about 15% of the salaried GM workforce during 2019.

As more Americans of different generations choose to buy fewer small-size cars, the US automotive industry is shifting to production of more trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossover SUVs.

The US market has changed in recent years, as consumers are purchasing larger vehicles rather than small-size, economy sedans. Younger urban buyers have also opted for ride share and multi-mode transportation options, rather than personally own or lease a new car, as in generations past.

This year, GM also reached a market cap of 200,000 plug-in electric vehicles sold within the US since 2010, that are eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500 per electric car.

During 2018, Findlay Chevrolet displayed the newest model of the Chevy Volt, now with over 50 miles of electric-only range and a total range of 420 miles extended.

As a result of these trends, GM is halting production of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle as part of the Detroit-Hamtramck plant closure.

Since 2010, the Chevrolet Volt has served as a friendly gateway to first-time owners of plug-in electric cars in Nevada.

The Volt electric-motor drive train provided all the speed, torque and acceleration of any electric car for local urban driving with a range from 36 to 53 miles before recharging at home each night.

However, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle still retained the ability to be fueled quickly by gasoline, so that the vehicle’s onboard generator could continue to provide electricity to the electric motor for an additional 240 miles of range.

That feature has been valuable for owners who also drive within rural areas of the state, where there may not yet be any electric car charging station infrastructure.

However, the additional components for both the electric motor drive train, batteries, and gasoline generator systems added additional costs to vehicle factory production within smaller production runs, resulting in losses during the initial model years.

Barra maintains that GM is still committed to the production of new plug-in electric cars and autonomous vehicles for ride-share applications during the coming decade. These plans include the Chevrolet Bolt EV, that relies on a battery-powered EV drive train to travel more than 230 miles between recharging sites, with no gasoline generator onboard.

During 2018, Ford Motor Company also indicated that it will downsize production of smaller vehicles, that include the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid electric car and Ford Focus EV battery-powered electric car.

Tiffani Repucci from Gaudin Ford showcased a CMax Energi plug-in hybrid during a 2014 event.

However, Ford and GM will also be integrating plug-in electric drive trains into more of the model car vehicles that the companies plan to introduce during the next ten years.

During the North American International Auto Show in Detroit during January 2019, GM CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Hackett both announced their commitments to develop electric cars.

GM unveiled an electric Cadillac SUV during the North American International Auto Show in January 2019.

Barra announced that the GM Cadillac line will compete against Tesla for the luxury electric car market. The company unveiled a concept electric SUV based on its BEV3 chassis platform, that will be used to usher in the next generation of GM plug-in electric vehicles.

The 5-passenger SUV will feature all wheel drive and the Super Cruise package of advanced driver assistance systems that will approach new levels of autonomous driving.

Hackett announced that Ford will be investing $11 billion to design and develop 16 new plug-in electric car models, including a “surprise” announcement during 2019. Ford had also announced a partnership with Volkswagen to develop charging station infrastructure in Europe and US.

NEVA blog posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator

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