General Motors might be getting ready to phase out at least six passenger cars, and it has the president of the United Auto Workers union worried.
The passenger car market is suffering as buyers move from sedans to sport utility vehicles, crossovers, and trucks. Sales of cars are down 15 percent this year in the US, following a double-digit decline in 2016, with similar truck and SUV-heavy sales trends seen in Canada as well.
That has given GM ballooning inventories of unsold cars and has lead to cut shifts at several plants. If the trend continues, it could put more jobs at risk.
Reuters reports that GM is looking at cancelling at least six cars in the US after 2020. That includes the Chevrolet Volt hybrid, Impala and Sonic, Buick Lacrosse, and Cadillac CT6 and XTS. The General is looking at adding new crossovers and SUVs to take their place.
The shifting makeup of vehicles could lead to plant closures and job reductions. Increasing production of SUVs could be handled by current SUV plants and may leave car plants underutilised or idled.
The UAW represents workers at GM's US plants, and union president Dennis Williams told reporters that "we are talking to (GM) right now about the products that they currently have," adding that "we are tracking it (and) we are addressing it." Williams hopes that underused plants will see new crossovers instead of closures.
GM has already made some movement in this direction, with the upcoming Cadillac XT4 crossover expected to be assembled at a plant that currently builds the Chevrolet Malibu sedan.