General Motors Future Vehicle Segment Strategy May Spell The End For Some Products21
Automakers may be in the business of selling cars, but investors also continuously expect a raise in shareholder value. General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, is determined to fulfill those requests from investors, and past actions only back up her determination.
Decisions to exit certain markets across the globe and cease manufacturing operations in Australia lay the foundation for a leaner-global General Motors. But, Automotive News spoke to Barra on future vehicle segment strategy, where she implied future scrutiny will be placed on particular vehicle segments, and not just markets where GM does business.
“We have a broad portfolio. But how are we going to look at what are the right vehicles to put in the marketplace?” Barra told AN. “We’ll look at what makes sense and what will generate a return.”
Speaking to investment analysts this month, GM President Dan Ammann also made it clear the microscope will be used to inspect some vehicle segments.
“If there’s no long-term path to be profitable in a particular segment, we will look at that,” he said.
Barra specifically dodged a question on the future of the Chevrolet Impala, which has arguably had its best generation from a design standpoint in years. Still, it’s hard to overlook the fact the large-sedan market continues to shrink in size in the U.S., while crossover fever takes over.
Through September, sales of large sedans dropped a whopping 16 percent in the U.S.
When asked about the future of the Impala, Barra made the following comments:
That’s a hard one because the Impala is such a great vehicle, but we can’t look at where the market’s been. We’ve got to look at where the market’s going. The Impala has a role today, but we’re going to be looking over the future and asking ‘What is its role in the future?’ and making that decision.
The lights may have gotten a tad dimmer for Chevrolet’s full-size sedan, especially as a new elongated 2017 Buick LaCrosse readies for debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, and the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu closes in on wheelbase length by less than an inch.
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Alpha platform would make the car unique and competitive, instead of redundant and lackluster.
But I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of topic that Mrs. Barra was trying to avoid. Too bad nobody there seems to have the understanding of GM architectures to push the question flat-out.
Then drop that sumbitch on Alpha and sell it to Police Departments. All that money and time wasted bringing the Commodore to US Market when the original flagship sedan was still here as a neutered front wheel drive.
Chevy SS and Zeta already have a foot out the door. Impala on LWB Alpha to replace it in 2018.
The current Impala is way too sexy for front wheel drive. If anyone at GM can see this, GET IT ON ALPHA!
I guess this means no more niche vehicles.
CUV’s for all!!
So I’m assuming no Cruze or Sonic SS?
you can safely assume that
Shocker. another nice car might become extinct.
it’s not all the manufacturers. THe consumer’s taste (needs) has become so dreadful. many consumers have high cell phone bills, satellite/cable bills, other wasted expenses. Yet will avoid stepping up to a nicer car.
The modern station wagon known as the CUV is dominant….plain aweful.
The whole market situation is pissing me off. CUVs choking beautiful, powerful, cars off the roads.
The current Impala is an amazing car. Anyone that doesn’t have it on the shopping list is doing themselves a major disservice. I don’t know why they don’t sell better, so many people seem to love the design. My parents have a Crystal Red 2014 2LT model, and get compliments on it all the time. It’s not like you can get a V6 in a Malibu anymore. I previously owned a 2003 and 2009 Impala, and this one is so much more premium feeling. I can tell you from looking into new and used ones, that they hold resale value much better than the previous generation Impalas.
Don’t get rid of it just make it better and offer it around the world. Keep the styling or something that look just as good or better. Put it on a rear wheel chassis with enough difference in size between it and the Malibu to make a difference.. Make it lighter stronger and faster. Offer 4-6’and V8 engines. Eliminate the mismatch or redound you of offering several different vehicles to cover each segment such as rentals, police and performance vehicles. Make one vehicle to cover all bases.
Just when I thought GM was listening to the Customer
Kill the damaged Malibu name plate, and sell Impala as mid sized because Impala is a mid sizer, not a true large sedan.
I get the logic: Shove Impala shoppers over to Buick, give the brand a reason to exist.
Bares ignores how the Koreans have pushed into the larger space. Nissan has Maxima. Toyota still has Avalon. I’d contend that Chevy its still making money from the Impala program and that this move is intended to boost Malibu as a contender.
#1 the Malibu name is not damaged.
#2 while the Impala is not as large as it once was it is not a Mid Sized car and never was. While the car is smaller today that is what is considered a full size family sedan today. The Taurus also is a full size sedan of the same size as the present Impala.
Chevy I am sure is making money with the Impala but what other model could take it’s place and prove even more profitable. There are other factors you have to consider here.
You have to consider some things here and not think with your heart.
Volume how much volume can you generate here with the present FWD model. You already have a similar Malibu and you have a Buick that will be similar priced.
Second you have a Camaro already you could base a sedan on and market it with an SS replacement. But how much volume and profit can be made.
My heart is all with an Alpha Sedan and I personally could make a really good business case for it. But then I do not have all the numbers and it could work against my case.
The number one thing GM needs to focus on is to make money with each and every car that includes the CTSV and Corvette. No models are exempt. Sorry but that is just good business but that does not mean you still can not make fun cars.
I really think there is an Alpha sedan lurking. I know there are insiders who back it but it takes more than a few people to approve it. Also we have to factor in future needs and even could it be sold for Fleet police work.
I would recommend watching what NASCAR Does this coming year as GM will want to get started this winter on a SS replacement. What they use there is what will give us a clue to where they are going with this.
I wish they would let me make a case for the Alpha as I have a damn good one but I am sure someone has or will do so inside with even better info.
Let them play this out before anyone get worked up. What ever they decide will be what is best for GM now and in the future. They have some tough choices to make coming up in many models and some tough changes they will have to make. Not all of them will make us happy but they really have little choice with market changes as well as regulation changes.
The Impala is one of the most stalwart nameplates in the Chevrolet lineup. It would be a huge mistake to end production.
The way I see it, automakers would do well to simply lengthen the wheelbase, add more features (perhaps bring back bench seating?), and/or change the drive layout. As far as the Impala goes, I wouldn’t look for Alpha to underpin a RWD Impala, the Omega platform is much more suitable for a large car.
GM, don’t follow Ford. I know they’re considering pulling the Taurus out of North America due to slow sales, but that’s because it has one of the worst in class interior room due to an ancient Volvo-derived platform.
Look at Chrysler/Dodge. Why has nobody bench marked their formula? They’ve managed to be sales leaders in their class despite using a few outdated components. They’re doing something right. GM, even Ford needs to find out what it is.
Lengthening is not as easy as you think. Just look at the long wheelbase Trailblazer.
Bench seating has gone away as so few people want it anymore. the added cost for a small number of models is just not in the cards. Coupes are difficult sales too.
Now Omega could play a part as it is larger but lighter than the similar sized Alpha as of now.
I think GM should “Impalize” the Malibu as car, get rid of LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, and then bring to market this as the next gen Impala:
1) Impala Malibu (former LS, LT)=mid size;
2) Impala Bel Air (former LTZ)= large;
3) Impala SS (after Commodore ends)=large.
I know it sounds weird, but I would love to see this happening.
William do you remember how well it did not work when Olds slapped Cutlass on most of their models of various size?
It not only was weird but it just made a mess of things already in trouble.
It is true you can have too much of a good thing.
Killing off Chevrolet’s Impala doesn’t make any sense as the Impala is a sales giant as Chevy sold 9,359 Impalas in September 2015 compared that with Cadillac’s CTS that only sold 1,319 cars; one would think that unless Chevy Impala sales drops to Cadillac ELR sales figures of just 36 for September should anyone even consider ending production.