You may have already heard that GM has officially announced plans to discontinued three Chevrolet cars from its lineup – the compact Cruze family, the Volt plug-in hybrid, and the Impala full-size sedan. Adding insult to injury is that the Sonic‘s days also appear to be numbered. The decision is not great for those who prefer cars instead of crossovers or SUVs, a smaller segment than it once was, but a large one nonetheless. The decision to drop most of Chevrolet cars means that the brand will forfeit a sizable chunk of its customer base and sales volume. But besides that, the decision also carries a ramification we have yet to discuss.
Arguably the biggest danger in discontinuing the Sonic, Cruze, Volt, and Impala lies with the way some customers are referred to Chevrolet dealerships. Today, if someone were to come to me and say that they’re in the market for a new car between $20,000 and $30,000, but don’t exactly know what model they’re interested in, I can simply tell them, “Just head on down to Chevy, they’ll have something in your price range range that you’ll like.”
That’s because I have full confidence that there is something for everyone in the Bow Tie brand’s (currently-complete) lineup of cars, crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks. But all that will change once the Sonic, Cruze, Impala, and Volt are done for. Once Chevrolet has discontinued those four models, I wouldn’t be able to send my friends and family to the local Chevy store… at least not with a clear conscience. In fact, by the time GM discontinues those four models, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and other full-line mainstream automakers will have a broader and more complete vehicle lineup than Chevy, since Japanese and Korean rivals are not giving up on cars the way Chevy has.
And therein lies the danger of cherrypicking segments in which to compete instead of offering a complete product portfolio: the brand and its products are recommended less frequently, in turn causing foot traffic to decline at the retail/dealer level, in turn resulting in a significant amount of lost customers, both current and potential.
In fact, once Chevy discontinues the models in question, one would be more inclined to recommend that someone in the market for a new vehicle visit a Honda, Nissan or Toyota showroom, as all three Japanese automakers have comparable vehicles to the ones Chevy is canceling. For example, the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon are strong competitors for the Chevrolet Impala… the Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla rival the Cruze, and the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa are strong rivals to Sonic. The Hyundai Ioniq, meanwhile, is a fairly new rival to the Chevy Volt.
Once all is said and done, Chevrolet will only have two cars in its lineup: the Spark city car and the Malibu mid-size sedan. In other words, it will be fairly difficult to send our friends and/or loved ones to a Chevrolet dealership to shop around, because the choice will be significantly smaller than at one of the aforementioned full-line, mainstream rivals.
Only time will tell if the decision to drop the majority of its sedan lineup will be a net positive in the long run. As for us enthusiasts who are also consumers, we are sad to see these models go away.
Stay tuned to GM Authority for more Chevrolet news.