The automotive industry changed in a number of ways in 2019 and General Motors was no exception to the trend, with the automaker introducing new models and making major upheavals to its business that will impact the company and the industry as a whole for years to come.
With the beginning of 2020 upon us, there is really no better time to look back on the biggest GM news stories of 2019. Scroll down to read what we think were the five biggest GM-related headlines of the past year and feel free to let us know what stories you found the most relevant in the comments below.
5. GM Closes Lordstown
While GM first announced it was going to close its Lordstown Assembly plant in late 2018, the facility didn’t officially shut its doors until this year. The plant shutdown was not only big news in itself, but it also triggered several major GM news stories later in the year. The issue of product allocation to Lordstown Assembly was a major contributor to the 40-day UAW strike (more on that later), while the sale of the plant to the newly created Lordstown Motors was another important development for the U.S. manufacturing industry. Lordstown Assembly formerly built the Chevrolet Cruze and employed 4,500 people at its peak in 2016, but GM decided to close it down as part of its restructuring effort.
4. FCA RICO Lawsuit
One of the more surprising GM news stories of the year was the automaker’s announcement that it had filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. GM claims FCA bribed the UAW in order to get a favorable labor contract with the union in 2011 and 2015. GM also believes FCA did this with the intent of weakening the company and forcing it to enter a merger, all under the guidance of former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. The Italian executive passed away in 2018 due to health complications from a shoulder surgery. FCA denies the allegations and plans to fight GM in court over the matter.
3. New Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
The debut of the new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban was important as large vehicles like these are major contributors to GM’s overall profits. The Tahoe and Suburban both ride on GM’s vastly improved T1 platform and feature a new independent rear suspension setup. The vehicles are also available in a wider variety of trim levels and variants from launch, including a new range-topping High Country trim. They will be built alongside the new GMC Yukon/Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade at GM’s Arlington Plant. The next-generation Yukon and Escalade will be revealed in early 2020.
2. UAW Strike
The UAW strike brought GM assembly lines in the U.S. to a halt for 40 days and caused parts shortages that affected production at its manufacturing plants in Canada and Mexico as well. The labor union said it would not agree to a new deal that did not include new product allocation for both Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown Assembly. The union eventually took an offer from GM to allocate its new line of large electric vehicles to Detroit-Hamtramck and close Lordstown Assembly. GM also agreed to build a new battery production plant in the Lordstown area, bringing back some of the jobs that were lost at the vehicle assembly facility. The strike delayed the launch of new vehicles like the C8 Corvette as well, and has resulted in a shortage of GM pickups.
1. C8 Corvette Debut
The arrival of the C8 Corvette was, in our opinion, the biggest and most important GM news story of 2019. GM first considered moving the Corvette to a mid-engine platform in the 1960s, so a car like the C8 Corvette has been a long time in the making. The car also has the potential to re-write the performance car rule book thanks to the incredible performance it manages to offer up for a starting price of just $59,995. The C8 will also be the first Corvette that will officially be sold globally, with GM planning to sell the car in Saudi Arabia, Australia, China and other foreign markets, including in a right-hand-drive configuration.