GM to Lay Off 1,500 More Workers, as its Car Sales Plunge Twice as Fast as Rest of Industry

GM to Lay Off 1,500 More Workers, as its Car Sales Plunge Twice as Fast as Rest of Industry by Wolf Richter – Wolf Street

Hounded by overcapacity. But other automakers do just fine with cars.

Starting in mid-November and going through the rest of the year, General Motors will close its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant – its only remaining factory in its hometown – and lay off about 1,500 workers, “people familiar with the plan” told the Wall Street Journal. When the plant does resume production, output will be cut by 20%, and 200 people will be out of a job.

Back in 1999, the plant produced over 200,000 Cadillacs and Buicks a year. This year, it might barely produce 80,000 vehicles.

The Detroit-Hamtramck plant has already been subject to temporary layoffs earlier this year when an evening work shift was eliminated – part of the 10,000 layoffs that were announced last December.

In July, the plant cropped up in discussions between the UAW and GM. At the time, six passenger car models were “under review” at GM. And there was talk that they might get cancelled after the 2020 model year. The models: Chevrolet Volt (the hybrid, not the Bolt, an EV), Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6 (the brand’s new luxury flagship sedan), Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Sonic.

The Detroit-Hamtramck plant makes some of these slow-selling cars, including the Volt, the Buick LaCrosse – dealers are sitting on 10 months’ supply! – and the Cadillac CT6.

GM car sales are getting clobbered not only by a change in consumer preference for SUVs and compact SUVs (crossovers), but also by its competitors. GM cars sales have plunged 18.4% year-to-date, while car sales of the rest of the industry without GM have dropped “only” 9.4%. GM’s car sales are getting crushed at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the industry!

But not all automakers suffer from the dying-car-sales syndrome. A few other manufactures are making cars whose sales are booming. These cars appeal to consumers and can compete just fine with crossovers. The largest one of these automakers is Subaru, whose car sales have shot up 9% so far this year, to nearly a quarter million units.

And Honda, in third position in car sales so far this year, behind Toyota and GM, has seen only a 2.5% decline in its car sales, compared to GM’s 18.4% plunge. So blaming the fickle consumer, as GM likes to do, for its dying-car-sales syndrome isn’t quite the right answer.

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Wolf Richter

In his cynical, tongue-in-cheek manner, he muses on WOLF STREET about economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, and other things, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Europe, Japan, and occasionally China. WOLF STREET is the successor to his first platform… TP-Title-7-small-200px …whose ghastly name he finally abandoned in July 2014. Here’s the story on that. Wolf lives in San Francisco. He has over twenty years of C-level operations experience, including turnarounds and a VC-funded startup. He earned his BA and MBA in Texas and his MA in Oklahoma, worked in both states for years, including a decade as General Manager and COO of a large Ford dealership and its subsidiaries. But one day, he quit and went to France for seven weeks to open himself up to new possibilities, which degenerated into a life-altering three-year journey across 100 countries on all continents, much of it overland. And it almost swallowed him up.