Tombstone Date for Two Large GM Sedans Revealed

Just a couple of days ago, your author’s eyes were drawn to a brand-spankin’ new, dark red Chevrolet Impala sitting in a parking lot — one made all the more distinctive by black five-spoke steel wheels. ‘Tis the winter season, after all.

The Impala’s design always garnered a nod of approval from this writer, a person whose former editor once referred to as a raging GM apologist, though the model’s rear-seat headroom is definitely lacking. It’s also a Chevrolet and not a Mercedes-Benz. All of that aside, fans of traditional full-size sedans, especially those of the domestic variety, can mark two dates on their calendar. The Impala is leaving forever, and it seems the model’s Cadillac CT6 factory mate will not get the lease on life some expected.

Both products roll out of the underutilized Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, formerly home to the Chevrolet Volt and Buick LaCrosse. The latter model was the first of three Buick cars to earn the ax in this eventful calendar year (the Regal ceases its trans-Atlantic boat trip in 2020; the equally foreign Cascada is dead all around).

Early this year, it was expected that Detroit-Hamtramck would close — it was one of five North American plants targeted for mothballs by a cash-hungry, efficiencies-seeking GM. Still popular enough to continue production, the Impala and CT6 were expected to die before the end of 2019, though GM later pushed that back to January of 2020. In the automaker’s recently ratified UAW labor pact, Detroit-Hamtramck was saved, but it seems its remaining products were not.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the in-limbo CT6 will not live on at D-H or another domestic plant, and the Impala will die before spring hits Detroit.

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the state of Michigan, GM claims 814 hourly and salaried workers at D-H will be laid off on February 28th, marking the end of vehicle production at the facility. After that, D-H gears up for electric vehicle production expected to commence in 2021.

GM spokesman Dan Flores told the paper that some 753 UAW workers at Detroit-Hamtramck will be offered buyouts or relocation to other GM facilities in Michigan or Ohio; either way, they will remain on the payroll following that date. A few dozen additional workers will remain at the plant, with the bulk of those laid off on March 20th.

The company will begin making job offers in January.

As for the Impala and CT6, the Caddy will cease domestic production in January — just as previously reported. The model will continue in production in China, though it’s doubtful GM will opt to import any. The Impala will linger a bit longer, wrapping up its storied history on February 28th.

Following $3 billion in investment, Detroit-Hamtramck will come back online with 2,225 eventual employees. Exactly what vehicles those workers will build remains hazy, though an electric pickup is certain. A range of EVs will eventually roll out of the Detroit plant, including one that may carry the Hummer name. Stay tuned.

first published on TTAC

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