General Motors has a problem with crossovers. The high-riding family-friendly vehicles have effectively kicked their sedan brethren out of production. Quite literally, in fact, as GM plans to shutter five U.S. assembly plants next month to help ease a supply problem at dealers. With crossovers high on the wish list of U.S. consumers, sedans, and the people who make them, are starting to suffer.
Just last month GM laid off 2,000 of its factory workers due to the elimination of a third shift at two plants.
The entire closure of five plants, for up to three weeks each, is another sure sign that the crossover is the vehicle of choice for American drivers.
Shut for three weeks will be the Detroit-Hamtramck plant in Michigan and the Fairfax factory in the Kansas. Down for two weeks will be the Lansing Grand River plant in Michigan, and down for a single week each will be the Lordstown plant in Ohio and the Bowling Green factory in Kentucky.
Here are the cars affected by these closures:
Fairfax builds the Chevrolet Malibu.
Dealer inventories have reached an exceptionally high 86 days, and there’s simply no more room to cram more new cars onto lots while waiting for demand for return. That means workers go without shifts and assembly lines go dark. For perspective, Subaru has an average 23-day supply with the industry average closer to 70.
GM’s supply of trucks, SUVs, and crossovers is much lower than company standards so production of those vehicles will carry on as usual.
As we approach the end of this year and the beginning of a new one, keep an eye out for some heavy incentives on new GM sedans and sports cars. The company, and its dealers, are going to want to sell down that excess inventory fast.