Sedans Being Phased Out
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Sunday December 9, 2018 – Sedans Being Phased Out – Right now people in the USA are not buying sedans in large numbers, at least they are not buying US built ICE powered sedans in large numbers. While the sedan market is slow, sales of SUVs and Pickup Trucks are booming. This has led both GM and Ford to announce that they are going to phase out their sedan line-up.
GM has taken a lot of flack from President Trump and members of congress after announcing that they will be laying of 14,000 people and closing between 5 and 7 plants. This is after they received big tax breaks in the last year's tax bill. Ford announced that they would stop making most sedans back in April but didn't add plant closures and layoffs so it has been less in the public eye.
In 1905 George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It seems that both GM and Ford should remember this as they did something similar back before the economy tanked in 2008. Ford managed to weather the storm OK but GM ended up in bankruptcy. Now both of them are repeating the past and I just hope they don't end up with a similar future.
From the standpoint of the plug-in market we will be loosing the Chevy Volt, which for many years was one of the best selling plug-in cars, at least until Tesla took the crown. In November GM sold 3,930 Volts which made it the best selling plug-in car that didn't have a Tesla badge on it. It also has the longest all electric range for a plug-in hybrid at about 55 miles. Production is scheduled to end in March.
GM will continue to sell the Bolt, which they classify as a crossover, although to me it looks pretty much like a hatchback..
We will also be loosing the Ford Fusion Energi and the Ford Focus electric while the C-Max Energi is already gone. This will leave Ford with no plug-in cars to sell unless it comes out with a new vehicle. It is rumored that Ford are working on a plug-in hybrid version of the Escape which is expected in showrooms some time in 2019. If this is the case Ford should have some sort of announcement at the Detroit Auto Show.
I do know of people who are looking for an all electric Minivan or SUV but so far I haven't heard of any plans to market one by any of the major OEMs. I suggested to one of my friends that he take a look at the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid but his was very firm saying "No more ICE for me".
It looks like Ford and GM have pretty much ceded the sedan market to Tesla, and Elon Musk has already said he may be interested in buying one or more of the plants GM is closing.
Personally I think that the sudden march towards SUVs will reverse again if the economy weakens, which it appears to be doing. If this happens then we may seen Ford and GM being left with uncompetitive vehicles again. What they need to do is learn how to make small sedans profitably. They are a gateway into the brand for first time buyers and if these guys go to Honda or Toyota then you may have lost that customer forever. Brand loyalty is a big part of auto sales and you need to catch the buyer early on.
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