As Sales Plunge, GM Might Cancel Six Car Models

Discussions with the UAW have started. Entire plants at risk.

GM is getting whacked harder than any of the major automakers by the industry-wide plunge in car sales, as Americans switch in ever larger numbers from cars to “trucks,” which include pickups, van, SUVs and crossovers. In the first half of 2017, GM’s car sales in the US plunged 19%, and in June 38%.

The rest of the industry (without GM) booked declines in car sales of “only” 10% in the first half and 9% in June.

GM is losing ground in the bitter industry-wide reality of dropping car sales. Inventory is piling up on GM dealer lots. At the end of June, some car models exceeded a catastrophic 180 days’ supply. GM has already cut production. There have been layoffs. Plants have been temporarily shut down, and entire shifts have been eliminated. But it hasn’t been enough.

Now comes the next step: Ending production entirely of some models, shuttering plants for good or converting them to making trucks, and fretting about jobs. And that’s already being discussed between the UAW and GM, according to UAW president Dennis Williams.

“We are talking to [GM] right now about the products that they currently have” at underutilized car plants, such as Hamtramck in Michigan and Lordstown in Ohio, and whether these models could be replaced with more popular vehicles such as crossovers, he told reporters today, including Reuters. “We are tracking it,” he said. “We are addressing it”

Six passenger cars are currently under review at GM and might be cancelled after the 2020 model year, Reuters “has learned from people familiar with the plans”: Chevrolet Volt (a hybrid, not to be confused with the Bolt, an EV), Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Sonic.

GM has already done away with the Cadillac ELR, a dressed-up 2-door luxury coupe version of the Volt, but a lot more expensive. Practically no one had bought it. But that was just a failed niche product. Some of the six models GM is thinking of canceling were its bread-and-butter.

Other automakers already cancelled cars for the 2016 and 2017 model years, including the Dodge Viper; the Volkswagen Eos, a convertible suffering from the decade-long slump of all convertibles; the Honda CR-Z hybrid 2-door; the Lincoln MKS, a nicely groomed Taurus; and Toyota’s entire Scion brand, with some models migrating to the Toyota brand and others, such as the Scion tC, just gone.

Oh, and then there’s Fiat Chrysler. It has wound down production of the Dodge Dart (Fiat comes to mind) and the Chrysler 200. It no longer makes cars at all in the US. The remaining cars it sells in the US will be made in Mexico, Canada, and other countries. It will only make trucks in the US, which are a lot more profitable, such as the Ram and the Jeep-branded SUVs.

But cancelling six cars, including bread-and-butter models, as GM is doing, is a sign that the collapse of car sales in the US isn’t just a temporary hiccup.

GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit, which builds Chevrolet Volt, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Impala – all four them in the list above of cars potentially on the chopping block – is a sitting duck. Reuters:

In the first half, it built fewer than 35,000 cars, down 32% from the same period in 2016, according to suppliers familiar with GM’s U.S. production schedule. The typical GM assembly plant builds 200,000-300,000 vehicles a year.

Rental car companies, which are the biggest car buyers out there, have found themselves over-fleeted due to industry changes, including the surging use of rideshare services even by business travelers [Answers Emerge: This is How Badly Uber Eats into Hertz]. And so rental car companies are trimming their purchases. Which leaves automakers with less of an outlet for their cars.

And even consumers that typically bought cars are more and more gravitating toward SUVs and crossovers, and even pickups, as Honda’s successful launch of its Ridgeline pickup trucks amply demonstrates. And as long as gas is below $3 a gallon, that’s unlikely to change. Gas might have to go over $6 a gallon and stay there before there would be a noticeable rejiggering of buying preferences. And even then it might not happen.

Now that Carmageddon has descended upon cars, and particularly on GM’s cars, the company would need to perform a miracle and come out with hot new cars that people would actually want to buy, even with gas below $3 a gallon. But miracles are rare these days, especially in the car business, and so the inevitable next steps will impact in dramatic ways the model lineup, plants, and jobs – not only at GM but also at its suppliers.

American icon Harley-Davidson is in an even tighter spot, trying to manage a structural decline in a terrible industry. Read…  Harley-Davidson Spirals Down, Announces US Layoffs, Builds Factory in Thailand

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  157 comments for “As Sales Plunge, GM Might Cancel Six Car Models

  1. T.J., not the real tj says:

    Time to buy one of the 6 going under. What does the 25% off sale start?

    • Kent says:

      The new Chevy Volts are nice looking little cars. I’d love to pick up the plug-in hybrid for my wife. Guess now I’ll have to hold off buying until the 25% off sale.

      • zoomev says:

        They are already under $30k before federal and state tax credits.

        They’ve been on autotrader for $28k-$29K since the beginning of the year.

        There’s a Premier listed right now for $27,799 with an MSRP of $41k.

        So, $27,799 – $7500 – $1700 (NYS credit) = $18, 588.

        How’s %54 discount sound, for a car CarandDriver says is better than the Prius in every way ( those guys have no trouble bashing America cars).

        • alex in san jose says:

          Better than a Prius? That’s a pretty high bar. Back when I had an apartment and a small business of my own and well, a life, I had a Prius and it was a damn nice car. 2nd generation Prius, now the 3rd generation ones are probably even nicer, and there are something like 4 different bodies and Toyota seems to have no trouble selling them.

        • dont start with me says:

          f*** car and driver, Toyota rules…
          one of the best built cars on the planet, period. Find out how many manufacturers license toyotas hybrid system, GM, Ford and nissan for sure

      • Wilbur58 says:

        Volt is a good car except for the back seat which only seats two. In the foot section of the back, the middle part rises up so that no one can sit in the middle of the back, making the car effectively a four-seater only.

        If that’s no problem for an owner, then it’s a great car in my opinion. But this was a serious design flaw.

        • RD Blakeslee says:

          Before you buy, look at the history of industry support for dead brands.

          If the car lasts ten years (most do, these days) getting parts can be a problem.

        • Kent says:

          @Wilbur: Thanks. Seating as few as possible is good. Means I don’t have to drive to lunch.

          @RD: Good Point. I’ll have to wait and get a second one cheap for parts.

        • Jim Graham says:

          Apparently you have never owned, or ridden in, a rear wheel drive sedan…

      • thelocalpragmatist says:

        How about a 25% discount AND ownership of the software?

        Without ownership of the software with the hardware, you just become another revenue stream.

    • RangerOne says:

      I doubt they would get cheap enough to let me pick up the Cadillac CT6.

    • Kia says:

      Stay away from mazda and ford all trucks …suvs
      Ill fck with a gmc Sierra..Toyota tundra…volvo suv…..

  2. alex in san jose says:

    More vans/trucks/SUVs make more sense … as the average Joe can’t afford a car any more and is taking the bus or train or riding a bike, those who can still afford cars are going to buy a truck for their business, an SUV to show off, or possibly a van because they see themselves losing their house and well, you can live in a van while you can’t drive your house ….

    In other words, people are not buying cars just to transport their body to and from work if there’s any other alternative. They are still buying cars if they have a damn good reason to buy one like small business, or they’re making boo-coo money and they need a large SUV to show off, or they’re buying a van in preparation for hard times.

    • jest says:

      Your right! here in Tucson I see many people doing just that! It’s easy to spot there living in the van! I am actually considering it if i can’t make something soon in a good trade!
      It’s already here, it’s been here for many years ..hard times!

    • michael w Earussi says:

      Anyone tracking motor home sales? They might be increasing. A lot of people are living in them out of desperation.

  3. Bruce Adlam says:

    Yellen get out the printing press follow Mario and buy our bonds at 0 interest rates to hell with everyone else it’s not our fault plus Yellen you will be gone in 18months and it won’t be your fault. Let trump take the fall it’s his fault and the fake press will back us

    • john b says:

      Yellen wants to leave with the record showing that she was tightening – she does not want the blame. ZIRP continues to destroy the economy by allowing zombie businesses to survive when they should have died long ago which paves the way for replacement businesses with better models to actually add to GDP/economy.

  4. Felix_47 says:

    Don’t forget the tax deductability of a “work” truck.

    • Frederick says:

      Felix I’m no accountant but I believe you can deduct car expenses if you can prove you use it for your livelihood Truck or car it’s really irrelevant tax wise

  5. Nick says:

    as Henry Ford said “pay your employees enough to buy your product. $50,000 trucks and suv’s are not affordable

    • Manuel Barradas says:

      Welfare state and big government jobs at Henry Ford’s time were minimal, now they are huge!

      With so many taxes leaves the people with few money to buy whatever !

      And the nonsense of this is: That even with so high taxes it is not enough!
      There’s always budget deficits which leads to high public debt

      • Wilbur58 says:

        Oh, please. Taxes are lower than ever for the wealthy. Get informed.

        This has nothing to do with government. Try the destruction of labor unions. That’s why people make peanuts. Welfare has nothing to do with this.

        Laborers in Ford’s day were making way more than an inflation-adjusted welfare recipient of today. People would gladly make today what laborers made working for Ford. And Ford paid them this well before labor unions grew strong.

        But keep in mind that back then, there transportation technologies were far inferior to today. So, he didn’t have the option of manufacturing his cars or parts cheaply in another country. And he’s be facing his laborers everyday.

        These are the factors, not government and welfare. That’s ridiculous. Stop it with the anti-government rhetoric that’s hurting our society from fighting back against the FIRE sector parasites.

        • Steve says:

          Not entirely accurate. Here is the breakdown by key segments and key taxes.

          Eff Fed Rate
          1979 2005
          Top 1% 37.0% 31.2%
          Lowest Quintile 80.0% 4.3%
          Middle Quintile 18.6% 14.2%

          Eff Indv Rate
          1979 2005
          Top 1% 21.8% 19.4%
          Lowest Quintile 0.0% -6.5%
          Middle Quintile 7.5% 3.0%

          Eff FICA Rate
          1979 2005
          Top 1% 0.9% 4.8%
          Lowest Quintile 5.3% 8.3%
          Middle Quintile 8.6% 9.5%

          During the 80’s the rates for top 1% were considerable lower. As you can see individual rates are relatively constant and FICA rates are considerable higher due to the no limit on the actual Medicare component of FICA.

          If memory serves me correctly these numbers don’t change much through 2014 either.

          As you can see the rates have dropped for all groups except for FICA.

          As an accountant, you are held to a higher standard for analysis, especially when it comes to taxes. This tired argument just doesn’t stack up to reality.


          As for labor unions they shot their own foot. When globalization arrived, whether one agrees or disagrees with our trade agreements, they refused to adapt. So they died.

        • Kent says:


          Why didn’t German labor unions die out?

        • Steve says:


          That’s a good question.

          My instincts tell me its part culture and part global macro economics.

          They certainly have better relationships between unions and business. Our business leadership (and I use that term VERY loosely) is short sighted and self-serving. I remember Smith at GM would beat the Unions down and then give himself a large bonus award. The optics are bad and the leadership fostered mistrust. Both lethal for future negotiations.

          On the economic front:
          1) I would be interesting in knowing how much Currency rates play in their competitiveness. I have always maintained that having the USD as a reserve currency is a burden for domestic business and provides foreign companies an advantage. Whether that advantage is material or not I am not sure.

          2) As for Trade. Trade agreement efficiency (my term) should be measured as the ratio of imports/exports between the two countries. If there is a long term imbalance, as exists today, the agreement is no longer efficient in effecting trade. We current run large trade deficits with Germany and have for quite some time.

          3) Government subsidy. How much of the total cost of labor are supported by government spending. My understanding, and I could be mistaken, is that German companies don’t have to cover health care costs. This is a huge labor cost savings. Germany (30%) has a lower corporate tax rate vs the US (39%). Plus the German rate is applied ONLY to German income while the US taxes Global Income (Unitary structure). Hence, all the inversions and complex legal tax structures for US based organizations (which is hugely expensive).

        • Wilbur58 says:


          As an accountant, when in a discussion about Henry Ford’s time vis a vis today, may I ask why you’re referencing 1979?

          Also, what in your data refutes my point that the wealthy are paying lower rates than ever? FICA is a highly regressive tax so please, let’s not even go there.

          On a dollar basis, if the wealthy are contributing more over all, it’s because they’re getting all the f-ing money in the first place. How can the middle keep up on a dollar basis when their wages don’t move, in contrast to the stratospheric wages of our job killers, pardon me, “job creators”.

          Next, thank you for catching yourself on socialism and acknowledging it. Our society is doing far worse at present than what a socialistic society would look like.

          I would also suggest defining our state as “financial capitalism” as opposed to “industrial capitalism”. Please check out Michael Hudson.

          The only thing that can fix our current state is a stronger government, not this weak one that is run by the FIRE sector.

        • alex in san jose says:

          Wilbur58 – You’re fighting the good fight.

          Personally, the minute I see an (S) on a ballot along with the usual (D) and (R) that (S) is getting my vote. And there are at least 100 million of me in the US.

          Ford’s $5 day translates to about a $100 day now. Keep in mind the masses working for places like Labor Ready or some shitty retail job are making more like $50 a day.

          I’m sure Ford paid guys with any skill more, I believe the $5 day was a minimum that any Joe would make, working for Ford.

          His book, “My Life And Work” is free online. Let’s just say he ain’t no Hemingway, but it’s fascinating reading and while he was paternalistic as hell, he cars 1000X more about his workers than present-day CEOs do.

        • KMOUT says:

          Jobs go where dey gotta go. Keep making thousands of regulations that drive industrial capital overseas and look where we are. GO TRUMP!
          Tear up half of the regs now.

        • roddy6667 says:

          Kent-“Why didn’t German unions die out?”
          I was talking to a retired engineer from Pratt & Whitney who used tom supervise the assembly of jet engines, both commercial and military. He said that the machinists in East Hartford made $30 an hour with extremely generous health benefits and pensions. They could get the same parts, with better quality, from Germany, where they pay $14 an hour.
          That pay in Germany allows the same lifestyle in Germany as $30 an hour does in CT.
          That’s why the German unions are still there. Also, Germany has national health care, and the manufacturer doesn’t have as big a contribution.

    • Gershon says:

      Testify, Brah. Corporations keep reducing “headcount” and off-shoring jobs so CEOs can goose their stock options and already obscene compensation. Then they wonder why those 94.5 Americans “not in the work force” (but not counted as unemployed, oh heavens no!) aren’t buying their products.

  6. nick kelly says:

    Can’t remember who put the list out: ’14 vehicles to avoid’
    Maybe Consumer Reports? But it was 2017 so should be easy to find.

    Anyway of the 14 (or so) 11 were domestic and three were Jeep.
    Patriot, Cherokee, Compass.

    • nick kelly says:

      Sorry: looked it up. It’s Forbes 15 not to buy.
      The Jeeps are Compass, Patriot, Wrangler
      Also Dodge Journey.
      Plus two types of Fiat.
      Some Fords: Lincoln

      Nissan Titan, two Mitsubishi, but most domestic.

      • ft says:

        Lost my first Wrangler in a divorce. Gave up my second so my new wife could have an automatic. Now on my third (which has one of the better automatics I’ve experienced and is surprisingly civilized inside). Never had more than a few minor problems with any of them. Knock on wood.

      • nick kelly says:

        To be fair to Ford, Caddy had at least one in the list. Maybe I forgot to mention it because its presence is sort of a given.

      • Spinna says:

        Got a wrangler. Sure makes noise, sounds like bits are gonna fall off , its a bit rough, drinks gas But it’s tough as old boots and rock solid reliable. The wrangler does not deserve the rep it’s got they are very very good cars. The reason they break is cause they are abused and badly modded way beyond what it was designed for.

    • Meme Imfurst says:

      Funny you say that, I see more Jeeps being towed that any other car. And, Harleys…they always seem to be on trailers behind big oversized(unnecessary for a doctor/lawyer/Indian Chief to have) truck with no business name.

      Sometimes the truth is right in front of you.

      Impala…nice looking car, but GM has a history of some really ugly cars….like the Cady.

      • Kent says:

        I live an hour south, down I-95, from Daytona. You would be amazed at the number of people from my town and towns around me that trailer their Harley’s up to Daytona for Bike Week.

        Why? Because they’re too afraid to actually ride them faster than 20 mph, and their wives won’t let them ride on the highway. I never see people trailering anything other than Harley’s.

        • nick kelly says:

          MLB has a ‘no motorcycle’ in some contracts.

        • alex in san jose says:

          Q: How’s a Harley like a houn’dog?

          A: Because they both like to ride in the back of a truck.

      • Kf6vci says:

        Errm, the age or attitude of the rich “Old Farts” is responsible for them trailering their pride and joy. Lots of big cruisers are out there with sill mileages like 2,000! I know such folks – their hogs were n o t broken down. They drive them to town or places to pose and ride just a few miles…

        GM sold its German OPEL brand to Peugeot. And like Wolf, I fear these coming changes will be permanent.

        GS has been paying 1% on its billions while lowly workers have something deducted from their pay checks.

        The whole tax code was written for the ultra rich!

    • Steve says:

      It was a Forbes 2016 article called “13 new cars to avoid”. They list the 2016 Jeep Compass. They say it’s overdue for a remake, and not very classy. Well I have a 2014 Jeep Compass Latitude. I Bough it brand new 3 1/2 years, and 75,000 miles ago. It is a barebones vehicle (power NOTHING, not even locks or windows). It does have a potent 2.4L motor and 6 speed auto trans. Sure, I could have gotten a tricked out one. But I got this one because it had a True 4-wheel drive system. It is totally reliable (only has needed required oil changes, air filters, and recent front and rear brakes and rotors). It drives like a dream on the interstate at 80 mph. With excellent snow tires, I have driven right through the most intense snow storms (2 this past winter on I-93 – I live in Northern NH). All that being said, the interior is CRAP. Cheap plastic everywhere, and the most uncomfortable buckets seats you ever sat in. 2 seat adjustments; forward and back (leg room), and the backrest moves up and down. A great driving vehicle, very dependable, but uncomfortable with 1950’s interior.

  7. Bobber says:

    Why would Chevy need the Impala when they have the Malibu? The U.S. automakers thinks it’s better to make lots of cheap cars to choose from. Toyota and Honda have had much more success making a few good ones.

    • Wilbur58 says:


      Toyota still makes Avalon, which is basically a Lexus for less money. They’re good cars. I’m not sure why they make them as I don’t think they sell a lot. But they keep making ’em.

    • john b says:

      I own a 2013 impala and love it – got it for a steal in 2015 for $16k with only 10k miles. Can’t find a deal like that now – hopefully in a few yrs when I need another car.

      The malibu is junk compared to the impala.

    • Tom G. says:

      I got an Impala as a rental car a couple of years ago, and I can tell you why it’s not selling:

      Fussy 6-speed automatic transmission that’s always in the wrong gear. Very slow to downshift, so if you mash the gas pedal, you get a “I’ll think about that and get back to you later” response.

      Modest engine power trying to motivate almost 4,000 lbs of car.

      Terrible interior ergonomics…I never really managed to adjust things so I was comfortable in the car. (Drove it for almost 6 weeks) The seats were basically padded park benches.

      Rear visibility so poor that it was actually dangerous to back the car up. However, to get a backup camera, you had to buy the highest trim level which added almost $10k to the price.

      With less than 5,000 miles on the odometer, the car already had a symphony of squeaks and rattles.

      In “rental car trim”, the Impala still had a MSRP of $27k. The Honda Accord LX is $5k cheaper and a much better car.

      A couple of trips later, I got a Ford Fusion. Aside from the insane touch-screen from hell, it was in almost every other way a better car. The only cars I have driven that the Impala beats were all made by FCA.

  8. Lee says:

    Another Obama ‘miracle’ – Government Motors.

    Yeah, well what do you expect – the company should have been left to die a long time ago.

    • Meme Imfurst says:

      Please no capitalism rules here, lets celebrate socialism, It is fun for the whole family and look how successful we are at applying it. The kids want Marxism, they even have Marx photos on their bedroom walls, well …what the heck, it is their country now. Go for it.

      Me, I think I will dump my car and support ride sharing. It is communal and a super utopian idea.

      • michael w Earussi says:

        Groucho or Karl? :)

      • Wilbur58 says:

        You think this was an act of socialism, saving a major corporation? Seriously?

        Our country is the furthest thing from socialism when it comes to the economy. This country is run entirely by the FIRE sector, the military, and other corporate monopolies and oligarchs.

        • Steve says:

          Yes it was an act of socialism. Whenever the Government begins to dictate winners and losers, ITS SOCIALISM.

          If we had a true free market system, GM would be allowed to fail. And then some eager beaver would come around and buy the plan and equipment and put it to a more productive purpose and either succeed or fail and the cycle would continue.

          What we have today is very close to socialism. We have government support of private enterprises via CB direct purchase of Stocks and Bonds, IRS favoritism toward selected private enterprises via tax code and we have regulations (most regulation is designed to favor large multi-national enterprises at the expense of SMB’s) and then there are the State sponsored monopolies.

          The means and control of productive resources are controlled by the collusion of Government and large multi-national private enterprises.

          The more I think, your right its not socialism, its FASCISM. Nonetheless, neither ends well.

        • Kent says:

          Actually, Socialism is when the worker’s own the factories and the capitalist shareholding class is abolished. We have nothing resembling Socialism.

          Communism is when the government owns the means of production and again, the capitalist shareholding class is abolished. We are certainly not communist.

          Fascism is when the government controls industry through coercion of the capitalist, shareholding class. We’re not fascist either.

          What we have is the capitalist shareholding class controlling government. Crony capitalism or maybe neoliberalism might be a decent term.

        • Steve says:


          Based on your definitions, we are not far from Fascism. I would argue Government does control a very large part of industry via overbearing regulations and taxes.

          Regardless we are NOT capitalistic anymore. Maybe small pockets. Too many corporate rent seekers via even more directed regulations.

          Cesspool is a term I prefer. But would not disagree with your assessment either. Not sure the swamp is drainable.

        • Kent says:

          Thoughtful replies to both of my responses to your posts Steve. Thanks.

        • nick kelly says:

          There are degrees of everything including ‘socialism’.

          Moving left on the spectrum: the coalition of the Russian Socialists and Peasant’s Party lead by Kerensky were overthrown by a tiny ruthless faction, the Bolsheviks.

          But there were open factions within Bolshevism until Lenin ordered them to dissolve.
          A far- left Bolshevik might object to personal ownership of ANYTHING, with just maybe an exception for tooth brushes.
          One mantra: ‘property is theft’ (Bakunin?)

          The variety of socialism where private means of production are banned and ‘owned’ by the workers is called ‘communism’.

          Most people and parties today calling themselves ‘socialist’ have disavowed this formula, largely because of its failure to produce enough ‘pie’ to divide up and it has turned out to be an ideal means to legitimize dictatorship.

          Sweden is a hybrid, usually called socialist, where private business creates wealth but the state evens out its distribution.

          ‘Dictatorship of the proletariat’ has in practice turned out to be dictatorship of at best the nomenklatura, the Soviet ruling clique, or worst, Stalin.

          With the exception of actual religion proper, (Communism is often referred to as the archetype of a secular religion) the feuds between different brands of socialism are among the most bitter known to humans of the same race.

          The poster demon is the one between the National Socialist German Workers Party and the German Communists.
          The original NSDAP manifesto could largely have been lifted from the Communists, e.g. only work could produce income.
          Thus the two parties were competing for the same vote.

          The Brown Faction in the NSDAP were basically German Communists but not all wanted to join the Comintern, led by Moscow.

          As Lenin ordered Bolshevik factions to dissolve, Hitler did this
          with the NSDAP at a meeting where he faced down the whole idea of factions and ‘captured’ the party. After achieving power he settled with its militant wing in a different way.

          When the Chinese Communist Party broke with the Soviet Union, the daily mutual vitriol included mentions of excrement.

          At a meeting of the American Communist party in the 30’s, there was a motion to expel a leading member for refusing to
          ‘smash the AFL-CIO’

          Socialism has an abundance of the ‘antagonism of near relations’

        • NotMyPresident says:

          @Steve – Overbearing regulations like those that protect the environment and attempt to save our world for future generations? Much to the chagrin of “purist free marketers” such as yourself…global warming is a real threat and SOME regulations are needed to prevent oligarchs from running roughshod over the rest of the citizens.

      • KMOUT says:

        Baaaaaahhhhhh, Baaaaaaahhhh,
        Herd me, I’m helpless!

    • Mike G says:

      GM has been building crap for decades, unless you want to blame a teenage Obama for the litany of horrors they shoveled onto the market in the 70s and 80s — Vega, X-Cars, Chevette, Oldsmobile diesels.

      • nick kelly says:

        In its time in the 80’s there was a 10, 000 dollar difference between a newish Caddy diesel and the gas model. Gas 13K , diesel 3 K.

        And let us not forget the 4–6-8 engine, which mechanics eventually refused to work on.

        GM gave buyers a 1000 off next car. ‘Do ya feel lucky?’

        It’s a little surprising the name hasn’t been retired.
        In 1987 Popular Mechanics (Oct.?) the usually Detroit- friendly mag asked: Who buys these cars?

        It had ordered for review the Lincoln Town Car and the Caddy Brougham D’Elegance. It really went to town on the Caddy build quality; ‘fit and finish of an econo-box. One door hinge had three shims’ etc.
        Then it was the Lincoln’s turn. It was described as far better build. Just one prob: ‘even our professional drivers couldn’t keep the car in a straight line’
        I had the same problem test driving an 80’s Grenada for a girl friend. It had a mind of its own. Spooky. We pulled into a service station and I said I thought something was wrong with the steering. It was fixed sort of by adding air to the slightly under-inflated rear tires.
        This made handling marginal. But the idea of having to take evasive action at high speed or on ice…

  9. tony says:

    To bad obama’s not still around he could do another car deal like before and make everything better. You will never get parts for any model they stop.

  10. 2banana says:

    GM will be bankrupt again….soon.

    And no obama bailout thus time.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I wouldn’t count on the “soon.”

      1. GM is making a ton of money on every truck it sells in the US (truck buyers don’t mind paying more). As long as GM can sell trucks in the US at these prices, it’ll be OK and making money. When the pendulum swings back to cars, watch out.

      2. GM is huge in China. That would have to fall apart too – and it can (see Hyundai, collapsing sales due to a diplomatic dispute between Korea and China).

      • nick kelly says:

        China’s got local friends all over eh? First Japan and its car sales got hit. I didn’t know about the one with South Korea. When you think of the grief that N.Korea continues to put the South through, China should be apologetic to the South.

        Then there is Vietnam, Indonesia etc. about China’s South China Sea claim to the whole thing. Is it the name? Does China know Mexico doesn’t own the Gulf of Mexico?

        Whenever my fellow Canadians bitch about the US acting tough, I ask them if they would prefer China or Russia as a neighbor.

        The World Court has ruled that most of the South China Sea is an international waterway, with the usual slices of territory to the multiple parties. China does not accept the finding.

        Canada claims the North West Passage as its own. The US say’s it’s an international waterway. The US has offered to let the World Court decide. Canada won’t go.

  11. michael Engel says:

    Alex is correct :
    The car co. should think about becoming a hybrid of basic transportation
    and real estate. Perhaps that’s what they do already !!
    Instead of making cars as playground for silicon valley, build cars
    as redundancy to the high cost of housing or rent.
    A car should have an area that can be converted to a flatbed with some privacy.
    The old, romantic and expanded back sit is back, but it is along the length of the car, replacing the trunk.
    Build cars, not as a status symbol, but with some “practical options”, in case you will become vulnerable financially, as it happened in 2008/9.
    Also, a self driving vehicle with a flatbed, going nowhere for 8 hours, in the middle of the night, for the uber sailors class.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      It pains me to see any of us settling for “mini” houses and vehicles as our abodes.

      • economicminor says:

        You know RD that it is not possible to have exponential growth in a finite system. More people equals less available resources per capital.

        With the size of the world population and the desire of our Capitalistic Leaders to spread Capitalism all over the world the reality is that each and every American ends up with less of the pie (except for the privileged few).

        Add to that the desired growth demanded by our government, population and our corporation while new finds of basic resources has not kept up with the growth in populations. Stores of resources world wide are diminishing. We are now eating “trash” fish because that is all that is what is left in the oceans. We are killing the bees to keep up the production of non nutritious grains. We a so many that we are killing all other life on earth and we don’t seem to understand that this is a death spiral.

        These basic factors and more are contributing to the demise of what was once the American Dream of a big home with 2 cars (SUVs now) in the garage and at least a few big screen TVs.

        Your comment about mini houses and vehicles may in fact be an overly exaggerated dream unless the world changes its story about population growth.

        • RD Blakeslee says:

          economicminor, I agree with what you say.

          Your post lists some of the causes of my pain

    • Kf6vci says:

      Hear, hear. Recently, i slept in friends’ RV. Had a good experience and the whole thing complete with toilet etc. could be bought for 3,500 €.

      In the UK, rooms do often rent for about 250 GBP / > $ 300 a week. A call centre job? Pay 25% for deductions, 50% for the room and ride a bicycle, or what?

      • economicminor says:

        “Recently, i slept in friends’ RV. Had a good experience and the whole thing complete with toilet etc. could be bought for 3,500 €”

        Then you have to find a place to park it. And find places to dump and fill… and know where there’s a propane fill up you can get to.. Funny but with the bottle cages at grocery and box stores and trade ins, and I’m sure the insurance, they are harder to find than you’d think.

        Then after a while, because they are much more complex than your house or apartment, when things break, you’d better be good at tracking down diagrams, schematics and then parts for them..OR laying out more money per hour than at your local Mercedes dealer. So many brands and models and sub models using unique things that when broken, you have to buy from the manufacturer IF they still have any in stock.. Some things you have to figure out how to use some newer version that isn’t at all like the older one…

        Owning an RV to live in has to be on the light side of living on a boat or barge in the canal. But it does give you a lot of freedom. You get a whole new group of friends and get to see parts of town you might never have seen..

  12. Frederick says:

    Do like Dmitry Orlov build or buy a houseboat Waterfront living made affordable

  13. brian says:

    Here in aus gas already $5 a gallon and no one buying gm products also a Toyota pickup is the biggest seller

  14. Pete says:

    I expect my nothing-special Toyota to go 250k miles, its over halfway there with only one significant repair in 12 years. The old S-10 pickup was a junker after 80k miles, never again GMC, never.
    Note to GMC : Don’t make or sell junk, thats how ya’ keep customers.

    • Frederick says:

      Have only owned one GM product since 1971 a 69 SS 396 Camaro Fast fun car but not very economical to say the least Replacedit with a Datsun 240Z great car GM has gone done the tubes along with the US middle class

      • Dan Romig says:

        The Datsun Z was a revolution in the sense that it made Americans look at Japanese cars as being of quality. Early 240Zs actually went up in value after being driven out of the showroom.

        Long ago, I was the happy owner of a 240 and a few early versions of the 280Z, but I ran my 280s with a 40mm Webber DCOE six-pack and exhaust headers. Datsun used Bosch fuel-injection from 1975 on. Fun to drive, but not the safest car on the road.

        I am surprised that the Buick LaCrosse may be on the chopping block as it seems to be a favorite car with the AARP demographic. Also surprised at the demise of the Scion tC, as it was a nice performing FWD coupe, but there’s plenty of competition there, and Toyota probably has a reason not to migrate that model to the Toyota brand.

        • Dan Romig says:

          One last comment on my Zs: they were the most basic and easy to work on cars. A night and day difference to today’s computer controlled gadget driven machines that are out of the reach of a ‘garage mechanic’ to repair.

        • Frederick says:

          Dan that’s very true I took the motor out as it was tired and I totally rebuilt it Valves piston rings and all the bearings Didn’t have much mechanic experience and my friends and family thought zi was nuts and that it would never run again They were surprised when after getting the beast back under the hood it started on the first try I think I got very lucky as I had half a dozen nuts and bolts left over

        • michael w Earussi says:

          Owning a Z is a good way to get speeding tickets. ;)

    • david p pape says:

      2008 Toyota Tacoma, 276000 miles. Cody, Wyoming. She is a runner.

      • Ethan in NoVA says:

        Better check the frame to make sure it isn’t rusting in half on that Taco

  15. Meme Imfurts says:

    Wolf, to me the reduction in ‘fancy’ car ownership follows behind the demise of Penny’s, Sears, and other business clothiers. Dress down Friday is 5 or 6 days a week now. Looking good, making that great impression, seems to be in decline everywhere, even in government offices. Some people feel that a fancy car makes them a target rather then an inspiration. I know millionaires who drive vans and rarely dress up.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      What I see from the millennials around me is that they pay attention to how they look – it’s just a little more casual, but it’s carefully-chosen casual. And cars simply don’t seem to matter as much as they did to my generation when we were that age. I was a car nut at that age. I had friends who were car nuts. And people would “love” their cars, etc. I don’t see much of that anymore. Today, people want to be able to do stuff with their vehicles and go places – and I don’t see that emotional attachment that some of us might have had (at that age). And that’s a good thing.

      • Kent says:

        When we were kids, our cars were tickets to freedom. And traffic wasn’t so bad that traffic driving became a burden. That’s all changed now. Kids can make contact through their phones, and cars are nothing but a burden.

      • Mary says:

        Interesting paradox. You make an effective argument that millennials don’t “love” their cars. But elsewhere you seem to be saying that people “love” their trucks, meaning will buy lavishly expensive pickups, not for any practical reason, but just for pleasure or show.

    • Frederick says:

      My friend worked as a credit manager( read bill collector) for a large building supply house in NY in the 70s and his boss the owner of this huge operation obviously worth a lot of money drove a twenty year old Buick and worn out shoes He was depression era if I ever saw it

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Some of us wear bib overalls and whether we are millionaires or not depends on mext week’s local land prices.

  16. mvojy says:

    Are we taking bets when GM gets their next bailout?

  17. Kevin R. Roberts says:

    It is bad marketing and merchandising. Did GM need so many overlapping brands and models? No. Did they need multiple dealers in a city competing with each other? No. Did they need so many features? No. The TV industry committed suicide in the same way back in the 80’s. Groupthink will kill a corporation if it is not addressed head on with bonus programs for all the workers, not just the idiots at the top.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      You just pinpointed some of the biggest problems for the US automakers. They were big problems when I was in the business. And they’re still big problems. They are numerous reasons why they’re tough to resolve, including the dealer networks of the automakers and state franchise laws that are designed to protect dealers.

  18. Glad 2B Gone says:

    Rail movements of Motor vehicles and parts volumes are definitely tracking lower than the last few years. I guess the production cuts are starting to show in rail movement volumes.

    • Frederick says:

      The implosion is right on schedule Now I’m reading about warnings to any Americans in North Korea( not that there are any other than Rodman) to get out asap Looks like something’s brewing You do know how poor North Korea/ Israeli relations are right?

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        Don’t know if it means anything, but F18 Hornet training flights were numerous over Southeastern West Virginia yesterday.

        Haven’t seen so many since the days leading up to Dessert Storm.

        • Thunderstruck says:

          “Haven’t seen so many since the days leading up to Dessert Storm.”

          Mmmm, a flurry of chocolate eclairs, luscious cake, or pecan pies. A veritable storm of sweet treats. When was this “Dessert Storm” you speak of?

  19. michael w Earussi says:

    This is minor compared to what it’s going to be in 10-20 years once self driving cars become common. Why own a car at all if you live in the city when you can just call a automated taxi? No insurance, monthly payments or repairs–this will cut car ownership in half and might put half of all car companies out of business–not stocks I’d care to own in the long term.

  20. James says:

    Would any GM dealer sell me one of these cars at a loss to move their product.

  21. Gershon says:

    Mandated Federal fuel economy standards are forcing manufacturers to sacrifice quality for fuel efficiency. They try to wring every bit of horsepower out of a gallon of gas-ethanol (another scam on consumers) and are ending up with internal combustion engines that need major repairs well before the end of their programmed service life. Subaru, for example, has been plagued by faulty rings that have caused excessive wear and oil consumption. Consumers are paying a heavy price for the bureaucratic meddling in cars, housing, etc.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Not sure Federal mileage requirements had anything to do with Subaru piston ring deficiency.

      In any event, the administration’s policy is to roll back the tightening:

    • Kent says:

      You must have never driven cars built in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Before all of that darned meddling.

      • mean chicken says:

        Granted the demise of leaded fuel was one of the best things that could’ve happened, that stuff ran very well and didn’t sour before you could use up a tank full like the current stuff will do. We never really needed lead though, it was most likely a cost-cutting idea bean-counters implemented which caused many other problems.

        ” I spent four lonely days in a brown (leaded) L.A. haze and I just want you back by my side” circa 1974

        Another couple of examples of dramatic improvement were the electric starter and electronic fuel injection.

        Honorable mention for the phosphate metal prep that began sometime in the 80’s, I believe.

    • nick kelly says:

      Subaru has had major probs with head gaskets. Bro had to have his done- 3K $
      Not sure how gov is responsible for faulty rings.
      Most outfits don’t make their own rings.

  22. economicminor says:

    I don’t know why so many people own big PU trucks. They are just to big for many of our roads. They aren’t very efficient in any way. They are hard to find parking for and harder to park.

    And I see so many with handicapped parking permits. What’s a person with a disability doing with a truck that you have to climb into?

    They cost a lot of money to buy, drive, insure and fix.. It is no wonder that so many American’s can not afford to retire.

    So many Americans are just dumb and will follow the stupidest trends and stupidest people. I am just astonished that we have made it this long without dying of this stupidity.

    • michael says:

      Please stop generalizing. Some folks do not want to drive small cars which are difficult to get into and and have limited cargo space. Smaller vehicles are usually less safe. While I personally do not understand why the average person needs a big Chevy 2500 super duty trucks, if they are willing to pay for the fuel, maintenance then have at it.

      I would suggest given our road conditions here in California a truck or an SUV is the best option. The roads are beginning to look like something out of “Mad Max .”

      • mean chicken says:

        Terrible roads are indicative of the need for another series of gasoline tax hikes no doubt, to subsidize additional Teslas for empty nester garages.

      • economicminor says:

        Terrible roads are a symptom that is not solved by more and bigger vehicles on them. Nor is it solved by more commerce i.e. more semis.

        We built the greatest road system in the world when oil was cheap and we didn’t charge people who used them enough to maintain them. Now they are in rough shape, needing lots of updating and maintenance yet financialization and endless war has transferred the funds into the hands of the few who have most everything delivered and seldom venture out on them.

        The people in charge really don’t care.

        So those who still have anything, buy big vehicles because the big tires go over the big holes easier.. Which makes their lives bearable for a while longer. But as you will see, as the end of financialization winds down, those with the influence will be fighting among themselves over the last remnants of the pie and our infrastructure will continue to degrade.

        • mean chicken says:

          “we didn’t charge people who used them enough to maintain them.”

          This is debatable!

      • roddy6667 says:

        I have a brother who is 6’5″. Cars are a problem for him. The door post is usually blocking his side vision when he has the seat all the way back. He usually drives a pickup truck, but he had a 1986 Escort back in the day that worked for him. Now he just needs to find size 15 shoes that aren’t too expensive.

    • Endevour says:

      True that. They use the trucks to pull the towable rv’s they finance for $300 a month and use 4 times a year.

    • Mattose says:

      to carry their montrous food pruchases at their suburban homes so that they can eat themself to death :)

    • IdahoPotato says:

      I found a bunch of Hummers driven by women with manicured nails parked in front of Whole Foods in Vegas. I don’t think they do construction jobs or haul big stuff.

    • Kent says:

      I have a friend who owns a few auto dealerships. He says there are 4 kinds of people: Rich people who want comfort and quality and are making an investment. They drive Mercedes’ and Lexus’. Sales people who have to put on airs. They drive Cadillacs and BMWs. Engineers who respect quality and efficiency. They drive Hondas and Toyotas.

      And truck drivers.

      The best plumber I know has roof racks on his Toyota Corolla to carry pipe. His tools are in a bag in the trunk.

    • kato nokto says:

      EconM; I have a basic Chevy PU 1500. Bought it close to 20 years ago, have less than 40k on it. My neighbor gives me the same gas guzzle grief. He has over 120k on his 6 year old Volvo. I think he has burned more gas than I… Plus guess who comes knocking when they need to move something… oh yeah.
      And finally, I periodically find notes under my wiper blade, apparently people really really want to buy my Chevy!
      Choosing a truck as a long term vehicle is a smart move.

    • alex in san jose says:

      Economicminor – This. My employer drives a big-ass PU truck with a diesel motor, it was expensive, he tried to write it off as a business truck and failed, so he had to pay the full $50k for the thing, and indeed, it’s expensive in all ways.

      I keep telling him he’d be better off with a van, but somehow driving a truck is part of his identity or something. I guess it’s a Baby Boomer thing.

      I’ve driven/ridden huge vehicles and small ones, powerful ones and piddlers, and it just doesn’t matter. Whatever gets the job done, and this is speaking as an oldest-cohert X’er. The younger people will tend to think even more this way. They might like a “fun” vehicle when they’re in the 20s or even 30s but that “fun” vehicle is more likely to be a Mini Cooper than a Camero.

  23. Nicko2 says:

    Owning a car is so 20th century thinking. I live in a global metropolis, and travel to other global metropolises… there is no longer a need to rent or own a car, rideshare/hire companies are far superior.

    No need to ever pay for parking/insurance/fuel ever again.

    • Randyman says:

      Well Nicko2, I’m not a globalist and never intend to be one or back globalism. I like cars, especially classics, like my 2016 Ford Escape (in Electric Spice Metallic no less) and my 2006 Nissan Frontier 4X4 with 163,000 miles on it. I like the US as a stand alone sovereign nation, strong economy, strong military, God fearing, proud to be American…….well, you get the idea. And yes, I expect to be ripped to shreds for this but I can take and stand on it til the end. So there – you have my thought on this and there’s more but I don’t want to write a book here.

  24. TheDreamer says:

    As an engineer one thing that irks me is that cars have essentially become all software, at the cost of the car itself. Companies in general are bad at building software as it is. I interviewed with car company R&D about a software job a while back but I didn’t go with them when I realized just how badly they understood the complexity and discipline required. They just were gold plating and scope creeping even in the interview. No interface with the hardware side. Very bad and shows total ig roance at the highest levels of leadership. Software is very hard to do right and requires discipline. Instead ‘business people’ come up with half baked ideas and shove it down r&d throat. Others won’t say a word due to job security concerns. I saw one article once that suggested more than 50% R&D cost for cars was due to poor software. Cannot find right now but here is a similair article

    One commentator (forget who, sorry) once said something like
    that whoever can build a $10k functional car with power steering and windows, AC and make it nice and high quality will win. No one is going to buy a car for 50k when they have 50k in student loans. But a 10k car that’s a different story. Particualrly one i can take camping or road tripping. That fancy dashboard they are putting in there to ‘appeal to mellenials’, well we are not impressed and it probally added like 10k cost per unit due to software project overrun and very poor business decisions. You likely cant be software free but thes orgs just dont have what it takes to do it well. My whole career has been around this issue and problems in R&D that ultimately are rooted in business problems. You’d be amazed how easy it is to save 10s of millions or more in r&d but they just don’t have a clue and pass it to the consumer and act suprised when no one buys. Young people are broke, we hate debt with a passion due to student loan trauma and we’re not going to look at anything that costs anything.

    Here’s a short comedy video about mellenials popular. Guy comments on a new chevy. Listen to what the marketing guy says vs the peoples comments. This highlights an entire industry that markets to an imaginary generation.

    The other trend that is definitely coming is the pendulum of analog to digital is clearly swinging back towards analong and decentralization. My undergrad was one of the first 15 to get the facebook. Now almost all of my peers have abandoned the platform. When I inform fellow grad students or other young adults i have abandoned social media for the most part they exclaim they didnt know they were allowed and promptly do the same and cast off the chains. The fad is ending and will likely just stop being cool one day very soon.

    • mean chicken says:

      Not to mention, using OBDI protocol I am able to monitor every sensor on the vehicle and now with OBDII only a few sensors are accessible within in my price range limit. Talk about going backwards!

      I used to transplant drive trains as a hobby, now it’s near impossible to accomplish.

      • TheDreamer says:

        Yes the stanards have gotten worse and it was by design. They wanted to make it harder to repair so to force people to pay for maintence. What kind of twisted soul thought that a good idea i do not know. It may work once but after someone is burned you will lose a customer for life.

        This is particualrly bad in farm equipment where i hear older presoftware models are at a premium to the new as you can actually fix them in an expeident manner. You cant wait 2 weeks for a tech to come put a patch on a combine during harvest. That needs to be fixed yesterday. Lurking on farming forums will hear some real horror stories about this new fancu equipment. Everyone downgrades as soon as they can. No wonder no one buys any new Deere machines. Their leadership appears clueless.

        We talked about this quite a bit of software in complex mission critical applications in my masters of software engineering. Here is one article i think we used. It is quite dated so assume the codebase haz grown like mad and is impossible to maintain. This will likely get much much worse unless they purge leadership and put people in who know how to do this. From IEEE

        Here is a good article about how Deere is destroying itself with these practices.

        If I can ever get a farm of my own, you better believe I will do my best to avoid such products. There is a reason i drice a 2000. I don’t mind fixing her up. The right to repair movement is trying to fight back but hasn’t seemed to entered the collective conciousness in a big way yet. More of an engineering thing in my experience. Maybe that’ll change.. hopefully. Planned obsolescence jumped the shark long ago in a bad way.

    • TheDona says:

      The Dreamer, thanks for the utube link. Mahk is hilarious! I had to watch a few more.

  25. Ken says:

    Economicminor. I agree with you on the PU trucks. Why? Recently watched an older gentleman park in the handicapped space. Four wheel drive and hign up. He had difficulty getting out and then moving to get in to the restaurant. However he can drive what he wants to.

    • Frederick says:

      Ken it’s obscene and even the thought of it makes me angry These people or many of them are selfish entitled slobs who could care less about the truly disabled Same goes for all the grifters on SS disability and yet hang out at Starbucks and order five dollar lattes The country has gone to heck in a handbasket

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Fredrick, re-read Ken’s comment. The guy had trouble getting around, and getting in and out of the truck. He wasn’t cheating. He had a real problem. Ken was saying that the guy should have had a more practical vehicle that’s easier to get in and out of.

  26. Bill says:

    I have a ’94 four-cylinder automatic Camry with 216K bought new. If and when that dies, I’d opt for a 4-cylinder Tacoma. My hope is that it might have fewer add-ons (airbags, sensors, etc.), might be longer lasting, and might be easier to service than sedans.

    On the other hand, in my urban city environment, bicycles, my old BMW motorcycle, and ride-sharing seem increasingly more attractive as the years pass and the costs of auto ownership continue to rise.

  27. AGXIIK says:

    I drive the GMC Hummer Hangover SUX.
    It’s 4 tons of 8 cylinder high HP ATV bar and grill with a place in the back to sleep it off.
    Of course the FStix at GM will cancel it.

  28. Drango says:

    The fact that GM is acting preemptively to reduce the product line is a good thing. In the 80’s, Roger Smith created Saturn to compete with imports, as if the answer to GM’s problems were to create yet another division. Now GM is getting rid of Opel, and may have to do the same thing in China once that bubble pops. It will be intesting to see how Toyota and Honda respond when the Yen reverts to its natural exchange rate, and they are finally forced to compete on a level playing field. It’s easy to make money when your currency is 30% undervalued. Give that benefit to Ford and GM, and let’s see how long it takes for the Japanese car industry to collapse.

  29. ft says:

    A lot of people seem to look forward to self-driving cars and ride-sharing as a desirable part of our future. Save us money and hassle. I’m not so sure. I think maybe they should brush-up on a phenomenon called tragedy of the commons. They should understand that, no matter what form it takes, transportation has costs that will be paid by the user or shuffled off onto the taxpayer. Except for those who figure out how to game the system, it is liable to actually cost more than what we pay now. If I must pay, I prefer to have private ownership and control.

    • T.J., not the real Tj says:

      I’m completely excited about OWNING a self driving car. I have no desire to be dependent on ridesharing.

      I’ll always keep a traditional vehicle so I can drive myself out to my family in the country when the inmates take over the urban/suburban asylum I live in now.

      • michael w Earussi says:

        The nice thing about self-driving cars is that you don’t need to own them, they are taxis on demand.

      • Jim Graham says:

        “”I’m completely excited about OWNING a self driving car. I have no desire to be dependent on ridesharing.””

        Amen to that.

        I really LOVE to drive. Long trips (to me) – 10 /15 hours – that require night driving have been the most enjoyable,

        As I grow older and my NIGHT sight fails I do not enjoy night driving as I have in the past. The self driving car could keep me enjoying long trips for a long time….

  30. Ron says:

    “On average, monthly lease payments are 23 percent lower than monthly financing payments. The biggest difference between monthly lease and financing payments can be found with compact cars (30 percent), full-size pickup trucks (29 percent) and midsize cars (28 percent). While the majority of vehicles leased continue to be in the luxury segment, the most significant growth is in large vehicles, with compact trucks (214 percent), large trucks (142 percent) and large crossover SUVs (96 percent) leading the way.” From Edmunds
    Most people do not buy vehicles they lease which is another transformation of the auto market from ownership to renting. Trucks today are luxury vehicles unless sold and delivered to the commercial end users. Tires and maintenance on these vehicles will BK most people that buy them along with the so called crossover vehicles which again are pricy and expensive to maintain.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      The entire industry and even the government want you to lease. We made a TON of money on leases. And customer think they’re getting a good deal.

      If you lease vehicles, you make these payments your entire life. If you buy, you make payments for the duration of the loan, and then the vehicle is free and clear, and for a bunch more years, you have a car and zero payments :-)

      When you lease, you have to pay sales taxes every two or three years when you lease a new vehicle at an ever higher price (that’s why governments love leases). When you buy, you pay sales tax only once over the many years you own the car.

      Take a 12-year period: 4 new leases (for 3 years each) vs. 1 purchase (with 60-month loan). And figure out the costs over those 12 years, including taxes and the amount you’ll get for your 12 year-old vehicle. It doesn’t even compare. (OK, after a while, you’re driving an older vehicle, but that’s part of the savings).

      • Bill says:

        In some states, both owners and lessees also pay an annual excise tax, which can be substantial.

      • michael w Earussi says:

        Except that by the time you’ve paid off the car it’s starting to fall apart so you’re or stuck with monthly repairs instead of payments. You just have to decide which is worse.

        Besides, within 10 years when self-driving cars dominate, owing becomes unnecessary. I’m looking forward to that day when there are no more monthly car payments or repair bills, no car insurance and no gasoline bills.

        Of course, the car industry as we know it will basically collapse within 20 years when owing a car becomes as much of a luxury (and rarity) as owing a horse is now.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          The only time in my life when I didn’t own a car was when we were living in Manhattan (not needed and too expensive to park and insure). When we needed a car to go someplace over the weekend, I’d walk down a block or two to one of the rental agencies and rented one. Saved a ton of money. It was great and worry-free.

          I’d love to do that again. If self-driving cars become reality and allow my wife to commute to work cost-effectively, we might switch to that system. But that’s still a little ways off, I think.

        • randyman says:

          You can take those self driving vehicle and trash them for eternity – I detest the idea beyond words. I like to drive and like my car. You can have it!

      • roddy6667 says:

        Some people need/want a new vehicle every 2 years, usually for ego-stroking reasons. Leasing is the cheapest way for them to go. They are all about flash, not the cost per mile over ten or more years.
        When I sold Toyotas, a lease was an easy sale with the monthly payment crowd.

      • Jim Graham says:

        Lease vs own.

        In my opinion – – IF you do not have a tax deduction reason to lease you are throwing away your money. Pure and simple….

        Years ago I worked in a dealership that leased a lot of cars. LOTS of them. The department I ran handled all the paperwork, billing etc for the car leases. One day I noticed 2 new leases of IDENTICAL CUSTOM ORDERED cars to one doctor – his and his wifes. The doctors lease cost was TWICE what the cost was to his wife..?? Guess where the tax advantage was at…

  31. Citizen AllenM says:

    Regarding the size of the trucks- the biggest problem with vehicles in America is size- without going to old folks cars, an over six foot tall average obesity male with a bad back will almost always buy a truck, or a SUV- why? Headroom. Can’t fit tall people with any level of comfort in a small vehicle. My six foot five son is already having problems in our volvos as a passenger, yet alone as a driver to operate small vehicles.

    My practical small limit has always been a VW golf- I once got in a small honda convertible and could drive looking over the windshield.

    So sometimes vehicle size is simply a reflection of individual reality.

    Why do we have a shortage of used cheap trucks?

    10 years old, baby: Option #3 “Permanent Import” (Nationalized Vehicle)
    Permanent imports are regulated by and require a permit from the Secretary of Economy, but there is a special provision for used vehicles that can be imported without a permit. These vehicles satisfy the following rule: they are exactly 10 years old from the year of import and are manufactured in NAFTA countries. For example, in 2010, cars built in 2000 can be imported permanently without a permit if manufactured in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. Either with or without a permit, the procedure for permanent importation has to be done using a customs broker. The importer can hold an FM3 or FM2 visa or be an inmigrado or a Mexican citizen.

    Mexican customs (called Aduana in Spanish) uses the Bank of the Mexican Army (Banjercito) for payment of the first two options. After payment, Banjercito will issue a special sticker that allows the car to be driven legally in Mexico. Without the sticker, the vehicle will be considered illegal and is subject to confiscation by customs.

    So, high demand from returning migrants for these trucks- bring them back cheap to the old homestead.

    And newer if you have enough connections to get them admitted cheap (usually bribing or a relative in registrations).

    This is why Mexico looks like a used car lot- it is America’s used car lot.

  32. James Stamulis says:

    When Obama had his communist takeover of GM and Chrysler i said that i would never buy another until the government no longer owns the company and nothing will change that. My previous 5 cars were GM. Even after Obama took them over they went bankrupt as everything government runs goes to hell.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “Communist takeover?” Both companies collapsed and went bankrupt. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors. The government provided funding (including a Debtor-in-Possession loan) to help the new and much smaller entities (the “New GM” as it was called) emerge from bankruptcy. During that process, Fiat bought the New Chrysler. There was plenty wrong with how this was done, how some creditors were given preference over others against established rules, etc., but it wasn’t a “communist takeover.”

      However, I understand that – and why – you don’t want to buy their products.

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        ” …some creditors were given preference over others against established rules …” – Wolf

        Not even creditors and not having any relationship to “rules” at all:

        The United Automobile Workers Union given 19% of the stock.

    • nick kelly says:

      The bail out for GM was signed by Bush just before Obama took office.
      Bush said of this: I didn’t want him to have a crisis on his first day.

      True or not, the outfit was toast before Obama.

  33. mushroom says:

    I have always bought 8 passenger/pickup trucks with a roof over the back i.e.Chevy suburbans or now much better Ford expedition EL’s. wonderful vehicles, very safe, low maintenance, great tire mileage with Michelin LTX’s. Only drawback is poor gas mileage around town especially with a/c on.

    Good luck all of you especially “now”.

  34. IronForge says:

    They should keep the Volt alive; and adapt the Integrated Electric Propulsion (IEP) Drivetrain for more Models.

    If people are buying TSLAs and PHEVs, they should be buying Volts, Bolts, and ELRs.

    With the expected underperformance of TSLA Model 3 Production and Sales combined with moderate Oil Px, PHEVs and HFCVs should sell well in California and most mild climate Metropolitan Areas.

  35. Baldski says:

    The whole concept of car ownership makes no economic sense. A car driven at 25 mph x 4000 hours will tally 100,000 miles on the odometer. 4000 hours equals six months operating time. So, why would a sane person spend upwards of $30,000 for something that he will throw away after using it for six months??

    • nick kelly says:

      Hmm. Let me think. Got it! Because he doesn’t drive it 24 hours a day at 25 mph! (180 days x 24)

      If he drives an hour a day it takes him 10 years to get 4000 hours operating time.

      Gee I’m smart. Anymore softballs?

      • roddy6667 says:

        Let’s use his math on a house purchase. How many hours are you inside the house? Why should you pay for time that you are away at work, recreation, vacation, or traveling?
        Let’s put his math to work on a suit. Do you wear it 24 hours a day, every day of the year?
        Funny. Must be the New Math they teach these days.

  36. roddy6667 says:

    The Buick Lacrosse and the Cadillac XTS are big sellers here in China. I’ll bet they keep making them here. In Shanghai they are building a new Escalade factory.
    GM makes and sells more cars in China than in America. GM also makes more profit in China than in America, even though it has to split the money with a Chinese partner company.
    America is too expensive to compete.

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