DETROIT — General Motors will continue producing the Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala large sedans until January 2020 at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan. However, production of the sedan is still slated to end in Oshawa, Ont., this year but the recent move gives Unifor President Jerry Dias hope.
The company was scheduled to end output of the cars in June as part of restructuring plans announced in November to realign North American manufacturing plants amid a broad consumer shift to light trucks from cars.
The change in production plans, according to GM, was made to match supply with demand and extend the availability of advanced technology features on the CT6 such as a Blackwing twin-turbo V-8 engine and Super Cruise driver assistance system.
“The critics have always said, ‘once GM makes a decision, they never change their mind. Throw in the towel, Jerry.’ Well, here’s a perfect example of them changing their mind,” Dias told Automobile News | tomobile.org Canada.
Dias said the news is good for the workers in Hamtramck because “they deserve jobs just like everybody else,” he said.
The extension does not change the future status of the Detroit-Hamtramck plant after January 2020, according to GM. The factory is one of four in the U.S. that is potentially slated for closure since GM said in November the sites would not be allocated new products after 2019. Oshawa, which also produces the Impala will not see additional work.
GM said it notified employees, suppliers and dealers of the change on Friday.
The terms of any U.S. plant closing must be negotiated between the UAW and GM, and the two sides will bargain over a new national labor pact covering wages, benefits and job security later this year.
The union’s current four-year contract ends in September, several months before CT6 and Impala output will end.
The UAW, in a joint statement from President Gary Jones and Vice President Terry Dittes, said Friday the announcement is welcomed and a “sense of relief’ for workers and their families. However, they reiterated that the union will “leave no stone unturned in seeking to keep” U.S. plants open.
The other plants potentially slated for closure include Lordstown Assembly in Ohio and powertrain factories in Michigan and Maryland.
Roughly 3,300 UAW members are expected to be impacted by GM’s plans, many of whom were retirement eligible or have been placed in jobs at other company plants. GM also plans to end production at Oshawa Assembly in Ontario by the end of the year.
GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright said in an email that the automaker’s Oshawa plant will still end all production after 2019.
Dias said he and the union will continue to work to save the Oshawa plant.
“They have committed to us until December. My solution has to be until September 2020,” Dias said. “Clearly we are still pushing GM to live up to their contractual commitment that they keep our plant open for the life of this agreement. We expect them to live up to it.”
GM previously extended production of the Chevrolet Cruze at the Lordstown assembly plant until March 8, a week later than initially expected.
GM President Mark Reuss and Cadillac President Steve Carlisle previously told Automobile News | tomobile.org that they were evaluating options to keep the brand’s flagship sedan on sale in the U.S. following its scheduled end of production.
U.S. sales of the CT6 dropped 8.3 percent to fewer than 10,000 in 2018. The Automobile News | tomobile.org Data Center estimates sales of the luxury sedan last month rose 1.3 percent compared to January 2018.
Domestic sales of the Impala fell 26 percent to less than 57,000 last year. January sales rose an estimated 32 percent.
The Automobile News | tomobile.org Data Center estimates there was a 79-day supply of the CT6 at the end of January, while there was only a 42-day supply of the Impala – far below what’s considered healthy levels.