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Auto blogWed, 12 Nov 2014 13:01:00 EST
General Motors is laying off about 510 workers from two factories beginning in January, and it could be months before the automaker needs some of that latent capacity to come back on line. A combination of poor sales and high dealer inventories are prompting the cutbacks, according to Automotive News.
The largest changes come at GM's Lansing Grand River plant, where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are made. An entire shift of about 350 workers is being laid off, but the automaker hopes to find positions for some of them at other nearby factories. The decision leaves just a single shift building vehicles there. According to Automotive News, the move is partially spurred by Johan de Nysschen's plan to make Cadillac a more exclusive brand.
The lost shift will likely return for production of the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro at the plant, according to the report, but GM isn't saying when that will be. A previous announcement from the Canadian Auto Workers union indicated that the Oshawa, Ontario, factory would lose the coupe in late 2015 or early 2016.
For a company with a long tradition of grand touring convertibles, it's almost unseemly that General Motors doesn't offer a properly relaxed four-seat convertible in North America. There's the Chevrolet Camaro, of course, but it's not big on rear-seat space and it doesn't offer that sort of serene demeanor that many open-air buyers crave. We're thinking of something more refined and, dare we say, elegant. Something a bit closer to the Opel Cascada.
The General's front-wheel drive convertible went on sale in Europe this year, and while it seemed like a natural fit for its Buick brand in America, it's never been sold here. That may be about to change, however. Back in June, CEO Dan Akerson hinted he'd like to see the Cascada available in the US, and now there's word from Edmunds that importation "could happen soon." That's according to an unnamed insider at the company.
It's almost unseemly that GM doesn't offer a relaxed four-seat convertible.
Following an earlier concept and successive teasers, Buick revealed the new Envision crossover a little over a month ago. The thing is, it was launched in China, for China. The question, then, is whether it will make the jump to the North American market. And the answer is: quite possibly.
According to division sales chief Duncan Aldred in speaking to Edmunds, Buick is looking into the prospect of bringing the Envision to the US: "We can't confirm anything, but clearly it is a very nicely designed and executed product that is very much a Buick," said Aldred.
If and when the compact crossover would appear in US showrooms, it would slot in between the smaller Encore and the larger Enclave. It would likely be offered in front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and mild hybrid configurations. Sources expect it to arrive in the third quarter of 2015 as a competitor to the likes of the Mercedes GLA, Lexus NX and Lincoln MKC.