• Nov 8, 2008
Click above for more high-res shots of the Chevy Cobalt SS

Less than 2 months ago the headline here was GM ramps up Cobalt production to meet demand. It's amazing how quickly things change in this crazy environment. Just months after adding a third shift at the Lordstown, OH assembly plant where the Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5 are built, on Friday GM gave 1,100 employees at the facility layoff notices. The company isn't getting rid of the third shift but, it is slowing the build rate in line with current sales demand. Earlier this summer, GM was selling Cobalts as fast as they could build them and now all of a sudden, those sales have dried up. The spike was triggered by $4 gasoline, and even though gas prices have dropped to half that level, you might not expect sales to fall so fast. The real problem is the lack of available credit for financing. Most of the inherent customer base for cars like the Cobalt simply can't afford to pay cash for a new car. With credit increasingly hard to get, car sales have crashed almost across the board in October. Even the Honda Civic that sold 53,000 copies in May got just under 19,800 in October. Expect to hear more about slowdowns at other carmakers, including mighty Toyota and Honda, very soon.

[Source: Vindy.com]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      With all the slowdowns... instead of pushing out a car every second and then cutting shifts.... why not simply slow down the process (thus fewer cars come out) but allow for more time to quality check the product????
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's what the article said they did in this case.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Friend of mine is renting a 2007 Cobalt while her Protege is being serviced. It is a shockingly nice car, almost (but not quite) as nice as her last vehicle, a 2001 Civic. Its a lot nicer than the Corolla, however.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I know I have been asking this B4 but I really need an answer, what happends if GM declares bankruptcy or "dies"? I am buying a Malibu, Vibe or VUE this weekend so I really need to know. Thanks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is it just me or does "meet slowing demand" sound a little odd? Maybe "match slowing demand" would make more sense, because "meet" makes it sound like they are increasing something. Carry on.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Compared to the Civic and Corolla the Cobalt seems quite a mediocre car. Only the sudden increase in gas price would cause interest in it due to the good MPG. Hopefully the Cruze will help GM compete better against Toyota and Honda.
        • 6 Years Ago
        GM confirmed yesterday that the Cruze and the Volt will not be delayed. They both launch in 2010
        • 6 Years Ago
        I've compared them and I really never saw what the huge difference is, especially with the Corolla which has plastic coming out the ass.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This is dreadful news across the board, and as with other fields we sympathize with the workers and families who will be discharged for causes not their fault.

        Because their buyers cannot secure financing, carmakers are halting a lot of (most?) new product development. Ironically, Cobalt (and HHR and Astra and G5?) may be around a while. A line was drawn straight through new large SUV development.
        • 6 Years Ago
        But it was supposed to come in 2010, and after that GM said that they will postpone rolling out new cars by a year.

        Cruze was supposed to go head to head with brand new Civic, and now it looks like Civic will beat it to the market.


      • 6 Years Ago
      The Cobalt SS is one bad a$$ little car. In case you morons didn't see the latest C&D Lightning Lap test, it bested a lot of more expensive cars around VIR, including the Evo, STI, Elise, and so on. If I was in the market for hot little car, a Cobalt SS would be at the top of my list.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ed: Thank you!

        People are still stuck in the 80's with the introductions of anemic hondas and too-frugal-toyotas.

        I agree. I'm an American car-buyer for life, but American cars in the late 80's and 90's sucked. bad. But they have gotten better since the Omni and Citation. They can certainly compete, but people aren't willing to take that step into an American car again since their Reliant K broke down, and they dismissed all Domestics as lemons back in '92. I'm saying to Americans: if you're complaining about a failing economy, buy Domestic. We make Scotch Tape, Lint Rollers, Syrup and Toothbrushes. What else do you need? And for cars, why complain that there's no good domestics? Sure the impala is boring, but it's rated highly in dependability and priced right. The Malibu, Silverado, 4 lambda siblings, 300C, Charger, Ram, F150, Caravan, Tahoe, CTS, Lucerne, Flex, Focus and Fusion, and even the fugly Sebring and Avenger, to name a fraction- are light years ahead of their older counterparts. They have at least exceptional quality and if you close your eyes, you won't be able to tell them apart from any honda, toyota or nissan. Those are all cars of each type. You got compacts, crossovers, suv's, midsize and large sedans, trucks, and even minivans. Whatever car you may need, the Domestics have it. Support the economy or move to Japan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        no hatchback, no sale.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't you get it? It's still AMERICAN!! You can't buy AMERICAN you have to only buy imports and TRASH AMERICAN CARS. Praise other import brand style even if it looks like crap, but ANY car from an AMERICAN company just go ahead and talk crap about how "ugly" it is. Even if you LOVE how it looks and how it performs, if the car is AMERICAN just say "oh but it is not reliable" even if you have NO proof about that model reliability or even if you know that, that model is more reliable than similar import just trash it cuz it's AMERICAN!!!!

        P.S. I'm being sarcastic, and I'm tired of people trashing American cars just because. Yes, a lot of the 80's and early 90's cars were not good, but now they are better than imports and still people don't care.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is overly simplistic but...

      -Car sales are going to suck for the next year or so anyway.

      -Just shut down Lordstown and get crackin' on the changeover to Cruze ASAP.

      -It's impossible to time things perfectly, but maybe if GM is lucky, they'd have an all-new car to sell to people once the economy picks up and people start shopping again. If the economy picks up, and GM is still making Cobalts, that puts them at a distinct market disadvantage, since there are better options where people might like to take their pent-up consumer demand.
      • 6 Years Ago
      SO GM can't even sell efficient cars now?

      Does that mean that fuel efficiency has never been the issue in the first place?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seeing as "the Honda Civic that sold 53,000 copies in May got just under 19,800 in October" shows that not only have GM's sales of efficient cars slowed, obviously so have Hondas. Maybe Civic sales are down 63% because Honda is so grossly mismanaged.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Everyone is down because people simply aren't buying cars. All you can compare is the relative numbers for the current month. For example, saying Toyota is down 70% while Honda is down 63% isa bit misleading if Toyota sold 100,000 cars and Honda only sold 50,000 cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love american cars, and yes they have inproved, but american cars have never been, are not, nor never will be better than japanese vehicles. Its just the god honest truth. That maybe why japanese cars get so much rejection on this site.

      If Autoblog expects honda and toyota to follow suit, they are going to be waiting for years.

      • 6 Years Ago
      what would eventually happen, is not that GM would disappear, it would just get smaller in size and production. As the market for cars struggle costumer would buy less on car brand and more on brand quality, efficiency and price.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is how things work these days. Any cut GM makes right now is a step in the right direction. GM needs two things to be happening.

      1) Their dealers need to step up to the plate and find financing for their customers even if it is the local Guido the Loan Shark's High Interest Leasing. Getting an approval isn't as easy as faxing GMAC anymore but your survival depends on you going the extra mile to find other sources. A good finance manager can get ANYONE approved with some work the only thing that changes is interest rates and payments.
      2) The bosses at GM should be burning up the phone lines talking to major banks and trying to work out a deal with one of them to offer financing for GM vehicles. This isn't going to be an easy job either but the companies survival depends on it.

      Thankfully gas prices have eased so the big 3 may see more short sighted folks willing to buy an SUV again. But long term they need to be able to sell small cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There is no way Cerberus is going to sell back to GM that critical 2%. In fact in order for GMAC to qualify for some of the bank bailout money GM is going to be forced to sell them an even bigger chunk.

        I didn't say it was easy to find financing. I just don't believe it isn't out there at all.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Their dealers need to step up to the plate and find financing for their customers even if it is the local Guido the Loan Shark's High Interest Leasing. Getting an approval isn't as easy as faxing GMAC anymore but your survival depends on you going the extra mile to find other sources. A good finance manager can get ANYONE approved with some work the only thing that changes is interest rates and payments."--------------But that is the key, financing in it self is not a problem at all. You can go to any bank and get a car loan, only interest will be 10% compared to GMACs 3%-4%, the costumer can chose to get 10% from the bank or simply go and buy Ford, who probably offers better financing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love american cars, and yes they have inproved, but american cars have never been, are not, nor never will be better than japanese vehicles. Its just the god honest truth. That maybe why japanese cars get so much rejection on this site.

      If Autoblog expects honda and toyota to follow suit, they are going to be waiting for years.

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