General Motors filed paperwork under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act with Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity this week, detailing events to come at the automaker's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. Starting February 28, 814 salaried and hourly workers at D-Ham, as its called, will be laid off. The 753 workers represented by the UAW will begin receiving offers in January to relocate to facilities in Michigan and Ohio, or buyout offers. As the 4-million-square-foot plant winds down through April 3 to a skeleton crew, the Cadillac CT6 ceases production in January 2020, and the last Chevrolet Impala comes off the line on February 28.
The loss of the CT6 represents the end of Cadillac's latest brief, and highly regarded, adventure into flagship sedans. It might also mean the end of the 4.2-liter Blackwing twin-turbo V8 engine, at least for the moment. Both casualties are calamities. The death of the Impala closes the door on a nameplate in production for 52 years since 1957, having started off as a top-tier trim for the 1958 Bel Air known as the Bel Air Impala, once advertised with the line, "Lets you know you're the boss."
As part of the new four-year labor agreement with the UAW, GM is keeping D-Ham open to build a new line of battery-electric vehicles, ultimately investing $3 billion and tripling employment to 2,225 workers when fully operational. The agreement described the coming EV as a "van" that would commence production in late 2021, but various reports say what's actually coming is a range of premium EVs in pickup and SUV bodystyles under the program codename BT1. The easy predictions put an electric GMC Sierra and Cadillac Escalade among the EV fold, but not until 2023, according to auto industry forecaster LMC Automotive. Before that, LMC claims an electric van will debut in late 2021, along with a battery-powered rebirth of the Hummer brand in pickup and SUV forms, also in late 2021.