Unlike rival Ford, General Motors will keep its sedans (for now, at least)

2019 Chevrolet Malibu

Ford is cutting down its U.S. car lineup to focus on trucks and SUVs, leaving only the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active standing. So what will the Blue Oval’s eternal rival, General Motors, do with its cars?

GM will keep its sedans for now, but their future doesn’t look too bright. The automaker is primarily preserving its car lineup because it’s in a profitability sweet spot. GM has paid off the investments needed to develop its current-generation sedans and hatchbacks, but most aren’t so old that they need to be replaced. It’s unclear if GM will invest in replacements when the time comes.

“The segments are still significant,” GM CEO Mary Barra told WardsAuto and other media during the automaker’s quarterly earnings call. She joined Volkswagen in the dwindling chorus of sedan supporters. “Because we’ve made the investments, we need to deploy little to no capital going forward, so we view [cars] as an opportunity. What you’ll see us do is play very efficiently in a segment that, although it is declining, there is still an opportunity.”

Even as SUV popularity erodes sales of sedans and other cars, GM thinks it can keep its current lineup on dealer lots while generating a profit, something Ford did not think was possible with its much older lineup. But this may be a stay of execution, not a true reprieve.

On the same call, GM CFO Chuck Stevens said the automaker “has already indicated that we will make significantly lower investments,” in sedans in North America, Reuters noted.

GM recently announced a series of small updates for the Chevrolet Malibu, Cruze, and Spark. But it has been widely reported that Chevy will discontinue the Sonic and Impala. Buick only has one sedan in its lineup, the LaCrosse, as well as the niche-market Cascada convertible. In what may be the clearest statement that GM is serious about cars, the Buick Regal is sold only as a hatchback and station wagon, an attempt to compete more directly with SUVs on practicality.

Cadillac has spent the last decade and a half developing sporty cars to rival the German automakers, but the GM luxury brand is now being criticized for not pivoting toward SUVs. Boss Johan de Nysschen was recently ousted, but during the earnings call CEO Barra said that doesn’t mean Cadillac will change its strategy, reports WardsAuto.

So that’s GM, but what about the third Detroit automaker? Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has more or less done what Ford is planning to do. In 2016 it discontinued the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart, despite the fact that both models were relatively new. Among FCA’s mainstream brands, that left the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans, and the Dodge Challenger coupe amidst a much larger contingent of SUVs and trucks.

Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…