General Motors has postponed plans to freshen at least a handful of vehicles — including the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and Cadillac XT4 — during the coronavirus pandemic, according to LMC Automotive.
"Most face-lifts appear to have some delay associated with them, especially those that hadn't really been fully completed. Where they were essentially getting ready for production, we aren't seeing any delays there," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting with LMC Automotive. "Nothing that I'm aware of at this point has been outright canceled."
So far, GM has postponed a face-lift for the 2021 Buick Enclave to the 2022 model year. A freshening of the Cadillac XT4 for the 2022 model year also was delayed, to the 2023 model year, LMC said.
A GM spokesman in March said updates to the Chevy Bolt, Traverse and Equinox for the 2021 model year would be pushed to 2022.
GM is prioritizing new and redesigned models over freshened vehicles "because for most of those, a lot of the work has already been done, meaning the cost has already been absorbed in many cases. And you get more bang out of a redesign," Schuster said.
GM lost about two months' worth of production for vehicles now on sale, after closing North American plants in mid-March to help protect workers from contracting the virus and comply with stay-at-home orders. Most plants were expected to restart Monday, May 18.
A top executive confirmed last week that some programs would be delayed as a result of the crisis but would not say which ones.
"How long they're delayed is somewhat a function of the recovery process and what that might look like," Barry Engle, president of GM North America, told Automotive News. "We really haven't provided any additional detail to a large degree just given the state of flux. We don't fully understand yet exactly what the future might look like."
Pickups and SUVs "are obviously very important to us in terms of volume and share as well as profitability," he added. "The other programs that we consider sacred are our electric vehicle programs."