Automakers switch gears as car sales plunge

Car companies changing what they build

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Overall vehicle sales are down, but car sales have plunged in recent years. Ford's first six months of the year are down 20 percent.

The decrease has car companies rethinking what they're building and doing things differently going forward.

Shopping is changing in the modern day, and Serra Chevrolet in Southfield is fighting more than just the shut-down road out front.

The dealership is ready to sell more and more SUVs, and General Motors is helping by changing what it builds, making buyers happy.

"It's my first car I'm paying for myself," said Brianha Shaw, of West Bloomfield.

Shaw, 22, picked up her Chevy Trex SUV and admitted she never even thought about buying a car.

"I can plug my phone into it and I can see everything," Shaw said. "I like that I can see over a lot of people because I'm small. I feel like (with) bigger cars, I can see the road better and it was good gas mileage."

General Motors is thinking about shelving half a dozen cars, including the Impala. IHS market analyst Stephanie Brinley said the whole industry is asking, "What's the best product to go to market with in 2022?"

That's a question that wasn't asked in the bad old days. Companies built the same vehicles and deep discounted them to move the metal.

There's also a battle of the midsize and full-size cars. General Motors builds the Malibu and the Impala, but does it need both? The simple answer appears to be no, experts said.

As long as young car buyers keep saying cars aren't on the radar, companies are listening.

Chrysler is already getting out of the car business, and Ford is looking to refresh its older cars, but has to do the same analysis. The good news is car companies are flush and can truly be nimble in this environment.

You can watch Rod Meloni's full story in the video posted above.

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