SUVs ‘a necessary evil’, but sedans not dead – GM design boss

The head of design at General Motors, Australian Michael Simcoe, doesn’t think SUVs are as pretty as sedans but they’re here to stay. Oh, and he also reckons sedans aren’t going anywhere.

“SUVs are a necessary evil. They’ve taken over the market because as the world around you starts to grow, you want to be part of it as well,” said Mr Simcoe.

“Everybody else is sitting higher in vehicles, you’ve got to do it too. It’s a comfortable, rational purchase.

“For those who can afford it though, there’s always a second car that isn’t an SUV.”

Such a second car could be a sedan, a body type General Motors has been progressively moving away from.

It recently axed the Chevrolet Malibu, the bow tie brand’s last sedan in the US. The Buick brand no longer offers sedans there either, while Cadillac is down to the CT4 and CT5.

Mr Simcoe said there’s room in the Cadillac lineup for an electric replacement for at least one of its current sedans.

“We will certainly have a sedan in the portfolio at some point in the future,” said Mr Simcoe. This is in addition to the Celestiq flagship, which is actually a large liftback.

Cadillac is transitioning to being an electric-only brand, and has been busy debuting new model after new model but all, bar the Celestiq, have been electric SUVs.

Its CT4 has been in production since 2019 and has yet to receive an update, and is a heavy overhaul of the 2013 ATS.

The CT5 has also been in production since 2019, though it recently received a mid-life update.

“Sedans aren’t dead,” Mr Simcoe added.

“Part of that is obviously, they’re way better things to look at and people enjoy driving them.

“But also right now, think about 40-45 per cent of the efficiency of a battery-powered vehicle is the aerodynamics, so if you’re pushing a brick through the air it’s using up a lot of energy.

“Take a low vehicle, whether it’s a sedan or a low CUV [crossover], whatever, it’s a much easier thing to do.”

While GM has discontinued almost every sedan model in the US market, the body style lives on in its portfolio in other markets – if not yet with electric power.

In China, for example, there’s a range of Buick sedans: the small Verano; the Regal, closely related to the defunct Holden ZB Commodore; and the flagship LaCrosse.

Chevrolet still sells the Onix, Aveo, Cavalier/Monza and Cruze sedans for markets like China, Mexico and Brazil.

GM also developed a second generation of its Cadillac CT6 sedan for China, even though it axed this model in North America back in 2020. This model debuted in 2023.

MORE: Coupe SUVs are the shape of things to come… but sedans are coming back

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