"I think these actions demonstrate our continued focus on driving cost efficiencies and supporting the ongoing work to make General Motors more agile, resilient and profitable to position the company for long-term success," Barra told reporters on Monday.
All of the products assembled at the three plants -- the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Volt -- are scheduled to stop being produced for the U.S. by the end of 2019.
However, such future-minded and proactive thinking is a high-risk, potentially high-reward bet.
GM has said it believes self-driving and full-electric vehicles could eventually eclipse profits of its current operations. But the operations remain unprofitable.
Autonomous vehicles remain in testing and face a litany of safety and regulatory hurdles, while full battery-electric vehicles represent roughly 1 percent of U.S. sales this year, according to IHS Markit.
"This is the part that scares me across the industry, everyone focusing so much on new mobility -- it's such a long-term play," said Joe Langley, IHS Markit associate director.
Langley said the announced elimination of the passenger cars wasn't surprising, but the immediacy of canceling the cars "so quickly is a new phenomenon."
GM could use the announced plans as leverage during upcoming contract negotiations -- beginning next year with the UAW.