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Impala goes back to RWD in '09

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Moving Up?

Impala Goes Back to RWD in '09

By RICK KRANZ | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek | Published 11/13/06, 8:04 am et

Posted Image

Sketch by C&G Member Yellowjacket894

Link to Original Article@Autoweek

DETROIT -- Chevrolet's Impala is going rear-wheel drive in 2009.

General Motors sources say the next Impala will share a rwd platform with the upcoming Chevrolet Camaro, which will be built late in 2008 in Oshawa, Ontario. Impala production will start several months later, a GM source said.

The rwd Impala also will be distinguished from the 2007 model by its long wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs. The car will be similar in length and width to the front-drive 2007 Impala. The passenger compartment will be larger than that of the 2007 Impala, the source said.

The rwd platform is being engineered by GM's Holden subsidiary in Australia.

GM has yet to decide whether to maintain the Impala as a mass-market sedan or move it upmarket. An upscale Impala would enable GM to avoid a market overlap with the restyled and re-engineered 2008 Chevrolet Malibu.

The 2008 Malibu will debut at the Detroit auto show in January. While the Malibu's sheet metal is unique, the car is similar to the Saturn Aura in shape and size.

The front-wheel-drive Malibu could steal sales from the Impala, GM insiders admit. And some buyers may prefer a front-drive Chevrolet sedan.

The 2008 model will be larger than the current Malibu and will have a more luxurious interior.

So will the Impala go upscale?

"It is too early to tell," the GM source said. "With Malibu's introduction next year and market analysis and trends and things like that, I think anything I said about that would be speculative."

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Sweet.. I'm sure their will be the inevitable police package version and a V8 SS... if they want to do 'upscale' like this article suggests, bringing back the Caprice name for such a trim level would be a Good Thing, IMHO...

Edited by moltar

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so is this an "official" announcement that impy's will be RWD in 09? (not that we needed one really)

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so is this an "official" announcement that impy's will be RWD in 09?  (not that we needed one really)

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I'd say so, but we already knew that anyways.

I think GM will be able to milk more sales out of a larger FWD Malibu that will cater to both current Malibu and Impala buyers and a new RWD Impala that will cater to everyone who has been dying for GM to bring RWD back and the increased sales to taxis, police departments, and other fleet agencies.

EDIT: Also, the Impala should not move too far upscale. If it goes to $35k, where does that leave the Pontiac and Buick sedans? If we have a Chevy going up to $35k and a Cadillac starting at $35k (CTS), why would anyone choose a mildly-optioned Buick or a slightly more optioned Pontiac over a fully-loaded luxurious Chevy or a base NG CTS?

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Also, the Impala should not move too far upscale. If it goes to $35k, where does that leave the Pontiac and Buick sedans? If we have a Chevy going up to $35k and a Cadillac starting at $35k (CTS), why would anyone choose a mildly-optioned Buick or a slightly more optioned Pontiac over a fully-loaded luxurious Chevy or a base NG CTS?

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Good point. It might squeeze Pontiac and Buick further at those prices... Unless Pontiac an Buick say "to Hell with volume" and aim straight for niche markets both styling- and performance-wise (which I don't believe they will, at least in the short-to-medium term).

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Well, with the Malibu finally about to get some style and also size comparable to or larger than an Impala, there really will be no more reason for a mass market FWD Impala. Move it up market just a tad--not too expensive, think Charger/300 pricing--and keep the trim and drivetrain of the best stuff they can, and it should be a winner.

If done right, it'll definately give all the owners of 90's GM B & D bodies who just have not had anywhere newer to go since then...and attract a newer breed looking for more style and excitement than a typical rental Impala could ever muster.

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I'd say so, but we already knew that anyways.

I think GM will be able to milk more sales out of a larger FWD Malibu that will cater to both current Malibu and Impala buyers and a new RWD Impala that will cater to everyone who has been dying for GM to bring RWD back and the increased sales to taxis, police departments, and other fleet agencies.

EDIT: Also, the Impala should not move too far upscale. If it goes to $35k, where does that leave the Pontiac and Buick sedans? If we have a Chevy going up to $35k and a Cadillac starting at $35k (CTS), why would anyone choose a mildly-optioned Buick or a slightly more optioned Pontiac over a fully-loaded luxurious Chevy or a base NG CTS?

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I don't think they mean that far upscale. The current Impala bases around 21k, so I think they are talking relative to this. They are probably thinking if they should base price the car around 25k, or close to the upper end of the Malibu. I think basing the car around 25k is a good idea, as long as it is a fairly basic car, and Malibu is fairly loaded at this point. One thing I think is necessary for both the Malibu and Impala is a nice navigation unit, btw.

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Neither the Impala or new style Malibu should move much or at all in price from where they are now if they want to remain competitive. Let Buick have at the upper 25K-35K range with there full size RWD sedan with the Malibu staying in the 18K-25K range and the Impala continuing it's 22K-30K field. Buick could even command 32K from it's new top of the line Epsilon II LaCrosse with high output 3.6 liter/6 speed automatic trans without too many snickers from ours truly at C&D.

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What would power such a sled (the Impala) in its base form? Will it be a 3500 VVT V6 facing forward hooked up to a 6-speed automatic trans? I like the concept of this move from the standpoint of a much more "opened up" engine bay. I don't live in Buffalo or Minneapolis, so the extra traction is a non-issue and RWD is so much easier on brakes because of the weight distribution.

Also, hopefully a better looking MC will tag along for the ride in RWD form...is that the plan?

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Guest YellowJacket894

It's about time the Impala got back on track again. :thumbsup:

And one of my sketches were used. How sweet is that? 8)

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What would power such a sled (the Impala) in its base form?  Will it be a 3500 VVT V6 facing forward hooked up to a 6-speed automatic trans?  I like the concept of this move from the standpoint of a much more "opened up" engine bay.  I don't live in Buffalo or Minneapolis, so the extra traction is a non-issue and RWD is so much easier on brakes because of the weight distribution.

Also, hopefully a better looking MC will tag along for the ride in RWD form...is that the plan?

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The 3.6 with a 6-speed auto seems like a reasonable base engine...

I suspect the MC won't be around with the Zeta Impala..(NASCAR is switching to the Impala name for '07).

Edited by moltar

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Neither the Impala or new style Malibu should move much or at all in price from where they are now if they want to remain competitive. Let Buick have at the upper 25K-35K range with there full size RWD sedan with the Malibu staying in the 18K-25K range and the Impala continuing it's 22K-30K field. Buick could even command 32K from it's new top of the line Epsilon II LaCrosse with high output 3.6 liter/6 speed automatic trans without too many snickers from ours truly at C&D.

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Don't be afraid. Let the product determine the pricing; if the Impala is truly an incredible car, similar to the Passat in overall quality, character, and substance.....it can command a price bracket from 25k-35k easily. The product just needs to be there. People will pay the price for something they feel is truly worth it. As is, I wouldn't pay 22k for a base Impala knowing a much better built, more economic, similarly capacious, powerful, modern Civic can be had for 18k with a better reputation and better resale value.

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EDIT: Also, the Impala should not move too far upscale. If it goes to $35k, where does that leave the Pontiac and Buick sedans? If we have a Chevy going up to $35k and a Cadillac starting at $35k (CTS), why would anyone choose a mildly-optioned Buick or a slightly more optioned Pontiac over a fully-loaded luxurious Chevy or a base NG CTS?

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Northstar… My answer is forever moving Cadillac further upscale. V8 E-Class & 5-Series start near $60k... The STS starts at $48k. That $10k-15k price difference frees up plenty of room for Pontiac and Buick to exist as premium brands between a globally competitive Chevrolet and a world-standard Cadillac.

Cadillac needs to move up to provide breathing room, but GM simultaneously needs a strong foundation from the other brands to prevent abandoning a particular market.

I completely agree that Malibu & Impala pricing should be determined by the market. If Chevrolet can offer products that consumers “must have” in the $25k-$35k, that allows Buick to put out globally competitive products in the $35k-$50k range. Ultimately, with strong market demand under $50k, Cadillac has the ability to offer world-standard products in the CTS, STS, etc with equal (or even premium) pricing over MB & BMW.

That may appear expensive to many, but Cadillac is or at least should be expensive. The entry level BMW 3-Series & MB C-Class have maybe one or two generations in them before completely abandoning the $30k-$40k price range. Cadillac must follow them or beat them to demanding this type of price premium. I'm expecting the next CTS to help move Cadillac in this direction... especially with Zeta coming into the picture.

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I don't think they mean that far upscale. The current Impala bases around 21k, so I think they are talking relative to this. They are probably thinking if they should base price the car around 25k, or close to the upper end of the Malibu. I think basing the car around 25k is a good idea, as long as it is a fairly basic car, and Malibu is fairly loaded at this point. One thing I think is necessary for both the Malibu and Impala is a nice navigation unit, btw.

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Currently, a loaded SS runs right under $31k. If we just say that the platform, engines, and transmissions will cost the same (and I'm guessing the platform will be more expensive) and add in some options that the new one should have that the current one doesn't such as AWD and NAV, we're looking at $35k if you just add those two I fear. Unless somehow they're going to offer more equipment for the same price, then I see it pushing $35k for a loaded SS.

Now where does that put the G8 and NG Lucerne? Farther upscale? I guess the G8 will be smaller and appeal to a different crowd, but I see a lot of overlap between the Buick and Impala if it goes to $35k.

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Chevy is not looking so much to up scale but to capture sales.

The Malibu will arrive as a near FWD Impala replacement as the RWD will in a way create a new market of lower cost high value RWD sedans. This is something all the companies did but all had left this market to die for a good while.

No matter what the gas price the Malibu will sell and if gas stays cheap the Impala will sell very well and if not Chaevy can afford to keep it somewhat a nich car as it shares production with the Camaro.

The real question is with the popularity today of 4 doors will it cut into the Camaro's sales to the practical family types that want a spory RWD car but need better back seat availability.

I expect this platform to also find a home at Buick with one or two models and Pontiac with at least two. Buick will be more Lexus like as the Pontiac will be all about performance. The Pontiac will also be more expensive and more Nich as it can afford to be now that the dealer network is shared with Buick.

The Malibu and Impala working as a team will give GM a heads up on the market and also offer something Toyota really can't offer.

In the end we win and I believe GM will win with this tag team combo.

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This is good news. No, excellent news. Impala is returning to its natural state. Its rightful place. Just don't make it too expensive. Leave room for Pontiac and Buick. (Unless Pontiacs, except for the Kappas, are all built on the new smaller RWD platform, then a range of fullsize Chevys, from basic 6 cylinder budget family car, through luxurious Caprice, on up to Impala SS could own the market.)

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Guest YellowJacket894

It also seems that GM is going to do with the Malibu and Impala what Ford tried to do with the Fusion and Five-Hundred: have a two pronged attack on the mid-sized market with two different cars that cater to different, but key, buyers. It makes so much sense and I think we'll be seeing rear-drive from GM for years and years, long after Chrysler possibly drops the LX (or, more appropriately, the LY cars if they suffer from the styling drought plaguing DCX) cars due to poor sales and Ford never gives the old Panther cars a true and just replacement (and to think those bastards let the 427 rot and collect dust). DCX and Ford may have their Pony Cars, the Challenger and Mustang, but they probably won't have a key volume product like a sedan like GM will have.

GM, in addition to providing some much needed buzz for their divisions, will have products that will probably have strong sales after the first two years. DCX may have gotten to the party first, but it's also possible they'll be the first ones booted out.

Edited by YellowJacket894

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This actually makes me excited about the Malibu. Guess it clears up all the confusion in the spied Malibu thread from a few months back. Knowing that it will be larger and newly styled gives me yet another GM option when I buy next year.

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So let's up the ante with a 2-door Impala SS vert. :AH-HA_wink:

EDIT: You'll have to modify your sketch, YJ. 8)

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So what do you all think the chances are of GM dropping the stroke on the LS7 to 3.83" and selling a few 409 Impala SS's?

215572[/snapback]

She's so fine...

Sweet idea! 8)

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Moving Up?

Impala Goes Back to RWD in '09

By RICK KRANZ | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek | Published 11/13/06, 8:04 am et

Posted Image

Sketch by C&G Member Yellowjacket894

Link to Original Article@Autoweek

DETROIT -- Chevrolet's Impala is going rear-wheel drive in 2009.

GM has yet to decide whether to maintain the Impala as a mass-market sedan or move it upmarket. An upscale Impala would enable GM to avoid a market overlap with the restyled and re-engineered 2008 Chevrolet Malibu.

The 2008 Malibu will debut at the Detroit auto show in January. While the Malibu's sheet metal is unique, the car is similar to the Saturn Aura in shape and size.

The front-wheel-drive Malibu could steal sales from the Impala, GM insiders admit. And some buyers may prefer a front-drive Chevrolet sedan.

The 2008 model will be larger than the current Malibu and will have a more luxurious interior.

So will the Impala go upscale?

"It is too early to tell," the GM source said. "With Malibu's introduction next year and market analysis and trends and things like that, I think anything I said about that would be speculative."

215245[/snapback]

I'm one of those customers that prefer front-wheel drive, so it looks like my plan to order a new '08 Impala should continue on track...

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No there won't be RWD Chevelles, Novas, Chevettes, Monzas, Concours, BelAirs, Biscaynes, or Vegas.

Camaro and Imapla are it Car Craft fans!

And, I'd bet late 2009 CY, as a 2010 or maybe early 2011 MY car.

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