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GM's Impala goal: To be must-have, not must-rent


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GM's Impala goal: To be must-have, not must-rent

Rick Kranz

Automotive News -- November 22, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

LOS ANGELES -- Chevrolet plans to shed the Impala's rental car image when the redesigned sedan appears this decade.

The styling of the current Impala has been untouched since the 2006 model year, as General Motors concentrated on other models and the automaker's eventual bankruptcy.

"Impalas of the past were somewhat of the flagship for Chevy," Mike Simcoe, executive director for GM global design, said during an interview last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. "We need to make sure that we do justice to the nameplate."

Simcoe said the automaker will concentrate on such things as proportion, performance and the level of content for the redesigned, front-drive Impala. Industry sources expect the next generation around the 2014 model year. The car will share a platform with such vehicles as the Buick LaCrosse and Regal sedans.

Simcoe said GM is studying a niche rear-drive performance sedan for Chevrolet, "but the car has not received approval for production."

This niche sedan "is all about driving, passion and performance," Simcoe said. If approved, "we are going back to the essence of what Chevrolet was and stood for -- well-designed, beautiful, sculptured pieces, with lots of customer value."

GM insiders say the automaker is referring to the car as the SS and targeting the 2014 model year if approved.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101122/OEM01/311229960/1427#ixzz161F0ZWTt

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The New Impala will be FWD, GM has made it clear. Odds are we will still get a RWD performance sedan anyway and for all I care they could call it a Chevelle or what ever.

The FWD Impala can sell in number that the RWD would never sell in. The goup that this car is targeted at is brainwashed into that FWD is a must or I will die in the snow mentality.

Like it or not this car is not made for the entusiast and will sell just fine for the appliance buyers that are now dominate in the market. I am sorry to say there are more of them than there are of us. The key is to make the car good enough that it does not have to go to fleet sales as the general public will buy because it is a excellent car and a good value. That is what has sold millions of Camrys and Accords.

I think the niche idea is the right way to go. They will sell more FWD sedans to people who really just need a car to get where they are going and still give us a peoper RWD performance sedan in lower numbers. It could be much worse as we could get another Impala SS FWD........... :rolleyes:

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The New Impala will be FWD, GM has made it clear. Odds are we will still get a RWD performance sedan anyway and for all I care they could call it a Chevelle or what ever.

The FWD Impala can sell in number that the RWD would never sell in. The goup that this car is targeted at is brainwashed into that FWD is a must or I will die in the snow mentality.

Like it or not this car is not made for the entusiast and will sell just fine for the appliance buyers that are now dominate in the market. I am sorry to say there are more of them than there are of us. The key is to make the car good enough that it does not have to go to fleet sales as the general public will buy because it is a excellent car and a good value. That is what has sold millions of Camrys and Accords.

I think the niche idea is the right way to go. They will sell more FWD sedans to people who really just need a car to get where they are going and still give us a peoper RWD performance sedan in lower numbers. It could be much worse as we could get another Impala SS FWD........... :rolleyes:

What you seem to be supporting in your post is a "niche FWD appliance". One word comes to mind - why? If Chevy didn't already have a great FWD sedan in the Malibu (with an even better one coming), a FWD Impala - niche or otherwise - would make some sense. But Chevy does have a Malibu - and a Cruze, and a Cobalt, and an Aveo, and (eventually) a Spark to cater to the masses. Let the Impala name be placed on a proper flagship sedan, as it was during the name's heyday.

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What you seem to be supporting in your post is a "niche FWD appliance". One word comes to mind - why? If Chevy didn't already have a great FWD sedan in the Malibu (with an even better one coming), a FWD Impala - niche or otherwise - would make some sense. But Chevy does have a Malibu - and a Cruze, and a Cobalt, and an Aveo, and (eventually) a Spark to cater to the masses. Let the Impala name be placed on a proper flagship sedan, as it was during the name's heyday.

Look around an note that people outside this web site want FWD cars. Too many here are so isolated from the reality of what is going on at time.

GM is still going to offer the RWD car to those who want them in the numbers that can support them. The fact is like it or not a FWD V6 Impala will sell at 3 to 1 vs a RED car. Last year the Charger did not even break over 100,000 units. I would think you would want to do better than that with the Impala.

Many people who buy cars do not want Full Size anymore. The Malibu Camry, Fusion, and Accord have shown they are the leading market anymore. and yes I am sorry to say the Sonata. I just can't see a RWD Zeta sedan selling over 100,000+ units per year with gas at or over $3. Chevy is about Volume more than Flagship image. The old Impala was the bread and butter but that is no longer the case.

I would love to see nothing more than an Impala on the Alpha but I just don't see it happening with the way GM is talking. We can always hope GM and the Public shift in what they want.

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There is no reason a RWD large car couldn't sell in good numbers. Chrysler proved that. The only reason would be the current manufacturing constraints from Holden.

Chrysler separates the midsize and large cars by making the Charger rear wheel drive, optional V8 power. It appeals to enthusiasts as well as average consumers, and offers the security of optional AWD.

Ford's lage car is FWD, but its is very clearly aiming the Taurus at Audi and offering luxury and features you wouldn't expect in the segment and price range, as well as featuring EcoBoost.

I don't see the point of having not one but three big sedans in the lineup, expect as one being a fleet special, which it is right now, so the good ones don't get their names dragged through the mud.

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Through October, the Malibu is outselling the Impala by about 30,000 units

And it probably isn't even that close if you remove the fleet sales.

I'm not arguing against a FWD Chevy sedan, but I think the Malibu is more than capable of shouldering the load of being Chevy's volume sedan. Especially the next one which might very well make the current one look like a 1991 Camry wagon. And with the Cruze now bordering on midsized, I really think Chevy has the mass market covered. If the masses really need a FWD sedan bigger than a Malibu, you'll be able to get a base LaCrosse for 30K that gets 37mpg hwy. Giving Chevy 2 big FWD sedans makes no sense, especially if they're determined to bring over the Commodore as a Chevy.

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What you seem to be supporting in your post is a "niche FWD appliance". One word comes to mind - why? If Chevy didn't already have a great FWD sedan in the Malibu (with an even better one coming), a FWD Impala - niche or otherwise - would make some sense. But Chevy does have a Malibu - and a Cruze, and a Cobalt, and an Aveo, and (eventually) a Spark to cater to the masses. Let the Impala name be placed on a proper flagship sedan, as it was during the name's heyday.

I think the 'need' for a FWD Impala is because the next Malibu is going to be slightly smaller than the current model, on the SWB Epsy Dos platform, like the Regal. The Impala would be the LWB model, like the LaCrosse. It will keep Avis happy and the snow belt budget large car crowd happy, while a RWD Zeta 'Caprice' or whatever they call it could appeal to Charger shoppers...

Still, the idea of 3 distinct large Chevys does seem odd..a FWD Impala, a RWD Caprice PPV, and a RWD 'Caprice SS'..

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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There is no reason a RWD large car couldn't sell in good numbers. Chrysler proved that. The only reason would be the current manufacturing constraints from Holden.

Chrysler separates the midsize and large cars by making the Charger rear wheel drive, optional V8 power. It appeals to enthusiasts as well as average consumers, and offers the security of optional AWD.

Ford's lage car is FWD, but its is very clearly aiming the Taurus at Audi and offering luxury and features you wouldn't expect in the segment and price range, as well as featuring EcoBoost.

I don't see the point of having not one but three big sedans in the lineup, expect as one being a fleet special, which it is right now, so the good ones don't get their names dragged through the mud.

When the Impala or Caprice was the top selling car it sold many times the number the Chrysler RWD sell today. The Charger did not even make six figures last year.

If Chevy can get a FWD Impala right for what the makret wants they could see 200,000 units per year. Even if Holden could supply that many RWD Zeta it would never sell in that kind of number. That is not to say Chevy should not offer a RWD Zeta Chevy car. The fact is it should not be expected to be the Volume leader in todays market. If priced right they could more 40,000-80,000 units including a V6 and maybe a Ute in the mix.

A Malibu and FWD Impala are what the market is look at now. We may not like the fact the Manual tannys are nearly gone but again the market has changed. People look at cars much differently today since the imports brought in the appliance like cars. Today a smart phone hook up is more important than a V8 to most buyers.

Price per month, Reliability and warranty are what the average buyer wants. Good MPG is also a factor with many. RWD and V8 is not a top priority for the majority sad but true. That is why now over 3/4 of all cars sold are FWS 4 cylinders.

Hell people are still buying the FWD Impala even as old and outdated as it is. Just imagine what a up to date class leading car like this could do. Even as boring as the Late 90's Lesabre was it sold because people liked what it offered.

The Impala FWD is not a car for the Cheers and Gears crowd and it should not be. They will make a lot of money on a new boring one while we could and most likley will get a proper RWD performance sedan to our likeing.

I see it as a win win.

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What you seem to be supporting in your post is a "niche FWD appliance". One word comes to mind - why? If Chevy didn't already have a great FWD sedan in the Malibu (with an even better one coming), a FWD Impala - niche or otherwise - would make some sense. But Chevy does have a Malibu - and a Cruze, and a Cobalt, and an Aveo, and (eventually) a Spark to cater to the masses. Let the Impala name be placed on a proper flagship sedan, as it was during the name's heyday.

It sounds like your issue is with the name rather than the product. Malibu is going down in size, so there needs to be another FWD sedan over it. The name is immaterial to me.

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It sounds like your issue is with the name rather than the product. Malibu is going down in size, so there needs to be another FWD sedan over it. The name is immaterial to me.

I've long thought the FWD Impala should be named 'Generica' but I don't see that flying..

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On a FWD generic the name doesn't matter, on a RWD it does.

So give the storied name to the RWD car - problem solved.

Ya, I'd love to see a RWD Impala SS..that name is one of Chevy's iconic names, both for the '60s and '90s models.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Love the unintentionally hilarious posts by someone in this thread. Spell check. Use it.

I agree with z wholeheartedly. A SWB, styled and built in America 2nd-gen Zeta sedan is what Chevrolet needs at the top of the line, and it should be called Impala. Epsilon II SWB Malibu should be next in line. Keep the LWB Caprice PPV fleet-only.

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That's not an apples to apples comparison, as Chrysler has never sold as many cars as GM anyway. A better comparison would be Intrepid to Charger sales.

In 2002 Chrysler sold 111,356 Intrepids. In 2006 they sold 114,201 Chargers.

So despite being RWD, which "nobody but enthusiasts would buy", it sold on par with its FWD predecessor. Why? Because it offered all of the practicality that appealed to average buyers while also offering things for the enthusiast, and for average buyers unsure about RWD in the snow (because OMFG I can't drive in the snow!), it offered AWD.

Absolutely agree... and you're not even touching on the fact that in the near future, traction control will be required on all cars by law... nullifying more of the perceived advantage of FWD over RWD... Assuming the price is right, GM could sell lots of these... and *gasp* might play this to move some people from a huge truck to a more CAFE friendly big car... nobody ever said the Zetas HAD to come with a V8 only.

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Absolutely agree... and you're not even touching on the fact that in the near future, traction control will be required on all cars by law... nullifying more of the perceived advantage of FWD over RWD... Assuming the price is right, GM could sell lots of these... and *gasp* might play this to move some people from a huge truck to a more CAFE friendly big car... nobody ever said the Zetas HAD to come with a V8 only.

True on the stability control. But you would have to retrain some 30 years of brain washing that FWD is better in the snow. Not an easy task for a clue less public.

Edited by hyperv6
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That's not an apples to apples comparison, as Chrysler has never sold as many cars as GM anyway. A better comparison would be Intrepid to Charger sales.

In 2002 Chrysler sold 111,356 Intrepids. In 2006 they sold 114,201 Chargers.

So despite being RWD, which "nobody but enthusiasts would buy", it sold on par with its FWD predecessor. Why? Because it offered all of the practicality that appealed to average buyers while also offering things for the enthusiast, and for average buyers unsure about RWD in the snow (because OMFG I can't drive in the snow!), it offered AWD.

There is no reason, production capacity aside, that a RWD Chevy sedan couldn't take the place of the current car. Considering most are fleet sales anyway, retail sales have nowhere to go but up. There's no need for three big larger than Cruze Chevy sedans.

It sold better because it was a much better built car. The Intrepids were not what I would term a very good quality car.

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True on the stability control. But you would have to retrain some 30 years of brain washing that FWD is better in the snow. Not an easy task for a clue less public.

It took few years for people accustomed to driving RWD vehicles in snow without traction control to be guiled into buying FWD, it will not be difficult unbrainwash the Genericans.

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you guys are all clueless, RWD might be manna for the enthusiast set but the bulk of buyers do not look for it, and for a lot of buyers it means an instant check off the list when shopping. in parts like these, more and more are exclusively looking for AWD.....there is no way RWD only will ever be popular again, get used to it.

it's fine for GM to offer it on the models that make sense. But they will never sell in the volume of the mainstream FWD / AWD cars and crossovers.

try and berate it all you want, its where the market is at, its what people want. There is no point to belittling the customer for not wanting to drive it, and belittling what they want. It's why an AWD XTS may just be a huge seller to a lot of people.

Edited by regfootball
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