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The next Impala. A bigger impact than Camaro

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By all accounts, the Impala is going to have a bigger impact on the market than Camaro, yet very little is being talked about here.

Camaro is a downright stunning looking car. However, the Camaro is actually rediscovering a market segment that has always relyed on stunning looks to survive. The sporty coupe market, despite the ramblings of some, is heavily based on looks, not 0-60 performance. This is an extremely style conscious market in which cars typically have a life span of 3-5 years with a distinctive life cycle that goes from hot to mainstream to yesterday's news, then a new style comes out.

However.....

The family sedan market is completely different. People buy family sedans because of value, safety, quality, & dependability. NO ONE buys a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord rates styling as one of the top reasons they bought the car. It's the car's image and reputation that's sold the car. That's why GM (and other makers) have failed to steal back buyers despite the fact that current Malibus and Impalas are actually on par (and in many ways better) than competing foreign cars.

The way GM is going to compensate is by putting traffic stopping design on their upcoming bread & butter cars. 2 cars that are known to be stunning are the next "Impala" and the next "Malibu" (in quote because names might be repositioned).

The Impala is described by everyone I've talked to as beautiful. Unlike the non descript character lines on the current Impala and the swishes that look like afterthought on the Malibu, the next Impala has sculptured sides that resemble Impalas of the mid 60s. Circular lights (perhaps even "squished" like Camaro's) adorn the rear. The front end has what's being described as the "NEW" Chevrolet front end.

The next Impala is a full-size car.

Although there's no released or postable numbers, the Chevrolet "Zeta" had it's debut on the Camaro. The car's 76" width can be expected. About 3" wider than the current Impala and 2 wider than the Chrysler LX cars. Length isn't likely to be much longer than the current Impala's (and Chrysler 300's) 196". Wheels are pushed to the ends of the car. Some call it extreme. Also, the interior to front wheel distance can be altered in the Zeta. Chrysler's LX cars have a long 120" wheelbase (110 on the current Impala). I'd expect Impala to have something similar, with Camaro concept-like front & rear overhang.

Interestingly, simply adding a 10" longer mid-floorpan section between the wheebase of the 186" long, 110" wheelbase Chevrolet Camaro concept makes a car that is 196" long with a 120" wheelbase keeping Camaro concept's short overhangs... of course, keeping the 77" width (the 79" width in the press release was a misprint).

While the Camaro is visual candy, Impala is really the groundbreaker. It's going to be RWD, it's going to be on a somewhat revolutionary (and adaptable) chassis, it's not only going to be well made, but it's going to be drop-dead goregous by all accounts, it's going to be very quick (.....perhaps very very quick), and it's going to probally have a manual (that new automatic based RWD one that's described in another thread).

I don't know much about the next LX cars (due about the same time as the next Impala). But GM is SERIOUS about the Impala, and it seems that while Camaro is getting all the press, it's Impala that going to have the big impact.

BTW: speaking of Chrysler, they aren't sitting still. The LX cars will get a new interior for 2007 that is both better styled and supposedly closes any gap between imported cars.

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isn't the 300 getting a stretched version next year too?

"While the Camaro is visual candy, Impala is really the groundbreaker. It's going to be RWD, it's going to be on a somewhat revolutionary (and adaptable) chassis, it's not only going to be well made, but it's going to be drop-dead goregous by all accounts, it's going to be very quick (.....perhaps very very quick), and it's going to probally have a manual (that new automatic based RWD one that's described in another thread)."

hopefully it WILL be well made AND stunning. unless yours was a misprint?

good article

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The next gen Impala RWD and FWD Malibu are going to be the most important vehicles built at GM in the next few years.

The are in two of the largest growing segments and with gas prices rising they will bear many of those who abandon SUV's.

If GM can give these two cars would class quality in build and materials then price them at just below the imports they will have a hit

Now if GM can do all the abouve and give them knock em dead styling something the cars from Japan lack it will be hard to keep people away.

Lets face it looks go a long way. The strong card both the PT and HHR play is styling. People are tired of the plain washing machine look and like to be noiticed without spending $60K or more.

The Camaro is just window dressing and a good way to get people to notice your cars while making a profit. But the Malibu and Impala are what pay the bills and in this case pay legacy cost that have gone too long unpaind by the present line up.

I think in the end even if Quality is close, styling is the trumph card in this new conceded society. Lets face it look at the shows on TV, everyone wants to be rich and famous or at least look like it.

Japan has gotten better with styling but even the Koreans have passed them by. If the Element, Scion and others are their best efforts God help them. Their best cars were styled in the States or Italy in most cases.

GM can style cars better than most anyone out there and if they don't dumb them down. They can with this part of the game easily if they let the designers do their job. I think Lutz is finally the one who is letting them do what they are paid to do.

If every thing I have heard about the Malibu and Impala is true we should have a good fight in the show rooms. It would be nice to see people want cars like these like they did in the 50's and 60's That was when they offered classy styling like a Caddy but at a value price.

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Well, I hope that it's all true, that the '09 Impala will be a stunner, and a hot performer too.

About freaking time...

As much as I like the current Impala from a performance standpoint, and I love the view from the driver's seat, the exterior could have been so much more...

IF this new one doesnt have three round taillights per side, and some type of a classic Chevy egg-crate grille, then, in the immortal words of San Francisco Giants announcer Russ Hodges, for GM, its gonna be "Bye-bye Baby!"

This is the car that could literally make or break GM.

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While the Camaro is visual candy, Impala is really the groundbreaker. It's going to be RWD, it's going to be on a somewhat revolutionary (and adaptable) chassis, it's not only going to be well made, but it's going to be drop-dead goregous by all accounts, it's going to be very quick (.....perhaps very very quick), and it's going to probally have a manual (that new automatic based RWD one that's described in another thread).

I'll believe GM putting a manual transmission option in a bread and butter car when I see it...but it works for Nissan, so I hope they finally offer choices...and even Honda is catching on. Getting the "feel" of the gearbox and clutch is also important...the GTO is not a good example...

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What's the trunk like? Are we talking a real full-size trunk with 20 cubic feet? Comfortable 6-passenger seating? 2003 SS Concept-inspired styling? Sounds exciting!!!!

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Good read. Hopefully the Impala rakes in the cash for GM. What sort of pricing are we looking at? Similar to Charger?

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The anticipation is killing me. I can understand keeping it out of public view to keep the competition guessing, but damn, I want to see this thing!

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What's the trunk like? Are we talking a real full-size trunk with 20 cubic feet? Comfortable 6-passenger seating? 2003 SS Concept-inspired styling? Sounds exciting!!!!

To put it in New York terms, the old car had a 4 dead body trunk and the new is a 6 body from what has been discribed. [ha ha]

As for price nothing has been said but I would not expect a large increase over what we now have for comparable car but I could see an increase in more performance SRT like models. This would keep them in the Charger price range or just under.

People who love car love standard trannys but as a whole the general public could care less for them and don't even know how to drive one.

Add to ths the extra work to meet emisssions it is hard to justify the cost of development and easier to add paddle manuel auto 6 speeds.

Find a way to make the public more interested in them and you will see more standard trannys in sedans

I don't expect to see much on this car till GM is ready or someone leaks info till next January where we might see a concept.

Edited by hyperv6

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With the article out of WSJ stating that big rear wheel drive American is in, I don't see how they could go wrong, especially if it picks up cues from older generations.

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I'm with Ocnblu... the anticipation is killing me!!!

RWD :wub:

V8 :wub:

Full Size Proportons :wub:

Throwback styling :wub:

Edited by Sixty8panther

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I 100% agree that the next gen of EVERYTHING GM does needs to be spectacular....although the desired product sounds suspiciously like the DCX LX's that will sell 300K this year!)

More importantly...what is their current % in bringing these promises to fruition? I pray that their success rate rises in the near term or their won;t be a future.

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To put it in New York terms, the old car had a 4 dead body trunk and the new is a 6 body from what has been discribed. [ha ha]

As for price nothing has been said but I would not expect a large increade over what weer now have for comparable car but I could see an increase in more perfotmance SRT like models. This would keep them in the Charger price range or just under.

People who love car love standard trannys but as a whole the general public could care less for them and don't even know how to drive one.

Add to ths the extra work to meet emisssions  it is hard to justify the cost of development  and easier to add paddle manuel auto 6 speeds.

Find a way to make the public more interested in them and you will see more standard trannys in sedans

I don't expect to see much on this car till GM is ready or someone leaks info till next January where we might see a concept.

Sounds like typical "GM think." Perfect opportunity for one of those Lutz stickers SEZ WHO? Probably the same person who thought the Solstice only needed a manual transmission at launch. That little "oversight" was avoidable by looking at Mazda's launch of the 1st generation Miata. People like choices.

Based on the fact that the German and Japanese competition all offer a manual transmission option, it's a cost of doing business. Without it, they're eliminating themselves from consideration for some of the car buying public. Car and Driver even mentions the lack of a manual trans option in their latest 2006 Impala SS review.

As for development cost, since Zeta is supposed to be a globally shared platform used by the Camaro and various Holdens and share powertrain components, the costs should be minimal in the grand scheme of things...certainly cheaper than making a hybrid derivative.

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The anticipation is killing me.  I can understand keeping it out of public view to keep the competition guessing, but damn, I want to see this thing!

(((((((A FREAKIN MIN MAN A FREAKIN MIN!!)))))))--- :hissyfit: ---I want to see this car SO BAD! <_<

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(raises hand) Count me as one of the many who want to see this Impala. I'm really hoping GM does the styling and the mechanicals right this time. I remember the buzz the SS Impalla had going for it in the '94-'96 model years and what a disasterous change the new FWD V-6 Impalas were. Any one else remember that?

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I agree that styling is without a doubt key in selling this car. It seems that more Americans are attracted to the styling of a car more than anything else, a good looking car is respectable in society. I can't count how many times I've heard people see a sharp, or just clean for that matter, car and say "Oh, those Mazdas are great cars." If your car stands out people suddenly have an attraction to that brand. It's amazing how much the styling of a car can affect how it sells, I agree with Bob Lutz with his statement "design, design, design," GM get to the drawing board and make this happen!

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Who exactly is going to buy a manual transmission in a full-size (or even mid-size) car? GM large cars haven't offered a manual transmission since early 1971!

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To put it in New York terms, the old car had a 4 dead body trunk and the new is a 6 body from what has been discribed. [ha ha]

6 body??? :scratchchin: you could at least fit 7 in it... :lol:

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Who exactly is going to buy a manual transmission in a full-size (or even mid-size) car? GM large cars haven't offered a manual transmission since early 1971!

My Grand Prix would have been a manual if it were offered.

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Who exactly is going to buy a manual transmission in a full-size (or even mid-size) car? GM large cars haven't offered a manual transmission since early 1971!

It's not a regular manual transmission, but a manual version of the new 6-speed auto.

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It's not a regular manual transmission, but a manual version of the new 6-speed auto.

So one of those stupid electronic manuals that aren't a manual at all. :banghead:

I like large cars, and I like manuals. I could see only putting a manual in an SS version, though...

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Who exactly is going to buy a manual transmission in a full-size (or even mid-size) car? GM large cars haven't offered a manual transmission since early 1971!

At the beginning of this thread it stated:

Interestingly, simply adding a 10" longer mid-floorpan section between the wheebase of the 186" long, 110" wheelbase Chevrolet Camaro concept makes a car that is 196" long with a 120" wheelbase keeping Camaro concept's short overhangs... of course, keeping the 77" width (the 79" width in the press release was a misprint).

Now as for your "GM hasn't offered" comment, the 2006 Cadillac CTS is listed as 190.1 inches in length (Cadillac.com) vs. the anticipated 196 inches for the Impala. Not a big difference size-wise. Oh, and the CTS is available with a manual trans.

As for buyers, if GM choses not to offer it, buyers looking manual will go elsewhere if it's important to them (people like me!). BMW, Mazda, Honda, VW, Audi, etc don't seem to have any trouble selling cars with manual transmissions. BMW tried the SMG and it wasn't well received in North America, so they're responding by offering REAL manual transmissions with a clutch pedal on the floor. What a concept, listening to the customer...

I personally think it's nice to have choices. If the guy who wants a Camaro with a manual trans comes into the dealership, but practicality weighs in with the need to carry the wife and 2 kids, an Impala SS with manual trans option might be what makes the sale. Nissan was very successful in pushing the Maxima as a "4 door sports car" many years ago...

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Maybe we'll get a Kingswood wagon too ! I want dark green with wood decals on the sides. I am really glad I wont have to buy some doofy minivan when the little gearheads come along .

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The debate over the automatice versus manual transmission goes back to the very roots of the essence of American versus "European" design.

Look at the Jaguars of the 1960s and then look at a '65 Impala SS. Two very different spins on what a sports car should be. They are also looking at a time when gas was (is) twice the price in Europe and when nobody but the Big Three knew how to make a decent automatic!

Not much has changed. GM still (arguably) builds the best automatic in the world and with city driving likely to burn out a clutch in less than a 100k miles and a good automatic lasting well into the 250k miles - well, I think you catch my drift.

I am sure nobody at GM wants to walk away from sales, but unless a good financial case can be made for the tooling costs of mating the manual tranny to the engines chosen.....

Import buyers are a different breed and may not mind shifting, but I think a lot of their impressions are based on very bad experiences with automatics in the past. Even in small vehicles like the Aveo and Cobalt, manual sales is a very low total number. At our dealership, we probably sell less than 10% of these small cars with a manual. How would that go for a 200" family sedan?

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