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Auto blogFri, 15 Mar 2013 11:57:00 EST
Can A Fleet Queen Become a Fullsize King?
On paper, the Chevrolet Impala is a pretty strong seller, posting annual sales that have hovered right around 170,000 units for the last two years, but it only takes one trip to practically any rental car agency to discover where the majority of those sales have come from. In fact, General Motors told Autoblog that a full 70 percent of Impala sales last year went to fleet companies for things like rental cars and government vehicles. Logic tells us that this is neither good for resale values nor name equity, so Chevrolet is getting ready to roll out an all-new Impala with improved comfort, styling and technology, hoping to turn the tables on its retail-to-fleet ratio.
Chevrolet's sedans have come on quite strong in the last few months with the introduction of the Cruze diesel and the SS sedan, but while these will likely be low-volume sellers, there's more pressure for the new Impala to perform well as GM looks to slash fleet sales and compete with the wide variety of full-size sub-luxury sedans. Riding on a platform shared with the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS, the 2014 Impala will compete against the Hyundai Azera, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon on the more traditional side, while also looking to take a bite out of somewhat sportier models like the Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger twins and the Nissan Maxima. We headed to sunny San Diego to see if this totally new Impala can stand on its own without the assistance of fleet companies and rental agencies. [w/video
If you're burnt out on musings about the Chevrolet Corvette, you'll want to go ahead and skip this post. Motor Trend reports General Motors is hard at work on a low-cost version of the seventh-generation sports car for 2015. Rumored to be called the Corvette Coupe, the car will forgo the Stingray and skip the 450-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine in favor of a 5.3-liter V8 with under 400 ponies. If you're keeping track, that's a shade of the same engine found behind the headlights of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
The report also suggests the Coupe will receive a number of aesthetic tweaks to separate it from the Stingray, including different front and rear fascias as well as new front fenders and a rear diffuser. Motor Trend says the point of all this is to cut the car's price tag, which means we may see a Corvette on showroom floors for less than $50,000 if this car comes to fruition.
It won't be long before we see the official, production-ready Chevrolet SS sedan (hint: it will be revealed this weekend). And to tide us over until all of the official details are released about the US-spec version, we have this: the Holden VF Commodore SS V show car, a performance-oriented brother to the Calais V that debuted earlier in the week.
What we really want to know about the SS V is what lies underhood, but General Motors' Australian arm is keeping that under wraps until the Chevy model breaks cover this weekend. Nevertheless, it's obvious that the SS V will be a serious performer, with all sorts of aggressive cues driving that home on the car's exterior. Take a look at those 20-inch billet aluminum wheels that hide big Brembo brake calipers up front, the sculpted hood and front fascia, the wide air intakes with LED running lights and the quad exhaust pipes out back. It's like the Pontiac G8 GXP never even left us.
Inside, there's a sporty-looking interior with aluminum accents that mix in with black leather and suede surfaces, all tied together in the middle with an eight-inch MyLink touchscreen infotainment system. It looks great, and again, while we don't know anything regarding powertrain details, it makes us oh-so happy to see a manual shifter smack dab in the middle of the center console.