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Bob Lutz sits down for Autoline Detroit - Click above to watch video after the jump
Autoline Detroit recently played host to Bob Lutz, and, as is always the case, the former General Motors vice chairman dished out some great commentary. Lutz was promoting his new book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business, and talk quickly turned to his role as it related to product development and high-level decision making at GM. While on the topic of brand management, Lutz revealed a few rather interesting tidbits about his former employer:
All Chevrolet vehicles were required to have five-spoke aluminum wheels and a chrome band up front, as part of the Bowtie brand's overall image.
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
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may expand a recall campaign for faulty brake lamps. The agency is currently looking into complaints that certain 2004-2011 Chevrolet Malibu models as well as some 2007-2009 Saturn Aura sedans may have brake lights that do not illuminate when the driver presses the pedal. Alternatively, the lamps may also illuminate without input from the driver. General Motors recalled 8,000 Pontiac G6 models from the 2005 model year for the same problem, and NHTSA is currently investigating whether to add 550,000 more G6 models built between 2005 and 2009 to the list for the same issue.
In addition, investigators are currently examining 97 complaints from Malibu and Aura owners with the same trouble. If NHTSA adds those models to the recall campaign, more than one million units could be covered. GM, meanwhile, says there have been no accidents or injuries as a result of the problem.