Community Question: What Should Chevrolet Do With The Impala Nameplate?24
Full-size sedan sales are tumbling, and the market continues to shrink month-over-month in the United States for a once prominent segment filled with some of automakers’ greatest engineering efforts. That includes the 2016 Chevrolet Impala.
We happen to quite like the Chevrolet Impala, especially in its most recent guise, wrapped up in a handsome looking package with plenty of interior space.
But, Chevrolet has a problem, and it knows it.
During a recent media event, General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, commented the company will begin analysis of certain product segments to understand if its in shareholders’ interests to continue supporting a certain product category. Namely, the 2016 Chevrolet Impala came up.
The 2016 Impala sits less than an inch longer than the incoming 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, with the Malibu encroaching on its roominess, meaning, the Impala is starting to look a tad redundant within the portfolio.
We feel there are really only two directions the Chevrolet Impala could go following this generation of the storied nameplate.
Option one: the Impala name goes away, leaving the Malibu to the segment and freeing up GM resources to focus on other more profitable segments. America’s crossover craze doesn’t seem to be dying down any time soon.
Option two: Chevrolet transforms the Impala into an affordable halo model, something the 2016 Chevrolet SS never accomplished, and most likely won’t before it’s sent to the automotive graveyard. We envision a larger wheelbase, potent V6 power and we think exclusive all-wheel drive for a reimagined Impala could fare well with consumers. Pricing could stay shy of the 2017 Buick LaCrosse, which is also poised to grow and take on Avenir design cues. This allows for two separate value propositions, with distinct branding for both vehicles among the hierarchy that is the E2xx platform.
Now, we want to hear from you. Where do you think the Chevrolet Impala should head next? Let us know in our poll and, if neither option appeals to you, be sure to tell us how you envision a new Chevrolet Impala.
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Put it on the LWB Alpha platform. Get rid of the Chevy SS. Impala can run the 2.0T (LS and LT), 3.6 (LT option, LTZ standard), 3.0TT (SS). Offer AWD on every trim. 8/9spd auto.
This. Seriously, GM Authority should not be ignoring this option – it should be evangelizing for it.
Dodge Charger sales may not be stellar, but that’s because it’s basically on the same platform as one that rolled off the line in 2008. It’s still using a retuned LX platform underneath.
An Impala on Alpha would make sense now more than ever, with gas prices low, and America’s muscle craze not dying down. As I feared, a V8-only Chevy SS strategy is leaving a bad aftertaste… and this is an option that without GM Performance Division, there isn’t a crusader willing to show GM the light internally.
Agreed! We are living in the golden age of the muscle car. Even Nissan is trying to take advantage. Furthermore, full-sized is the natural domain for US carmakers.
Impala should have replaced Malibu with a halo on top. I think Barra is trying to grow Buick at Chevrolet’s expense. This Ford-like logic its flawed given that Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Dodge, Chrysler, and Toyota can handle this segment even as it shrinks.
Honestly, the next Impala should be based on the Omega platform if it’s possible to cheapen it. We don’t know what wheelbase constraints the Alpha platform has. In the case of the mainstream full-size cars, wheelbase length and the interior room is one of the most important selling points for this class.
If GM can make a full-sized four-door Omega muscle car, The full-size market could be more competitive. Heck, if each brand merged large size with great styling and sufficient to muscle car performance, that segment might stop shrinking. Then again, never underestimate the market power of young families.
Drop it on Alpha in AWD and RWD options, 4 cylinder, 6 cylinder and 8 cylinder options. Make it kick the Chargers ass.
I just want to see the Impala name stick around.
Front and rear visibility problems , component(dash) issues , a transmission with a mind of its own…in other words typical GM first year blues that didn’t go away . Frankly , either make the Malibu or the Impala a middie sized CUV . Whatever one is left as a car , you add a coupe to the design , perhaps even a wagon style…..and a V6 !
I too would like to see the Impala on Alpha platform and offer it with the 2.0 Turbo, a V6 and a standard 5.3 V8. Have a base model, a LT , LT 2 model and a High Output 5.3 SS.
Why would they dump a truck engine into this as the V8 option? LT1 or nothing.
They tried a 5.3 LS4 on the old Impala SS. The transmission ate itself and got on average 15 mpg. Nobody wants that to come back. V8’s are perceived as high cost, gas guzzling monsters to consumers now. Turbo V6 maybe, but the 3.6L puts out enough power for what most consumers are looking for when they want vroom vroom in that large of a car.
I could rebuild 3 V8’s for the price of 1 turbo.
Well I checked the sales figures and it appears the numbers while lower than the past are sufficient to retain a car in this class. We have to consider that the past numbers also included police and non profit fleet sales so I expect they are making money yet here.
The question is can they fit in a FWD that will not compete with the new Lacrosse? Can they make an Alpha that is priced right for the segment and still get good MPG? I think they could do either at this point. The question is what future plans do they have we are unaware of that could affect this model.
More MPG is a must into the future. The FWD would be the best shot of getting more MPG with less mass. On the other hand the Alpha would give it a different feel than the Malibu and Lacrosse.
Now I do not have all that GM knows but I would like to see an Alpha based on a long wheel Based Camaro. This car would retain the Impala name and would carry a limited Impala SS model too.
The standard car would have a Turbo and the new DHOC V6 that in the Camaro runs 13’s. That car would not need any more power for its duty,
Now I would replace the SS with the Impala SS with a V8 engine and only one version to retain cost. I would also offer it to Holden if the exchange rates were right.
This whole thing would balance on profitability of a said car as well as meeting the MPG requirements of today and in the future with out putting Chevy on the hot seat for it.
You need to consider the real world facts and regulation they face and we will not see 3 kinds of V8 options here. I know some do not want to hear it but it is what it is.
The issue here is we also can not compare this to the Cadillac Alpha too as they sell for much more and they make a good profit because of it. Chevy will have to balance content and price as they can not just slap on a $55K price or higher like Cadillac.
There is a lot more to consider here than many have posted already.
Turn it into the muscle car it deserves to be. Such a waste of a beautiful car to have it stuck with front wheel drive and a cylinder deficiency. Alpha and an LT1. That’s what the Impala needs.
Make Impala bigger, then drop the 3.0TT V6 with AWD. A V8 wouldn’t hurt either.
Since Pontiac is not here anymore, it’s up to Chevy to explore/research the future of large ”affordable” performance sedans.
Kill the Equinox, instead! Haha
The original Impala was a 1958 luxury coupe – 2 door hardtop with powerful engine options
Do that again with a true 2 door ( pillar less) hardtop and a convertible
A personal luxury coupe and convertible.
Not easy to do with side impact standards and keeping it under two tons.
Also coupes are a tough sell in this market.
I would love to see it too but then reality bites you in the ass every time.
You have no idea how much I want mainstream full-size coupes to make a comeback. I hate that for the Big 3 muscle car trio, they have to shrink to become better all-around sports cars.
I can appreciate your feelings as I too would love to see it but the numbers are just not there in this very expensive development climate.
Just look around as any coupes that survive are very expensive outside the Mustang and Camaro.
The cheaper cars like the Altima coupe, and even the Scion and Subaru are underperforming and are at risk of not being much longer. Only their global presents has saved them at this point. It is rate if you see one of these weekly let alone daily on a work commute.
GM would love to do a sub Alpha RWD but with the sales of the Subaru, Scion and Hyundai coupes lagging it has not given them even a chance at that.
Even the CTS coupe we last had is a rare car in any from. I loved that car but the numbers were very poor and that played a large part of not CTS today.
Now cars like a Bentley or larger Benz or Maserati you can get away with it because there is such a price it lets it last as a low volume model
The Caprice coupe in 77 was a great looking car but it too went away years ago do to the lack of sales.
I wish I could give you something to justify it more than you or I wanting one but we sadly are not enough. Even then odds are good that I would buy a truck over one anyhow because it better fits my needs now we have a better smaller truck.
The other elephant in the room is we already have a Alpha Chevy coupe. Building a second would be difficult to do and making it much different would be more costly.
If I were to invest in one here it would be a Buick and make it a Rivera like personal Luxury like coupe to split the ground between the Camaro and ATS coupes.
The Omega would be priced out of the Chevy range.
I think both the Asian and European offerings have more than proven, that a stylish, and powerful coupe will sell…just like the American coupes used to sell…The Camaro, Mustang, etc are coupes. An Impala coupe, would be a Coupe that would attract singles, and married folks, just as the Impala 2 door hard tops aka coupes of the 50’s and 60’s. Put my name down for an Impala SS two door hardtop, with a V-8
Look at the numbers and they will show that they do not fit like they used too.
In the past coupes in the mid size group were 50%-75% the cars sold. Today they barely make 30% of these segments if they do well.
Case in point the CTS coupe. Not as rare as the wagon but you can see a CTS sedan on every corner and hardly a coupe if once a day.
Keep also in mind the BMW and Benz coupe sell in smaller numbers than the sedans but they also sell at a higher price that permits a lower volume.
For Chevy to do a impala coupe you would need to build around 75,000 units per year to make it worth while at that price point. You do know the Camaro’s target is 100,000 units or more. The ATS is a little less because it is more expensive.
Give me the price you plan to sell this at and how many you need to make it profitable. That is where this whole thing falls apart.
We are not building cars like in the 50’s anymore. Back in 1958 we had one model Chevy and it had to be the entire line. Sure we had a Biscayne and Impala but they were still the same car just different trim. Today we have multiple models and one model does not need to do it all.
The Impala as a coupe on an Alpha would pretty much end up close to a Camaro and if anything they would take sales from each other.
Like stated as a previous Chevelle and Monte Carlo owner I would love more coupes but I also look at this like most automakers like Chevy do and the numbers are just not there. It is not the 50’s – 70’s anymore and economics of scale have changed.
The fact is there is room for one larger RWD coupe in the Chevy line up and the Camaro is it. Now if you want an Alpha sedan Impala I could make a good case there but it but even then there are other factors like overall CAFE etc. that will make it tough as time goes on to market.
I really do not see the Omega being priced out. It for the most part is an enlarged Alpha. The mix of materials like the CT6 may be less but it could be considered. GM also needs economics of scale on that platform and as of yet they have not shown us where that is coming from other than one car so far.
FYI the Asian coupes come no where close to selling like the older American coupes. The new Scion and Subaru have under performed in sales and they have already gotten some changed to help sales. If they do not improve here they could be gone in 5 years.
Mark pushed for a sub Alpha coupe but the numbers on the Scion and Subaru killed his business case for now.
The market has changed and people want more utility over style. This is why CUV models and sedans sell in numbers off the chart and coupes have become a side model when it can prove to be profitable.
For about the same money you can have a Camaro V6 as a loaded Camry or Accord sedan. The Camaro does well for a coupe with just over 100K unit sold and we should see more this year due to the new model intro. The Asian sedans sell 260,000 here and even more overseas.
I like what you like but I am sorry to tell you the companies can only have so many models and they are going to take the ones with the greatest return. This is the non fun side of car building.
FYI Dennis the people who reject the coupes more than any are young singles and young married couples. They as a generation tend to move to small sedans as they see cars not as styling accessories as we once did but transportation and with back doors it is eaiser to get your friends in or out. They are more concerned how well it connects to their phone.
As for young married couples. My wife said that she wanted a sedan because she was not going to try to put my young son in a car seat in the back of our T bird. We moved to a SSEI Bonneville and she has not wanted a coupe since. She is far from in the minority.
I hated giving up on the coupe but it was her car so I gave. I had my truck and she got what she wanted.
Amendment to previous comment please…I am a 68 year young Car guy, who totally believes that young singles and married couples, of all ages would be attracted to a stylish, affordable Impala two door hardtop today, just as they were over 50 years ago. Style and Performance will be the attraction, along with decent MPG, just like the first year Impala with the 283 V-8.
Take a cue from the successful Audi or BMW line-up – a basic set of desirable attributes (e.g. RWD/AWD) with additional standard engineered-in (not add-on) features as you move up the size ladder. Chevy does not need yet another ubiquitous FWD only sedan differentiated from the other GM offerings only by nameplate, wheelbase, and a few bolt-on/add-on features. (Although I am not a big ford fan, I think they hit one out of the park with the new Taurus, many of which sold are AWD, which is a big differentiator in a ford vs Chevy sedan analysis.) Also, look at the power plant – nothing unique in the current Impala. Differentiate it by offering an advanced engine that is available in a select few GM offerings.
Impala is a great name plate – GM should be celebrating these like they are with the Camaro for it’s lineage and long company history.
My first car in the mid 90’s (inherited the family car from my parents when I turned 16 and they bought a Lumina APV (FTW)) was a ’78 Impala.
That all said, I’d drop it for a generation (2-4 years), and then bring it back as a halo. RWD/AWD only, yes, as a legit performance full size sedan.
By that time the SS will be out to pasture, hopefully the tin can crossover funding will be diminished. GM will need a nameplate to replace the SS in NASCAR.
Even do like they did in the mid 90’s when they brought them back – Caprice (or Bel-Air) as the “standard” with V6 or V6(T) options, and maybe hybrid or EV possibilities, unique in a full size sedan (and revive the wagon!), and make Impala SS as the performance version, V8-only.
Keep the best selling large mid sized sedan on the market. Malibu is too small. Offer a front bench seat and it will sell like hot cakes. Bring back the vintage American sedan.