Chevrolet has been updating its product portfolio at a rapid pace, swapping out the Cobalt for the Cruze, the Aveo for the Sonic and bringing back the Camaro. Most other models in Chevrolet’s extensive line up are new or will be updated by 2012, excepting for its flagship Impala which will continue “as is” until 2014.
The Chevrolet Impala is a full size, five-passenger sedan powered by its front wheels and last updated in 2006. The platform underpinning the sedan dates back to the late 1980s, meaning that this car is ancient by today’s standards. Competing models include the Hyundai Azera, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon, sedans that are modern, efficient and stylish. The Impala has none of these attributes and won’t enjoy an extensive update before 2014.
The delay for the Chevy Impala can be attributed to GM working on a new, full size car platform for Cadillac, a variation of the same that will underpin the next generation Chevrolet Impala. Dubbed the Cadillac XTS, that new model will replace both the STS and DTS, two of Cadillac’s older models. Once Cadillac gets the XTS, Chevrolet will see the next generation Impala. But, not a day sooner.
In the interim, GM is expected to tweak the Impala slightly to give it at least a fighting chance among non-fleet owners. Already a fleet favorite, the Impala is largely eschewed by the car buying public who seems enamored with the competition. The changes expected to arrive beginning in 2012 may include GM dropping both engine choices replacing these aged powerplants with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine found in many other GM models. That engine would be paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, giving the Impala one of the more modern powerplant combinations in its segment.
The news hasn’t been all bad for the Impala as this model continues to outsell the Ford Taurus. However, profit lines on the Taurus are much higher, a model available in front- and all-wheel-drive and a sometimes competitor for upscale European and Japanese luxury brand shoppers. The Impala offers no such competition and must rely heavily on fleet sales to drum up sales.
Once the next generation Impala hits the market, it will go up against the next generation Ford Taurus and a host of other competitors. Still, if GM plays its market planning right, the Impala may have a shot at winning back customers who long since fled the brand for more modern sedans or opted for other Chevy models.