General Motors revealed the long-delayed revamp of the Chevrolet Impala at the New York Auto Show. The 2014 Impala is aimed at bringing the vehicle more upscale, boosting retail demand while regaining fleet sales. The 10th variant of the nameplate was launched in 1958; the next-generation model marks the vehicle's first refurbishment in eight years.
It also marks the car's first platform change since the late 1990s. The Impala has been a few years past due for a redesign because of the deep cost-cutting measures during the bankruptcy and restructuring of GM. But the model has fought on. In fact, its U.S. sales of 171,434 last year far surpassed those of its large sedan rivals. However, they were lubricated by fleet sales, which comprised around three-quarters of its volume.
Analyst Aaron Bragman at IHS Automotive commented that GM is marking its position in the large vehicle segment with a "significantly better product," which is not a fleet special but a "higher-priced car, a higher-positioned car, a higher-margin car." Vehicle manufacturers rarely reveal an automobile a year prior to its launch for sale because it could adversely affect the present model. However, the risk is lesser if most of the vehicle's purchasers are fleet operators.
GM executives believe that the arrival of the redesigned Impala in showrooms around a year from now will eliminate what even they recognize is the last lingering stain on the vehicle range of Chevy in terms of quality.
GM wants to take retail market share away from the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus and other competitors in the large sedan segment, which has been declining for years since buyers have shifted to crossovers and SUVs. Chevrolet's vice president of global marketing Chris Perry noted that the full-sized category has been "a bit dormant, adding that the entry could "re-spark" some interest in the full-sized sedan.