By on December 14, 2007

2007_impala-thumb.jpgFor the third year in a row, the Chevrolet Impala has been selected Automotive Fleet magazine's "Fleet Car of the Year." Brian McVeigh, GM for GM's Fleet and Commercial Operations, waxed eloquent about the honor: "The fact that the people who actually make the vehicle purchase decisions for their companies picked the Impala Car of the Year three years in a row is the best customer endorsement you could hope for." And as if that wasn't enough GM-oriented excitement, the Chevy Silverado has replaced Ford's F-150 as the "Fleet Truck of the Year." Rob Minton, communications manager for GM Fleet and Commercial Operations said they were "really excited that the Silverado won the triple crown of the auto industry: Motor Trend Truck of Year, the North American Truck of the Year, and now, the Fleet Truck of the Year." This marks the first time both awards went to the same manufacturer. Congrats! Oh wait a second; what about GM's claim that they're trying to divorce themselves from fleet sales? I guess this means they want a smaller cake and eat it too.

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26 Comments on “Chevrolet Impala Remains America’s Fleet Queen...”


  • avatar

    Oh well, guess I was wrong. LINK

  • avatar
    NN

    Sure, the Impala’s a fleet queen. But at least it’s no longer hideous and the interior is acceptable. Here’s what works…it’s a full size sedan (even comes with a bench seat!) that gets over 30mpg on the highway, has a good quality record (Oshawa plant rated top quality GM plant for many years), and can be had really cheap slightly used. I rented one for a long highway drive and reset the mileage meter before setting out…by the time I arrived at my destination, I had clocked 32.5 mpg for a comfortable 200 mile trip. I was thoroughly impressed.

    Not a pistonheads wet dream, the Impala. Yet a very pragmatic buy for someone looking for a mainstream family sedan.

  • avatar
    dean

    Fleet vehicle of the year is somewhat like damning with faint praise.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Heres an interesting fact.The Impala is built in Oshawa ont.along side the W Buick.It runs on 3 shifts [rare these days].No matter how you do the math that a lot of cars.
    The GM/CAW contract does NOT!have a job guarantee
    provision,nor do we have a job bank.
    G.M.is in no way obligated to build cars,that arn’t sold.Lets not forget fleets include cabs and police cars.They also include National/Alamo,Budget you name it.
    I’m not crazy about fleet sales either.I have firt hand knowledge of the impact on resale.
    As Frank points out it a smaller cake,but its still cake.
    As write this we got 5000 layed off some long term and some indefinite,We lose a shift in the truck plant in Jan.and thats after 2 weeks downtime.
    Retooling for the Camaro is gonna take a year.
    Just to top it off we have do do our CAW/GM Contract in Sept.
    Yeah you could say we have some issues.
    Fleet sales bring em on.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    If i=I got to the rental lot and had a choice between the Impala and the 300, I would still take the 300.

  • avatar

    HEATHROI: I’m the opposite. Unless its a 300C, of course.

  • avatar
    jpc0067

    Ah, bench seats. Excuse me while I take a trip down nostalgia lane, to say, 1985-86. Good times…

  • avatar
    50merc

    Bragging about being Fleet Car of the Year is like saying it’s top choice of the lowest-bid buyers. But it could be worse; what if Impala was chosen “Best Car for Demolition Derbies”?

    Mikey, I haven’t had a chance to drive your plant’s products, but just from looking at and sitting in the Impala and LaCrosse they make a good impression on me. Sportiness is less important to me than comfort and quiet for a 600 mile day.

    On the other hand, I keep reading harsh criticisms, such as at The View Through The Windshield blog. More importantly, though Consumer Reports says “Recommended” for the Impala, the comments are pretty cold. CR’s reliability summary for the 2006 Impala was “Average” and for the LaCrosse “Better than average.” (Why? Is the Buick line slower? Use a lot of different parts? Have more inspections?) Of the 17 reliability “trouble spots” criteria, the ’06 Impala had 9 “Much better,” 5 “Better,” and only 3 “Average.” Yet, summing it up, they call the car “Average.” What the heck? I can’t figure that out, but those ratings carry a lot of weight in the marketplace. GM has an uphill battle.

  • avatar
    mikey

    50 merc:As of Jan 1 Impala and Buick are run on the same line.GM needed the space for the Camaro/flex line.The Grand Prix got axed and the Impala took up the slack.
    As far a CR is concerned it doesn’t shock me.They been beating up domestics for years,cause its the in thing to do They give Toyota a free ride that destroyed what little credability they had IMHO.
    Now the Impala may not be that pretty.Get it really clean,and with the right trim not too shabby.
    Now do the same thing with one of those hump hooded Camrys.I don’t want to get busted for trolling here .So I’ll just say form your own opinion.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    The Impala seems to have become the replacement for the Buick Century. A pretty well made vanilla large front wheel drive sedan that has been in production long enough to be stablized. Decent fuel economy from a simple engine. Reasonable lifetime expectation from a cheap to rebuild old-tech autobox.

    The perfect car for Merck salespeople, IRS agents and bank inspectors to make their rounds in.

    Nothing to offend anyone. Not a beauty queen, unless it happens to be standing next to a Camry – in which case the Impala suddenly makes the heart flutter!

  • avatar

    50merc: CR’s reliability summary for the 2006 Impala was “Average” and for the LaCrosse “Better than average.”

    Maybe Michael Karesh can explain, but I expect some of it has to do with the dealer service (less customers to satisfy at Buick dealers) and older, more loyal, clients at Buick.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    That’s about 150k Impalas going to fleet. Queen she is.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Have rented too many Impalas, and have not been overwhelmed in any way, other than the good trip gas mileage. Chintzy interior bits and rather excessive levels of road noise are my lasting impressions

  • avatar
    beetlebug

    I’ve been subjected to rental cars for years now..thus the unloved and unoptioned ones. I would take a 300 over the Impala, only because of slightly better driving dynamics and rear wheel drive. However, after 3 months with a rental Impala I came to see it serving the purpose Impalas always have: big, comfortable, plain transportation. It’s the kind of car my dad had all through the 70s. If they still made Americans like my dad Hondas and Toyotas wouldn’t stand a chance. However, the American Consumer is now a new model as well. But I must say the Impala isn’t a bad car and I liked the plain yet very functional interior. Vanilla it is, but an enthusiast isn’t going to put that car on the short list anyway.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Rented a nice LTZ a few weeks back…granted, the styling won’t get most people’s hearts going, but I was impressed. True, most rentals don’t have the leather, XM radio and all as mine did, but after a week of living with the car, it made sense to me. Comfortable, quiet (I thought, but what do I know…my normal daily driver is a 1997 Toyota Tercel with 170k on the clock…hmmm…does that say anything about older Toyota’s…I digress) good power. Not a bad commuter car, actually. Heated seats and remote start were a very nice touch, and I came to use that starter most every morning. Hey, I’m from the sunny shores of South Carolina, so being up north in Indiana was a shock to my system! I can see why the Impala reigns when it comes to fleet sales. Somebody has to provide those minions of the business travel world with worker-bee transportation, so why not Chevy and the Impala?

  • avatar
    VeryDemmanding

    HEATHROI :

    “If i=I got to the rental lot and had a choice between the Impala and the 300, I would still take the 300.”

    Not in bad weather you won’t. At least the Impala is front-wheel drive which provides some traction. As a winter rental, if I were offered the 300, I would refuse it even with traction control.

    I have a friend who commutes 45 min in a Dodge Magnum–In snowy Michigan. She has more issues with losing control than the rest of us who drive wrongwheel drive vehicles.

    I demand front-wheel drive fleet/rental vehicles like the Mazda 6, but I’ll settle for an Impala.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I think of GM interiors as Fisher Price. Cheap but does the job.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Are the Impala’s only made in Canada now. I remember seeing one on a lot that was assembled in Michigan and I think my brother-in-laws was a Michigan made one also. The loosk don’t bug me, almost a carbon copy of the last gen Accord. Plain but not disgusting like the Camry.

    Didn’t GM blame their low sales numbers to reduced fleet sales and now they are getting fleet awards. So which is it, they have to pick one side and stick with it, people are getting smarter they wont fall for this deception much longer.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Redbarchetta:The Impala is only made In Canada.That could change real fast though.

  • avatar

    I’ll say this for the Impala. Whenever I end up with one of them instead of a Sebring at National or Avis, it is a glorious day.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    I remember the first time I rented one of these things. The first nasty detail I was confronted with was the unlabeled gear selector, WTF!

    GM really knows how to hobble a car with cheapness! Come on guys this is not the Avena, Colbolt, or Malibu. This is Chevys top o de line sedan and GM is telling us that it is too expensive for the General to do what every other automaker does and include a lighted readout on the gear selector.

    And folk wonder why so many people thing of domestic cars as total POS!

  • avatar
    Chaser

    At work I drive Impalas, Crown Vics/Grand Marqs, and Taur..ii? My main beef with the Impala is the lack of driver headroom. I’m only 5’11″ and it feels like my face is about 6 inches from the windshield. I hate that feeling. The Pontiac G6 is the same way, so maybe it’s a GM thing. Either way, it makes me feel very unsafe and there’s no reason for that in a “large” car. Oh, and the Impala also has terrible tire roar up front but I guess that could be the cheap rubber.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I’ve put a number of miles in Impalas and Ford Five Hundreds, and I would choose the Five Hundred (now Taurus) any day. The Ford has more comfortable seats and all around better road manners.

    Unfortunately Ford seems to have forgotten salesmanship, otherwise the Taurus would be doing much better than it is. It offers excellent safety (thanks to a Volvo based platform), excellent roominess and best in class driving dynamics … all for a better price than the size smaller Camry.

    John

  • avatar
    MPLS

    I am leasing an 07 Impala LT with the otional ABS, traction control, and side airbags for $0 down and $250 a month. No problems so far. Sure, resale values would be dreadful if I purchased one. On the other hand, this vehicle is roomy and fuel efficient for a full size sedan. Yeah, yeah, I know the Impala’s handling is average at best, but I do a lot of long freeway slogs and this vehicle is great for that. This is a dependable and underrated sedan largely because it wears a bow tie. That is why the fleets buy this sedan is undervalued and therefore inexpensive to purchase.

  • avatar
    mikey

    MPLS: Thank you from all of us that put our heart and soul into your Impala.250$ a month for a car like that?Thats bang for your buck eh?

  • avatar
    capdeblu

    I actually like the looks of the Impala clone Buick Lacross. And would put it on my car shopping list if I were in the market.

    But I wish someone at GM could explain to me why they are putting an ancient engine in them (3800 V6) and a 1980′s 4 speed transmission? Yes Ive heard its a reliable engine but I have read it was developed in the 1960′s.


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