By on May 25, 2011

When I visited GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant back in October, I was greeted with a few surprises. One was a small fire that flared briefly on my sweater after a cinder from the Volt’s body-welding station struck me. The other was the sight of GM’s latest, most high-tech green car being assembled on a line that was filled with GM’s oldest-school dinosaur cars, the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne. The scene was no doubt intended to inspire appreciation for the changing face of GM, but the scarcity of Volts amid the oceans of giant front-drive barges (production was just beginning) made it clear that it would be a while before Volt production would occupy much of the sprawling facility. With the DTS and Lucerne headed for retirement, the new 2013 Malibu will be taking up residence at Detroit-Hamtramck later this year, even as Volt production capacity is increased to hit next year’s 60k unit goal. And now GM is announcing that the next generation of Chevy Impala will be built at Detroit-Hamtramck as well, leaving folks in Oshawa saying “eh?” (or words to that effect).

I’m sure TTAC’s resident Oshawa Impala vet, mikey, will want to weigh in here, but in the meantime, here’s what CAW president Ken Lewenza is telling AN [sub] about GM’s move to bring Impala production back to the states:

It creates a sense of nervousness because you need the market to substantiate two facilities building the same vehicle. If the market isn’t there, one would have to take a look and question GM’s decision when they already had the investment in the Oshawa facility.

GM has not publicly stated when production of the next-gen Impala will begin in Detroit, or that Oshawa will definitely lose production of the car. But, as Lewenza points out, tooling up Det-Ham would allow GM to potentially pull the Impala out of Oshawa where it has been built with only brief interruptions since 1965. And, as it turns out, Lewenza could have reason to worry: the CAW has opposed the UAW’s two-tier wage structure, and its contract with GM is up in 2012 (Impala is said to be all-new for the 2014 model-year). Creating “overflow” capacity at Det-Ham could be as useful as a negotiating tool to force the CAW to accept two-tier as it is for actually keeping up with excess demand (GM must build 16% of its NA production in Canada under the current contract).

And luckily Det-Ham is a giant facility, with almost 3m square feet and an initial capacity of 250k units annually when it was built in 1985. Last year the plant built a little over 50k units, but with Volt production reportedly headed for 120k annual units (although definitely not next year… would someone please tell the feds?), GM will probably keep Malibu and Impala production on a strictly overflow basis. If that 250k capacity still applies (and it may not), there could only be 130k units of capacity for Impala and Malibu combined. If Fairfax remains the main Malibu production site, GM might be able to threaten the CAW with an Impala pullout, but that would limit further Volt ramp-ups, including Det-Ham production for a likely Volt MPV.

In short, mikey‘s Impala-building bretheren probably have nothing to fear… except the two-tier wages which they’ll probably be forced to accept at some point. Luckily the UAW may use the current negotiating session to narrow the gap between the tiers, creating a more equitable option for the CAW. That could be the key to keeping the Impala where it’s been since the days when GM enjoyed a 50%+ market share.

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73 Comments on “Impala Production Shifts To Detroit, Creates “Nervousness” In Oshawa...”


  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    I hope they do a better job building the ‘new’ Impalas than the garage queen ’02 model I had.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yeah….The rumours have been floating around for awhile. Just to set the record straight,we lost the “B” B.O.F Impala in 1985.GM ripped out the 30 year old Chev line. We got stuck with the Pontiac 6000 and the A FWD Olds. We didn’t get the Impala back untill 2000. At that time GM had renamed, and reskinned the “Lumina”

    At one point we had two plants, running five shifts. Over 2000 “W” cars a day at 60% Impala.

    In early 2008, GM stitched, and welded plant, one, and plant two together, to make room for the flex/Camaro plant.

    Then the “fit hit the shan”…Still the Impala chugged along. Fleet sales and all it kept us breathing through the dark days of 2009.

    With the Truck plant gone, and 2500 high seniority taking the buy out,we still had 1000+ layed off. Next thing you know Impala is working Saturdays. GM started calling people back.

    Does anyone think were NOT going to miss the Impala,when its gone?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’ve been worried for the Canadian ops since three things happened:
    * GM tried to avoid taking money from the Canadian and Ontarian governments. That told me they wanted the option to dump Canadian assembly, no-strings-attached
    * GM has pulled volume products (the GMT900s, the Allure/Lacrosse) out of Oshawa and replaced it with the fad-ish Camaro and Regal (which hasn’t yet seen Canadian assembly).
    * GM, effectively, shat on Oshawa, pulling jobs out after securing tax breaks (compare with Ford and Oakville, which was significantly re-done, or Toyota opening Woodstock, or Honda putting product into Alliston: GM is walking away) and didn’t really seem to care much.

    GM is already spooling down St. Catharines and probably would have spun down CAMI were the Equinox not such a surprise hit. There’s not a lot keeping GM here, and a lot of political capital to keeping token American factories going. In Canada, not so much. Heck, it’s not even a union thing. Ford and Chrysler are unionized, and the transplants don’t pay much less thanks to socialized healthcare.

    I honestly can’t see the Regal coming to Oshawa, especially if the Impala doesn’t stay. I’d like it to, but it seems easier to make it alongside the other Ep2s, and with a Zeta sedan as likely as snow in Hell, I can easily see the Camaro going elsewhere (Holden?) when it cools off. I know they dumped some money into the Camaro line, but they haven’t given any indication of building much there.

    (I’m angling for a Regal if and when it hits Canadian assembly, but at the rate it’s going I might wait and see what the next CSX looks like)

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ psar …Were you aware that the Oshawa Impala plant was running overflow Equinox from CAMI? I thought they got Regal going and then ran into parts shortage because of the Japan mess. Or they need assembly space to run Camaro converts?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I didn’t know they ran the Equinox out of Oshawa, but I’m not surprised: it’s a pretty good car in a niche that GM had left unoccupied, and in which it’s competition is a little weak.

    I’d heard the Regal was still coming out of Europe to help Rüsselsheim make volume, though.

    I am not holding out hope for the Camaro in the long term, and unlike Chrysler there’s no Charger/300 equivalent to their Challenger. I wish there was—either a big Buick or a rear-drive Impala—because if the Camaro could float a plant alone then there’d still be something going on in St. Therese.

    Sorry @mikey, but as someone who watched GM wind down St. Kitts despite it’s making some of the company’s best engines for years, I’m not hopeful

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    …One was a small fire that flared briefly on my sweater after a cinder from the Volt’s body-welding station struck me…

    Clearly a failed GM assassination attempt.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Right…..You can program a welding robot to do anything. Hmmm ?though if you hold the spot welder at certain angle……nah… nobody would ever do that.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    In all seriousness, given the CAW unwillingness to play ball and the strength of the CAD, a move to the US, and probably hefty tax breaks from Michigan and Detroit to create jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Holden…As it stands right now…wer’e not up to bat? Lets not forget we opened our contract early in 08. Two more times in 2009.

      Contrary to popular belief….collectivly, we gave up millions in concessions.

      • 0 avatar
        Mark in Oshawa

        You guys gave up less than the UAW and that is part of the problem Mikey. The UAW is more malleable…..

        I am thinking Mike, there is more going on here than just the unions. I think the dollar being at par isn’t helping but I think GM is tired of keeping Canadian jobs over Americans because I think Obama is now calling those shots; plus with the UAW having a say in management decisions under the US bailout, I think old fashioned protectionism is kicking in…

  • avatar
    mikey

    Okay..My take on the labour situation.

    Before I start. I’m a High school drop out. My grammar,spelling and sentence structure is terrible. Its something I’m not real proud of. But it is what it is eh?

    So here would be the facts. First tier employees make $35 an hour. Second Tier make $25 with less benifits and limited seniority rights.

    Psar is right, socialized medicine saves GM a bundle of cash, vs an American worker. However thats where the savings begin, and thats where they end.

    Now when you listen to the UAW’s Bob King ya got’ta pick the fly $hit ou’ta the pepper. Make no mistake, Mr Kings priority is jobs. “Jobs” translates to Union dues. King is on record, stating he wants to expand 2nd tier. It not as if they don’t pay dues eh?

    Now as I see it..After a lot of noise, and threats, and general BS,the UAW will settle with the former big three. You will see a modest increase for the lower tier. Not much for the upper tier. Maybe some retirement incentives? Who knows? but no strike.

    You will see “product alocation commitments”

    This puts us in the “frozen north” in a very f upped position. First off… we are a year behind. By the time 2012 comes around,there ain’t a whole lot of product left to allocate.

    Then there’s the Loony. A barrel of oil goes up, the Loony goes up. Then we got politics. The US taxpayer has a bigger stake in GM then we do. I’m sure that your President is going to make a lot of political hay,with GM adding “American jobs”….I don’t blame him.

    My prediction? losing the Impala is a heart breaker. Buts its gone, and it aint coming back. At the end of 2012 we are either going to lose CAMI or the old Impala line in Oshawa. Or both.

    • 0 avatar
      WRohrl

      Mikey,
      FWIW, your grammar, spelling, and sentence structure is better than a lot of high school graduates and actually better than some college graduates that I know. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
      Jim

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      @Mikey:

      You don’t need to “confess” or “apologize” for anything. It’s easy for anyone who has never worked in a production environment to sit at a computer and type an opinion on something they may have had no experience with.

      My little snip of a comment above was an expression of my liking what I drive, looking forward to a possible new Impala, not fully realizing the complete(?) loss of manufacturing of a very well-built car across the river, which just happens to be in another country.

      Hang tough!

      At least you’re retired, but I hope that plant won’t go to waste.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Zackman…..Thanks for the thoughts….and thanks for being an Impala fan. I’m off fishing for 5 days with a bunch of retirees,and active workers.

        I’m thinking, we are certainly going to have something to talk about.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      However thats where the savings begin, and thats where they end

      Not true, and you’re selling yourself short: Oshawa has won multiple awards for efficiency and quality, and Canadian workers have a long history (Toyota has some research on this) of training up faster than American or Mexican labour.

      That has to count for something.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Firstly, full disclosure that I am Canadian, so a slightly biased view here…

    But, given that the Canadian and Ontario goverments (taxpayers) ponied the cash when GM hit the skids a couple years ago… that should count. Not to mention the # of GM’s that Canadians buy, should also justify builiding business back UP as conditions dictate (not removing business).. Also, the good quality record at Oshawa..

    The one inequality on our side is not accepting the two – tier wages.. If the US workers accepted them, so should the Canadian workers..

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @dusterdude….What…we didn’t accept two tier? In 2006 we granted the company the right to out source all cleaning and unskilled maintenance. So the former CAW sweeper jobs bacame became $13 an hour outsourced jobs= 800 people gone. GM shunt drivers?….gone in late 07 to an outside firm. 23 more jobs history, replaced by $16 an hour people.

      In 1996 GM sold our fabrication plant 1600 jobs gone. Today its a pile of gravel.

      Don’t believe half of what you hear. Everybody hates us. Unless your house burns down without insuranse, or somebody needed an opperation in the US. It wasn’t unheard of, to pull in 40K at a gate collection. Hundreds of us gave up our free time to coach hockey teams,soccer etc. Christmas time.. GM supplied the vans, the CAW the manpower to deliver thousands of hampers to the needy.

      Odd… the media never reports that stuff eh?

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Mikey, what is a shunt driver? I think I know but I’d like to be sure. If it’s what I think it is sounds like a cool job.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @MikeAR….A empty 53 foot tandem axle trailer is dropped at the dock door,by the shunt driver, driving a “shunt truck” He unhooks the air hoses drops the landing gear,chocks and blocks and goes to the next job. When the trailer was loaded,I’d put the call out for a “shunt”and within minutes we would have a trailer switch.

        We had as many as ten shunt drivers a shift be bopping from dock, to dock.

        Without a doubt they are the best I’ve ever seen at backing a trailer.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Thanks for the job description. It wasn’t what I thought it was, I had visions of guys who spent their shift just driving the new cars around the plant grounds to storage lots and to transporters. Oh well.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Oh….you would be thinking of a “yard driver”..I raised the down payment on my first house doing that on O.T.

        We farmed that job out in the early 90′s

      • 0 avatar
        Bowler300

        “we granted the company the right”.

        I’m at a loss for words. Who runs the company? Who owns it?
        I would think that they have the “right” to make sound business decisions. They have a responsibility to their shareholders. A car company, and most companies, are not in business to employ people. They are in business to make money. Anything that prevents them from doing that (legally) will only end in disaster (or bankruptcy).

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ Bowler….Its called a “closed shop” for a reason.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        They are in business to make money. Anything that prevents them from doing that (legally) will only end in disaster (or bankruptcy).

        Yes and no. Recall that there are numerous incidents, and all sorts of ways, to incentivize certain management actions to the detriment of the long-term health of the enterprise. We’ve seen some spectacular examples of this at, eg, Goldman-Sachs.

        It’s not surprising to see labour have more of a stake in long-term success than management, and certainly more than the hedge funds and VCs (and their operational minions) in management in certain organizations. After all, the incentive for labour is to keep the company around to pay for a job with skills that aren’t that transferrable, and to ensure a pension at the end of it; the incentive for upper management is (often) to manipulate stock options that aren’t necessarily linked to performance, especially when you have a golden parachute negotiated at hire and a network of old boys you can fall back on.**

        In a non-adversarial labour/management relationship both sides actually work this way. Management doesn’t try to grind labour into the ground, and labour doesn’t try to suck the company dry. It works very well, but is largely anathaema to American management/labour relations culture; there are lots of successful examples of this outside North America

        I’d also point out that there’s nothing immoral about workers wanting to enrich or empower themselves. After all, management does it, and it’s pretty much what C-suite management is all about. The difference is that while management has power and money, all labour has is numbers. Why begrudge them the only leverage they have?

        ** Do you think Rick Wagoner or any of his recent (living) predecessors or colleagues are hurting for cash?

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @psar: I believe some folks don’t understand (or ignore) the concept of labor as a commodity, just the same as steel, rubber and plastic. It’s another component of what goes into the production of something. At the C-suite level, it’s just another cost to be managed.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        +1 to psarhjinian.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    If only they still made the SS with the 5.3V8, I’d be paying so much more attention.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      Decent engine but the front drive trannies couldn’t handle the torque according to both dealer mechanics I’m friends with. 40k replacements are not uncommon.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Ahhh…seeing that hilarious avatar in the morning always makes my day!

      Your comment drives me crazy, though, as I see a few Impala SS’s in and on my daily drive, wishing I had one, but not wanting to pay a drop more for gas than I do now. Brain is churnin’ away…

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        No offense Zackman, et al, but the Grand Prix GXP V8 rules. If you miss that V8 sound, that car has it in spades.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I’d have to agree. The Impala SS was a nice enough car, but the Allure Super did “muscle cruiser” better, while the Grand Prix GXP had “sporty” more nailed down. The Impala SS looked like a taxi cab with bling rims.

        I was always impressed with the GP GXP: the interior wasn’t great, but it was more driver-focused than the Impala and less god-awful tacky than the Bonneville. Very “American Maxima”, especially considering how unsporting the bathtub-cabin Maxima of the time was.

        The HUD was especially nifty.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @geozinger: Now you’ve done it…thanks a lot.

        Back in the day when I owned my 1964 Chevy Impala SS convertible as shown on “CC”, I had full dual exhausts with glasspacks on that car and along with the re-built 283 with a 327 350hp cam, that engine sounded so…well, I used to cruise around on base with the radio off just taking in that sweet, sweet V8 rumble. Now you’ve got me in dreamland and I have to do (some) work!

        …and the memories and stories continue!

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @psar: I loved the GP GXP when it came out, but family size and habits prevented me from owning one. I test drove a leather equipped version and found it to be very nice, as nice as a Lexus, IMO.

        The Impy SS was actually a pretty good interpretation of the Impy SS’s of long ago. I thought it was meant to be a hot rod for the more practical guy, someone who needed to haul, in every sense of the word. The Allure/LaCrosse Super was just that, Maximum Buick-ness. But, since Olds went away, I preferred Pontiacs, and the GXP did it for me.

        I still think every car should come with a HUD, we had one in our first Aztek, it was hard to give up on subsequent cars…

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Dan, I loved the idea of the SS too (it was imported briefly to Vzla)… then I found Cartuning, and saw some AWESOME youtube videos.

      Slap a kit on a 3.9 and call it a day. Or buy the new 3.6 DOHC etc… which should have around the same HPs as the V8.

      I sat once in one of the previous gen models and would have loved to own one of those. I think it would make for a very good family car.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Judging from the sales numbers of the last few years, I just don’t think that they will be selling enough of them to break even, and even less chance of making a profit. The Impala in all its glory has been relegated to a niche vehicle with a small fan base. The Malibu clearly is the better vehicle between the two, newer and more modern as well. The only way Impala could make an impact is to equip it with a small-block V8 and AWD. I would be interested in such a hot rod, just for grins.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      12000 cars a month? A niche market?….okay

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Cue the debate about whether fleet queens are truly profitable…

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Cue the debate about whether fleet queens are truly profitable…

        There’s no real debate. In the Panther’s case, holistically, they’re not. Ford would still be making them if it was profitable to do so and meet upcoming regulations.

        I think the W-Body is up against the same wall: what would be required to make it “work” in the modern is mutually incompatible with being a good fleet car. It will be interesting to see how the Caprice fits in with this strategy (or if that’s just Lutz bluster-tease and/or another volume soak for Holden)

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I will take the pure contrarian view here.

    Americans LOVE the cheap and simple BIG ride. I’m not talking about the Euro-oriented folk that populate this site. It’s the ones that have driven pickup’s from a young age. Those who see a hybrid as nothing more than a glorified appliance that takes the joy out of driving.

    The ones who consider Chevy, Ford and Dodge to be three great brands to choose from when you consider their meat of the market. Mid to full sized sedans, SUV’s, pickup’s, and the tried and true RWD muscle car.

    They are a far bigger slice of the American market than most people here will admit exist. Guess what? Many of those folks are buying Impalas now that Ford has officially deep-sixed the Panthers.

    Folks in their 50′s and 60′s are still buying a lot of Impalas because it’s an ‘honest’ car that doesn’t have the styling weirdness or overtly tight steering that’s becoming de riguer these days.

    It appeals to a conservative clientele that just wants a damn car that’s simple to drive and keep. They’re not alone in their desire for the simple and cheap good riding car. So do the local and county governments as well as fleet companies and rental firms. They want stability, comfort, and predictability. That’s what the Impala offers in spades.

    The same is true for our local police departments. The Charger has become an absolutely expensive bitch to maintain. So much so that many police fleets are purchasing Impalas instead.

    Until Chrysler is able to keep the police versions down to the quality and cost level of the Impalas, I don’t see GM losing any marketshare in that part of the market. The Charger may be better on paper. But if Impala’s can handle 90+% of police work, I see GM gaining what Ford already gave away. The same will be true for a good portion of the fleet market as well.

    Like it or not, the Impala has apparently become the new Panther of Detroit. It may not extend to the limos and usury markets. But with minimal tooling costs and a heavy focus on space, power and good fuel economy, the Panther should find healthy sales numbers in the next few years.

    Plus consider one other variable. IT doesn’t look like a squid or a melted jellybean. Think about that. How many of the ‘new’ cars sold by today’s automakers look like deformed bugs? The Impala is one of the very few that still takes styling cues from more contemporary times… and a lot of folks still buy that type of car.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      GM is eliminating the OHV workhorse engines this year. I’m interested to see how the DOHC 3.6L/6A works out in the Impala.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        ajla….I can tell you the OHV 3.9 works very well in an Impala. We drive very fast up here. Oh yeah there’s a lot of faster, more powerfull cars on our highways. My LTZ holds its own quite well.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I was really praying for the 3.9V6 6speed auto before that engine took a dirt nap. Just to see how it could make use of the powerband.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Steven, I hadn’t heard anything about problems with police Chargers. What sort of problems are they having?

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        Allpar does a good job of covering the brake issues. There have also been transmission issues with the Chargers and they simply can’t take the abuse of the old Panther platform. My understanding is that replacement parts have also been very high compared with the Impala and late Crown Vic.

        In addition, GM is absolutely slashing the prices of the Impala to a level that is several thousands less than the Charger. Allpar does a good synopsis of it. Right now even my local county is picking up the Impala due to the economics of owning it vs. the capabilities and packaging of the Charger.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        @Steven: I don’t think the Impala can take the pounding much better than the Charger can, but the front suspension is just stupidly cheap to repair/replace, and the transaxle isn’t much worse.

        We knew this, though. The Panther is like a shark. Well, not in the “fast, sleek and lethal” sense of the word, but rather in the “perfectly evolved for it’s niche and totally unsuited outside of it”. It’s a perfect cop/taxi car; nothing else still sold can do what it does quite so perfectly.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Psar, I thought it was like an alligator? :)

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I…uh…where do I start? Everything you have said describes me! 60 yrs. old? Check! Want an “honest car”? Check.

      I could go over every little thing you have written, but that would be a waste of time and kilobytes. I’ll just say: “Check…check…check…”

      I love my Impala and intend to buy another in a couple of years.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve B

      I thought they weren’t selling the Impala to anyone but fleets anymore. I haven’t seen one that’s not a fleet car of some kind in years.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        They are all over the freaking place out here (Gallup, NM) and almost all are LS models with bench seats. Big families around here with not much money who like cheap transportation (and wana be gansters who buy one in their favorite gang colors.)

  • avatar
    mikey

    Steven Lang…..You just described me to a T….

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Kind of like that old saw about Zigmund Freud: When is a cigar just a cigar?

      When is a car just a car?

      Just get in the thing and drive. Forget about the image, the projection of whatever. Get in, go somewhere and do something for a while. Come back later, (with any luck) there it is, waiting for you like some faithful dog. A magic genie ready to take you beyond the roads you drive on.

      I had a professor in art school who had done a series of self portraits, with him positioned behind the wheel of whatever he was driving at the time. At the time I knew the man, he was in his early 50′s and had done five or six of these. They were all kinds of different clothes, hairstyles, cars and even passengers, including his wives abd kids as they aged too.

      I thought that said way more about our shared passion for the ideal of the car, than the car itself. And the painter, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Our commercial art teacher in my junior year at the technical high school I attended was an interesting fellow, too. That year (1967-1968) he drove blue a Citroen DS. The next year, he drove a late model Mercedes sedan, little fins and all. A confirmed bachelor, he was living the dream! Who knows what he drove in the years after I graduated?

  • avatar
    shaker

    No offense, but here’s CR’s take on a 2010 Impala LT Sedan with a 3.5L V6/4-Speed auto (which scored a “57 out of 100″ on their scale, a 2010 V6/CVT Nissan Altima had the highest score in the same “Family Sedan” category with a “97 out of 100″):
    “Dated and unimpressive, the large Impala sedan falls short of modern standards in most key areas. Its very short list of strengths includes easy-to-use radio controls and a large trunk. The cabin has less room than the smaller but much nicer Chevrolet Malibu. Handling is clumsy, the ride is unsettled, and the powertrain is short on both performance and refinement. The 3.5-liter V6 manages 20 mpg overall. The rear seat is skimpy for a car this size, and fit and finish is second-rate. Even chiseling thousands off the asking price wouldn’t make it a good value. Reliability is average, but the Impala scores too low to be recommended.”

    Chevy essentially obsoleted this car by building the Malibu, and would have likely updated it by now had the bankruptcy not shuffled their priorities.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      That would be my impression of the car after having driven a fleet loaner for a week a couple of years ago. The highway ride was especially floaty and unsettled and it felt like I was piloting a boat. It plowed and the tires howled even under modest cornering. I was also shocked at how little room there was in the rear seat for such a big car. The interior plastics were especially cheap looking but the styling was ok. The front seats we also not very comfortable for such a “soft” car. I seriously don’t get whey anyone would choose this car over a Cam-cord-ima. I guess this car must be popular with the luddites and older people that look back fondly on the the “handling” and ride of the land yachts of yore.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        I do a little car jockey work on the side. I spent 3 hours in an Accord. Nice car and yeah..more room in the back than an Impala. But I can’t see it being worth the money.

        As far a the Camry goes…I woudn’t trade my LTZ for two of the ugly pieces of—-.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    When is the CAW contract expiring?

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Despite everyone from Consumers to posters here telling us how uncompetitive the current Impala is there is no denying the sales numbers. Plain and simple, in its’ current iteration the car sells amazingly well. Despite anyone’s opinion of the vehicle there is no disputing the sales. And that is the bottom line.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      And that’s why I no longer pay attention to CR’s personal opinions on ANYTHING!

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      http://www.automotive-fleet.com/Statistics/StatsViewer.aspx?file=http%3a%2f%2fwww.automotive-fleet.com%2ffc_resources%2fstats%2fAFFB10-20-car-reg.pdf

      Impala – 57%

      I agree, if you want a soft, cushy car built with that “old school” GM charm and proven reliability (for a platform that goes back to last century) then the Impy is your ride. Much cheaper than a Taurus, Avalon, Azera, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve B

        What the heck…

        They sold (ignoring fleet sales) the same number of Impalas as Honda sold Fits? Fits are a dime a dozen, but the Impalas must either be sitting in garages 24/7, or blend in so well among the Camrys that they go completely unnoticed.

        Is the midwest filled with Impalas crowding every parking lot to make up for the realative dearth of them on the coast? Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen one in years that doesn’t have either a giant government seal vinyled on the door, or a “US GOV OFFICIAL USE ONLY” plate.

      • 0 avatar

        That chart is from 2009. Impala ran at 72% fleet in 2010.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      We have discussed previoulsy that sales success does not make a car any better than it’s rivals on a quality scale. Lots of terrible products sell in large numbers, doesn’t make them any better. The Malibu is a better car in almost every way.

      • 0 avatar
        Mark in Oshawa

        For sure… the Malibu is almost the same size and is just a better designed and styled car. That said, for fleet use, the Impala is a better unit….

  • avatar
    Steven02

    My opinion of the Impala, it is a good budget family car. It isn’t going to corner. It isn’t about performance. It is a soft ride with an absolutely huge trunk. I rented one for a long trip once, I think it was the 3.9 and ended up with 30 mpg highway on a 4 hour trip.

    If I was on a budget and needed something big, it would be a good vehicle for that. No the interior isn’t that good. But, it is cheap, cheap to repair, and uses some reliable components.

    Given China’s affinity for 20 year old cars, I think GM should start selling it there :) (just kidding).

  • avatar
    Mark in Oshawa

    As someone who drives for an outside carrier delivering parts for GM, I am distressed at this news. That said, the CAW is put their own in jeopardy. The reality is, GM fights with the GM for concessions the UAW gives up a lot easier. Yes, Mikey is right, the CAW has given up some ground. Yes, there isn’t as many CAW jobs there as there was, and yes, they outsourced out stuff like the shunters (the highest paid shunters anywhere in trucking BY FAR) and the guys sweeping the floors (sometimes the guys who couldn’t handle working on the line no more but the Union needed to keep their jobs).

    I have been delivering parts to GM for most of my life driving truck. I grew up in Oshawa. I saw the good the guys on the line have done in the community, and I have seen the attitude of the workers there over the last 20 years too. Seeing guys getting bombed in the parking lot on a Friday night on their lunch. The smell of pot outside the truck plant on midnight shift on any night when I used to deliver transmissions at 1am. The guys on the dock who would play games with truckers they didn’t like and hold their trucks for 2 hours…or disappear when it was time to give the bills out. Playing games with “safety” because they didn’t want to unload a load. All of this was part of the old GM pre bailout.

    After the Bailout? Well the drinking and pot smoking may go on, but I haven’t seen it. Maybe everyone is a little bit older too, but with CEVA now running a warehouse operation out of the old truck plant, I have no illuisions it looks permanent. I see the attitude of the dock techs hasn’t changed much. I see the shuttered cafeterias. I see a plant that looks like it could be shut down easier. GM has spent millions over the years up in Oshawa, and I look around now and I wonder if the game is to try to do the bare minimum. I blame the CAW for defending the right of people not to work. Mikey I am sure is a decent worker. My dad was when he was doing tool and die in there yet I see many guys on the line and docks who work hard but will blindly follow the union down the path to hell. With the dollar at par or more than the US dollar, the advantages of building here are not as many as they were. My job depends on that plant, my community depends on that plant, but a vocal and stupid minority have done their level best to hurt their cause.

    However one point NEEDS to be said. GM got better built product out of Oshawa than American plants building the same models. When the Truck Plant was closed, It was ahead of Fort Wayne on quality for assembling the same pickups. Oshawa was the pilot plant for changes to the trucks all the time. JD Power awards were given to Oshawa all the time…yet Fort Wayne was kept open and Oshawa was closed. What message does THAT send to the consumer? I know what it said to me…Quality means jack to the bean counters…….

    There are a lot of people who have taken GM down this path, management and union…and the attitudes of all of em suck. I make half of what the people in the plant do, yet I am willing to work harder and see the bigger picture than those marking time for the fat pension…..

    So hearing the Impala is going doesn’t surprise me. Nothing does any more….

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    I do a little car jockey work on the side. I spent 3 hours in an Accord. WHAT! Mikey, what has come over you? ;-)

    As far a the Camry goes…I woudn’t trade my LTZ for two of the ugly pieces of—-.

    How about 3 of them?

    Kudos to you Mikey for your spirited defense of Canadian production, quality and efficiency. I do hope that Oshawa gets a good mass market vehicle to replace the Imp., and that this is not a further sign of a complete phase-out of GM production in Canada.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    @ Mikey:

    I’m with you…didn’t know about other conessions CAW have made..If you look at it objectively, Oshawa shouldnt’ be losing anything (lets hope cool heads prevail) The other thing, which I have mentioend another tme on a post, when GM And Chrysler needed hel in late 08/early 09, US and Canad pitched in, but never heard about Mexican goverment giving anything — but their market share for building NAFTA cars doesn’t seem to be suffering !

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Just to apologize to all for all the “typos” on my post from earlier this afternoon….I had to run, and didn’t “spell check” for last post.. thanks..

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    Why does the back-end of this car look like the back end of a Statesman? Paving the way perhaps?


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