By on February 12, 2008

x08ch_im021.jpgGiven the enormous and ongoing discrepancy between GM's execs' statements and on-the-ground reality you'd think the media would understand that nothing, nothing GM says should be taken at face value. Nope. Automotive News [AN, sub] kicks-off with the PR pleasing headline, "As Malibu soars, Impala sinks amid GM cuts to rental fleets." Showing some semblance of journalistic integrity, AN lists the Impala-related damage and ties the model's downturn to the up-tick in sales of its logical competitor. "While January sales of the new Chevrolet Malibu mid-sized sedan rose 57.9 percent from January 2007, sales of the larger Impala fell 30.6 percent… The Impala had been a hot seller. It finished 2007 up 7.3 percent to 311,128 units." Chevrolet Spinmeister Terry Rhadigan provides the usual tut-tut, pish-posh, no worries Mate: "We're still doing the methodical reduction in daily rental, and that is reflected in that Impala number. Huge progress is being made. You'll see some decline in numbers, and don't be alarmed. It's all part of our strategy." Oh really? So, Terry, what exactly are those Impala fleet numbers? "Rhadigan would not give the Impala's retail and fleet sales totals." Clearly, Woodward and Bernstein don't have nothin' on AN. Anyway, Chevy store own John LaSorsa ends the piece by backing-up the suits. "The Malibu has such style it's pulling in an import customer." Well, that's one…

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17 Comments on “Oh For Christ’s Sake...”


  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    Was the new Malibu even on sale in January of 07? If not, then of course the new ‘Bu has more sales than it did a year ago. It’s not hard to beat previous sales numbers when those numbers were zero.

    And it says something about GM when the Malibu’s direct competitor is their own Impala. Why, pray tell, did they even spend R&D dollars on a Malibu when they could have just made the Impala better?

  • avatar
    NickR

    When the Crown Vic is euthanized, the next logical choice for most fleets, esp. police forces, is the Impala. Will they turn down that opportunity, I wonder?

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Hehehe. I saw my seventh Malibu on the road yesterday. Another rental, this time an LTZ. That brings the totals to:

    Malibu Rentals: 5
    Malibu Retail: 2
    Malibus inside NAIAS: 2
    Malibus at local Chevrolet dealer: 5-6

    How many months has it been launched? Four?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    When the Crown Vic is euthanized, the next logical choice for most fleets, esp. police forces, is the Impala. – NickR

    Our municipal gendarmerie tried Impalas. They are not sturdy enough for police use and were constantly out of service. The police rescued some well worn Crown Vics from the auction and put them back on the road.

    I have yet to see a new Malibu on the road.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I see about 1 a month, and not the same one since they are different colors. I just saw one driving in the opposite direction the other day, weird mustard/tan color. I only see 2 Accords a month but I think that might have to do with where I live. It’s a truck/SUV, Toyota Camry hell. I once saw 6 of the new body style Camry at the same intersection at one time.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I saw one on the road the other day. It had a little “e” on the back. I guess Chevy “we’ll pick you up.” Anyway that’s my worthless conjecture for the day.

  • avatar
    Skooter

    Hehehe. I saw my seventh Malibu on the road yesterday. Another rental, this time an LTZ. That brings the totals to:

    More scientific hard data…

  • avatar

    L47_V8,

    How can you spot a rental so clearly? Unless they’re from enterprise, I’m not aware of other rental companies blatantly making it obvious that a vehicle is a rental unit. An even Enterprise, with the e, is obvious for people in the know, it’s not like RENTAL CAR is plastered across the windshield. The sticker is, what, an inch and a half by an inch and a half on the back of the car?

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Skooter : February 12th, 2008 at 10:23 am Hehehe. I saw my seventh Malibu on the road yesterday. Another rental, this time an LTZ. That brings the totals to: More scientific hard data… I'm sorry I didn't run out and poll the ~6,500 GM dealers across the country to see how many each sold, then petition GM to release their fleet-sales numbers for the Malibu (which they currently do not release to the public), instead of simply doing what I can and telling what I've seen. If you'd like to do that kind of footwork, be our guest.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    ChrisHaak :
    February 12th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    L47_V8,

    How can you spot a rental so clearly? Unless they’re from enterprise, I’m not aware of other rental companies blatantly making it obvious that a vehicle is a rental unit. An even Enterprise, with the e, is obvious for people in the know, it’s not like RENTAL CAR is plastered across the windshield. The sticker is, what, an inch and a half by an inch and a half on the back of the car?

    It helps that I’ve worked in the rental car industry for a little more than two years (it’s a part-time college job; I started at an Avis licensee and have since moved on to a Hertz corporate office).

    They go like this:
    Enterprise – green “e.”
    Avis/Budget – white “A/B” barcode on inside of rear side windows and front windshield, plus an owning city matrix (Detroit = DTR, Pittsburgh = PIT, Washington, DC, = WAZ, etc.) in rear side window.
    Hertz – bright white barcode on outside of rear window, rear side window (either side), front windshield and/or dashtop on driver’s side, plus “HLE” (Hertz Local Edition) yellow sticker in side window/on rearview mirror.
    National/Alamo – long, white barcode inside of driver’s side rear door.

    They’re really quite easy to spot, especially if you know what you’re looking for and where to look.

  • avatar

    I’ve never spoken to a lawman who liked the impala. The units that have the money will buy Chargers.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Three things:

    1. We should keep in mind that fleet sales cover more than just rentals. Many companies provide cars to their sales reps and other employees who travel by car often.

    2. This just showsChevy’s lack of strategy for the Impala. Is it a RWD performance sedan? Is it a FWD fleet queen? What exactly separates Impala from Malibu? Not clear to me.

    3. As the Crown Vic dies, I think the logical successor is actually the Charger, not the Impala. RWD, and Chrysler is more highly motivated to move the metal (i.e. discount)

  • avatar
    william442

    L47_V8 Where is this dealer with 4-5 Malibus? I have been waiting since before Christmas for a call from the local dealer so I can look at one. I’ve seen a couple with Dominion Resources on the door.

    William442

  • avatar
    50merc

    Impala inherently has limited appeal for police use, like the Malibu or other FWD sedans for that matter. The Crown Vic, as well as having a more rugged drive train, gets many modifications to turn it into an Interceptor. The Dodge Charger is also well suited to the rigors of police duty and is in line to inherit the Crown Vic’s cop-car tradition once the Panther platform disappears. (Of course, this assumes the Charger survives Chrysler’s death throes.) But the Crown Vic will be missed: I asked a state trooper how he liked the Charger as a patrol car. He said the power was fine but it wasn’t as roomy as the Crown Vic. Compact SUVs may come to be the most popular vehicles for law enforcement.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    william442 :
    February 12th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    L47_V8 Where is this dealer with 4-5 Malibus? I have been waiting since before Christmas for a call from the local dealer so I can look at one. I’ve seen a couple with Dominion Resources on the door.

    William442

    University Motors of Morgantown, WV. I was there a week and a half ago getting an estimate on the damage to my Diamante (someone backed out of a parking spot without looking… right into my passenger side – $2500 in damage), and they had two in the showroom and two on the lot – mostly base models. The C&O Motors of Charleston, WV, where my mom has bought 3 of her four Oldsmobiles (C&O = Chevrolet and Oldsmobile) had perhaps six or seven on their lot when I was home about three weeks ago.

    Neither shows that many on their websites, however (University shows one LTZ on their “Search New Inventory” option, C&O’s claims to have four 2008s). Websites:

    http://www.candochevrolet.com
    http://www.umotors.com

  • avatar
    BerettaGTZ

    Well, according to Bob Lutz on the Fastlane Blog, Impala retail sales are up 44 percent vs. Jan 2006.

  • avatar
    armadamaster

    Well, what did GM expect was going to happen when they jumbo sized the Malibu to WImpala size?

    And actually, they are still selling more WImpalas down here, I have seen TWO new Malibus on the roads, period.

    Leave it to GM to figure another way to compete with itself.

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