GM Boosts Impala Production, Cuts Fleet Sales. Go Figure.
The Toronto Star reports that GM Canada is boosting Impala production by some 46 units per day, to about 1100. The General says it made the decision to put the pedal to the medal (i.e. adding overtime shifts) at the award-winning Oshawa plant to meet growing demand for the wrong-wheel-drive beast south of the 49th. Despite the decision to kibosh a rear wheel-drive version of the car, or maybe because of it, the Impala's American sales are up 7.3 percent from last year. Some Chevy dealers report that the "old," bigger Impala is stealing sales from the new, narrower Malibu. Either that or fleet clients have boosted their orders knowing that the Impala is slated for execution. ( Automotive News [sub]: "General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC accounted for fewer than three out of four new vehicles sold to the U.S. rental industry last year — down from more than four-fifths in 2006.) Or maybe it's got something to do with the possibility of a Canadian Auto Workers strike. Your thoughts?
The public will understand the space utilization, packaging and weight saving advantages of FWD versus RWD. “Wow it looks so much bigger on the outside than the inside, the smaller Camry is more roomy”, “ It doesn’t get as good gas mileage as the Avalon” I also have my pet theory that people like what they are use to. I recently rented a Chrysler PT cruiser. Its not that it was a bad car but I was constantly confused by the controls. I was use to the placement of the controls of my Honda and my Toyota. Switches for lights, wipers, were in different places and worked differently. I hated it for that reason. Many people have commented negatively on the seemingly odd center placement of the speedometer gauge of the original Scion Xb. I too was put off by it originally because I was not use to it being in the center of the dash instead of directly in front of the drivers position. Now that I am use to it, I wouldn’t want it any other way. The general public is use to FWD now and they will probably react negatively to a car that drives and handles differently than what they are now use to, even if it actually handles better
Ahh...the WImpala, the car that now has come to epitomize the term "automotive appliance. The whole reason GM is yet again not taking the Impala nameplate is that pesky 300K units per year, not CAFE, or anything else. I'm suprised we haven't seen an extension of the current Wimpala while GM imports the AU RWD Impala for enthusiasts and some real "street cred" in the meantime. This Lumina reincarnate will continue to outsell GM's new poster child because the WImpala is cheaper & bigger. I'll keep puttering around in Chevrolet's last real flagship car, my B-body Caprice.