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 |  May 25 2011, 10:42 AM

General Motors will be adding two shifts and 2,500 hourly and salaried jobs to the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to build the new Chevrolet Malibu and the next-generation Impala alongside the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera electric cars.

Additional shifts and a $69 million investment in equipment have been made to support the next-generation Impala. In April 2010, GM announced that to support the Malibu production, a $121 million investment would be made.

“Filling this plant with new work is very satisfying because GM is dedicated to helping rebuild this city,” GM North America President Mark Reuss said at the plant Wednesday. “We are confident in the flexibility of the plant, the excellence of our workers and the great cars assembled here.”

Chevrolet’s new Malibu will be built in Detroit and Fairfax, Kan., as well as in China and Korea and will be sold in over 100 countries and six continents.

Detroit-Hamtramck currently has 1,121 hourly and salaried employees.

According to GM, the automaker has added or saved 9,000 jobs and invested $3.4 billion since mid-2009.

 |  May 09 2011, 11:38 AM

Chevy, my Chevy, why hast thou forsaken me? The Biblical Impala, dating back to the Burning Bush, still shuffles off the assembly lines in slippers and a tennis-balled walker. But as the rest of GM’s lineup leaps forward into the 21st century, the Impala’s age is starting to become a burden around Chevrolet’s neck.

How old is the Impala? Justin Timberlake was making a comeback from N’Sync when the Impala last received a redesign. The GM W platform it rides on dates back to 1988, which makes it old enough to run for state office or write for Autoguide. GM isn’t planning for a full redesign until 2014, by which time children of Impala owners will be shocked to learn that it was once rear-wheel-drive. If only the beleaguered Impala enjoyed the same voracious support as Ford’s Crown Victoria and Town Car, the darlings of the police and taxi fleets.

“There’s no doubt that the Impala is longer in the tooth than we would traditionally run a vehicle,” said Rick Scheidt, Chevy’s vice president of marketing. The Impala cost GM a higher score in Consumer Reports’ annual corporate ratings, bringing it down to 12 out of 13 automakers as one of the “lackluster cars” GM builds.

Not that GM’s doing this on purpose. A rear-drive variant had been rumored for 2011, but GM’s bankruptcy woes three years earlier nixed that plan. The America-only Impala took less priority than the globally-sold Cruze and Malibu—even now, GM is pushing the Sonic as fast as possible for consumers to take advantage of $4-gallon gas prices. And advertising the Impala as “roomier than a $66,000 Lexus LS460″ isn’t going to do any favors.

With the newly-redesigned Malibu, GM is struggling to find a place for the Impala—compounded by the fact that with deep discounts (including one from the AARP), an Impala costs the same despite the differences in MSRP.  ”You have to reconcile that within a four-sedan showroom and be clear on whose position is what,” said Bryan Nesbitt executive director for Chevrolet design. ”We’ve seen this transition happening, where it’s harder and harder to justify the scale of a vehicle without paying for it. This idea of a giant box that you can get for a very low price becomes harder to solve.” The next Impala will most likely move to the Epsilon platform, instead of the Australian, rear-drive Zeta from the Pontiac G6 that enthusiasts clamor for. It will share a chassis with the Buick Lacrosse and the next Cadillac XTS, as well as styling, too—dealers who were given a preview of the Impala claim that it resembles the Lacrosse.

For now, however, the Impala soldiers on. A six-speed transmission replaces its four cogs, and the choice of engine options gets cut in half to just a 3.6-liter V6. Lastly, a new grille and dual exhausts should keep the look current in a way Joan Rivers is used to. The fleet buyers that make up 75% of current Impala sales are happy, and so are the 25% of those who don’t just say “they don’t build ‘em like they used to—” they live it.

Keep on keepin’ on, Chevy Impala—America’s #1 rolling nostalgia trip.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Feb 07 2011, 5:59 PM

With the Chevrolet Impala forced to endure an unbearably long production cycle (8 years by the time its replacement arrives in 2015), Chevrolet’s full-size sedan will need something to ensure it stays relevant in the marketplace, and General Motors is confident that an updated engine will do the trick.

The new 3.6L LFX V6 will be the sole engine option, replacing the “high feature” 3.5L and 3.9L V6s of previous years. A 6-speed automatic may also join the lineup, as its compatible with the LFX but not the older V6s. A new Impala is due in 2014 and will share a platform with Cadillac’s upcoming XTS flagship.

[Source: GM Inside News]

 |  Nov 24 2010, 12:49 PM

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General Motors is hoping that their next Chevrolet Impala, due in 2014, will be looked at as more than just fodder for the rental car lot. With a new platform shared with the Buick Lacrosse, the next Impala, due in 2014, should represent a significant jump in both style and performance – although based on the current car, that’s not saying too much.

The report in Automotive News also points to a possible rear-drive performance sedan for Chevrolet, which would almost certainly be based on the rear-drive Holden Commodore platform. The car would also be slated for a 2014 release, and one Chevrolet insider told Automotive News that “we are going back to the essence of what Chevrolet was and stood for — well-designed, beautiful, sculptured pieces, with lots of customer value.”  Chevrolet is selling a Holden model to police fleets as the Chevrolet Caprice, but sales to the public are not planned at this time.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Sep 15 2010, 4:41 PM

Hemmings Motor News dug up this gem of a sexist Chevrolet poster, which evokes the good old days of the 1959 Impala, wanton smoking and treating women as property.

For such a PC environment as corporate America, we’re a bit surprised Chevrolet is peddling this. According to Chevrolet’s online store, the brand “… commissions its ad agency Campbell Ewald to develop a series of billboards to be displayed in the Detroit area in celebration of the Woodward Dream Cruise weekend,” and ostensibly this is one of these ads.

We’re hoping to get a copy for the Autoguide offices before some offended interest group forces them to remove it. HR might also have a word want a word with us, but we’ll deal with that when it comes.

[Thanks to Hemmings Motor News for finding this gem]

 |  Aug 13 2010, 10:57 AM

Cadillac‘s SRX crossover will get a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 to replace the current 3.0L naturally aspirated V6 and the 2.8L twin-turbo V6 currently offered in the vehicle.

The new V6, codenamed LF3, is also set to appear in the redesigned GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS. Also planned is a two-mode plug-in hybrid SRX, similar to the stillborn Saturn Vue hybrid.

[Source: GM Inside News]

 |  Apr 29 2010, 1:36 PM

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This author has loved hip-hop music since the tender age of 3, when Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” caught my attention. I didn’t really understand the lyric “I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom” but it had a fat bassline and a character from a nursery rhyme, and that was enough for me.

In the same way that rock and roll groups mythologized American muscle in the 1960′s, rappers have taken to lionizing the automobile in all its forms, whether it’s an East Coast rapper like Jay-Z rapping about Maybachs or Jaguars, or Snoop Dogg cruising through Long Beach, California in one of his famous 1964 Impalas.

Recently, the Southern United States has had a stranglehold on the hip-hop scene, and their love of American muscle has seen a resurgence of interest in rear-drive American cars. For those with money, a new Dodge Charger or a classic muscle car is the must have ride. But not everyone can afford a new car, and so ordinary folk turn to cars like the Chevrolet Caprice, Mercury Grand Marquis or 1980′s G-Body General Motors cars and customize them with cartoonish 24inch rims and custom lift kits.

As with any fashion-driven culture, huge chrome rims are now out of style, and the new trend is “swangas“, the street term of wire wheels from a 1983 or 1984 Cadillac. Since the wheels were made for a rear-drive offset, they tend to poke out on many of the front-drive vehicles that are affordable to young people, like Oldsmobile 98s, Cadillac Devilles or Buick Park Avenues. While automotive purists may scoff, the “poke” aesthetic is a signature look of the “swanga” movement.

Houston rap group “Block Boyz Click” released a video, imaginatively titled “Ridin Swangas”, and the song is a decent, if amateurish attempt to capture the slowed-down, soulful styles of fellow Houstonians UGK, the video is chock full of truly ghetto American iron that should have been consigned to the junkyard long ago. Aside from the aforementioned cars, sharp eyes will also spot a Chrysler LHS, Buick LeSabre and Pontiac Bonneville.

The artistic merits of the song may be a matter of opinion, but we happened to enjoy the use of some under-appreciated Rick Wagoner-era General Motors machinery, rather than having the (rented) supercar du jour being driven at a snails pace, with a blinged-out hand gripping the wheel at 12 o’clock. Long live the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Dirty South. Keep swangin on ‘em, H-Town. Check out the official video after the jump.

[Source: Cardomain blog]

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