2014 Chevrolet Impala to Receive Upscale Redesign

General Motors Company today unveiled the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala at the New York auto show which will run through Sunday at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

This marks the 10th time the Impala has undergone a makeover since originally being launched in 1958 and takes the model in an upscale direction aimed at bolstering non-fleet sales.

The Impala received its last redesign eight years ago and its last platform change in the late 1990s.

Last year GM sold 171,434 Impalas, but nearly three quarters of those sales were to fleets.

IHS Automotive analyst Aaron Bragman said, “This is GM staking out their claim for this large-car segment with a significantly better product. This is not a fleet special. You’re looking at a higher-priced car, a higher-positioned car, a higher-margin car.”

GM’s decision to unveil the 2014 Impala a year before it is scheduled to go on sale is apparently motivated by the automaker’s desire to improve Chevrolet’s image and generate buzz among individual buyers who have come to think of the Impala as a fleet vehicle.

With the redesigned Impala, GM hopes to capture market share from the Toyota Avalon, Ford Taurus and Nissan Maxima as well as other competitors in the large sedan segment. The segment has already suffered in recent years as consumers have increasingly flocked to SUVs and crossovers.

Chevrolet’s vice president of global marketing Chris Perry acknowledges, “It has been a bit dormant in the full-sized category.” But he thinks the redesigned Impala can “re-spark some interest in the full-sized sedan” says the new Impala will “play a different role than it has” in the past.

IHS Automotive predicts that annual sales of the Impala in the U.S. could drop to less than half when it exits the fleet market.  Including robust fleet sales, Chevrolet expects to sell 178,209 Impalas in the U.S. this year.

Perry declined to offer a sales forecast for the 2014 Impala but conceded that fleet sales will undoubtedly suffer. He expects the Impala’s sticker price to be in line with many of its competitors in the segment.  That could push the sticker price from its current $26,585 including shipping, to around $34,000.

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