In April, GM will launch the next generation of its Chevrolet Impala onto the North American market, but the all-new 2014 model won't tread alone, as the Detroit carmaker plans to continue production of the current 2013 Impala until next spring.
The reason why GM will offer both vehicles has to do with the sales mix of the current Impala and a change of strategy for the redesigned model. To explain, the older Impala is a big success among car-rental companies and fleet buyers, with around 75 percent of the 169,351 Impalas sold last year landing in the hands of these type of buyers.
"The Impala has become more of a fleet car over the last several years, and this allows us to continue to meet that demand for our fleet customers," Chevrolet marketing chief Chris Perry explained to Autonews.
With the new 2014 Impala, GM wants to move away from the rental and fleet car business. "Fleet will go down, but retail will go up," said Perry. What does this mean in numbers? About 70 percent retail sales and only 30 percent fleet, according to Perry.
It's no doubt a tough call for GM, as to retain the same sales numbers as last year, it would have to deliver about 119,000 examples of the 2014 Impala that starts from $27,535 in the U.S. (from CA$28,445 in Canada) to individual customers, which is probably near impossible. Last year, the combined retail and fleet sales of the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima and Ford Taurus were 164,000 units.