General Motors has just announced that production of its next-generation 2014 Chevrolet Impala will be shifted to its Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant. At this plant it will be produced alongside the Chevrolet Volt and Malibu and this decision to move Impala production is an early indication that the Holden Commodore won’t be returning to U.S. shores.
The next American-market Impala will use a stretched version of GM’s Epsilon II platform, with a front-wheel drive layout. While it’s not a popular move with some enthusiasts who want their Chevy large sedan to be rear-wheel powered it lessens the chances of the Commodore ever returning to the U.S., in either sedan, wagon or ute bodystyles.
The main reason is an awareness of fuel economy regulations. GM’s decision to keep almost all of its range front-wheel drive shows that the automaker has a preference for better fuel economy over performance. The front-wheel drive architecture also helps with developing more modern interiors due to the absence of a bulky driveshaft running the length of the car. In simple terms the Commodore just doesn’t fit into GM’s new politically correct range. It was popular in Pontiac G8 form but with the new Malibu owning its spot for now it will have a tough time finding its way back into the lucrative America market. (more…)