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Old and New, Chevrolet Will Market Two Versions of Impala

by on Mar.19, 2013

The new 2014 Chevrolet Impala will target retail buyers while the old model will be aimed at fleets.

General Motors plans to offer two separate versions of the big Chevrolet Impala, both the 2014 remake of the full-size sedan as well as the old model that it was intended to replace.

The previous-generation Chevrolet Impala will remain in production indefinitely and will be aimed strictly at the fleet market while the all-new 2014 will focused on the retail market where Chevy hopes to pick up market share, GM officials said.

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Less than one third of the old Impala have been going into consumers’ hands, something that the maker hopes to change with the 2014 model, according to Chris Perry, Chevrolet vice president of marketing. “It’s 30 percent retail, 70 percent fleet right now. We’re going to flip that with the new car,” he said.


First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo

(Turbo) power to the people.

by on Oct.05, 2012

Chevrolet aims to take on the dominant Japanese with the all-new 2013 Malibu.

With a slew of new models heading for the showrooms, the midsize passenger car segment has turned into the auto industry’s most fiercely contested battlegroud. Nobody’s knocked off the Camry yet but gone are the days when all Toyota – or rival Honda — had to do to win the contest for customers was show up with something new every few years.

Once dominant in the midsize market, General Motors has spent years several decades trying to crack the code without really scoring. But after driving the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu with a 2-liter turbocharged engine, capable of producing 259 horsepower and 260 foot pounds of torque, it’s pretty clear GM’s persistence is finally paying dividends.

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For those who might be confused about Chevrolet’s strategy, the GM brand introduced an “Eco” version of the completely redesigned Malibu at the beginning of the year, adapting the eAssist mild hybrid technology first used on the Buick line, as well as aerodynamic tricks such as active grille shutters, to maximize mileage. As we get into the more traditional new model-year, Chevy is rolling out the rest of the Malibu line-up.


Adventures in Malibu Land

The further adventures of Ripley V. Winkel.

by on Mar.13, 2012

Unless you've been sleeping you may know that Chevy is bringing out an all-new version of the Malibu.

Ripley V. Winkel, the third generation Chevrolet dealer in Shaughnessy, NY, up the Hudson from Manhattan, decided to take his demonstrator, a 1992 Chevrolet K1500 4×4 up into the Catskills for a little R & R from the pressures of business and family.

Even in a small town where every family knew every other family and had done so for generations, he was not immune from the annoying complaints of customers, the jibes from Crusty O. Jones, the Ford dealer across the State Highway, and the demands of his wife and teenaged son and daughter. What Ripley wanted was a little peace and quiet, and he knew where to find it.

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On his way up the winding black-topped road, he nipped occasionally at the jug of hard cider on the passenger seat. Through the open window, he could hear the thunder in the heights ahead. Finally he got to his destination, a little known outlook far over the valley. He carefully backed the pickup in, grabbed his jug and lay down under an big apple tree where he could appreciate the beauty spread out in front of him.


First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

GM’s midsize gets a mild hybrid mileage boost.

by on Dec.19, 2011

Chevrolet will got to market first with the new 2013 Malibu Eco model.

There was a time, not all that many years ago, when General Motors owned the American midsize market.  But a procession of poorly designed and executed products all but ensured that the Japanese would take command – products like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry today dominating the critical market segment.

The General began to signal its intent to regain its once-lofty position with the launch of an all-new Chevrolet Malibu in 2008 – the domestic sedan going on to win kudos as North American Car of the Year.  Now, Chevy hopes to ramp things up a couple more notches with the launch of the next-generation Malibu.

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We headed to Austin, Texas to spend some time in the new midsize sedan – or, more precisely, in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco.  That’s the “mild” hybrid version that will be coming to market in the coming months, with the mainstream version to follow some months later once its all-new 4-cylinder engine is ready for production.


GM Gives Sneak Peek at Chevy Spark

Maker takes aim with Chevy’s smallest offering ever.

by on Nov.14, 2011

Chevrolet takes aim at the minicar segment with its new Spark hatchback.

For a company that long ignored the passenger car market – especially the econocar segment –Chevrolet is making a big push with an assortment of offerings that can be described as small, smaller and, with the upcoming launch of the Chevy Spark, smallest.

The new microcar is the tiniest ever to grace the line-up of General Motors’ largest brand.  But the automaker is intent on winning over buyers in a segment that it believes will be growing rapidly in the years ahead.

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The challenge will be to convince buyers that the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is more than just a basic econobox, and that it has the features and styling of better-known competitors like the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris, and even smaller city cars.

GM will officially unwrap the 2013 Chevy Spark at the L.A. Auto Show later this week.  It will roll into showrooms early next year to flesh out a line-up of small cars that already includes the unexpectedly popular Cruze compact and new Sonic subcompact.


First Look: 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible

Chevy opens up with the fastest Camaro ragtop ever.

by on Oct.10, 2011

The Camaro ZL1 Convertible will share the Coupe's 580-hp supercharged V-8.

Opening up will take on a double meaning when Chevrolet brings the new Camaro ZL1 Convertible to market sometime in mid-2012.  The cabriolet version of Chevy’s most powerful pony car ever will feature both a fast-opening top and a 580-horsepower V-8. got a first good look at the Camaro ZL1 Convertible during a background session at the General Motors Design Dome, the styling complex where every version of the Camaro family has been designed since the original rolled off the drawing boards nearly a half century ago.

The ZL1 Coupe, which comes to market next April, is the latest in what we’re told will be a continuing series of updates to the latest Camaro iteration.  Not a bad move if Chevy hopes to maintain momentum after gaining the sales lead over long-time rival Ford Mustang for the first time in decades. Coupe and Convertible share key powertrain and design elements, starting with that LSA V-8, a supercharged package that turns out 580 horsepower – 30 more than the current Mustang Shelby GT – and 556 lb-ft of torque.


Inside the 2013 Chevy Malibu

We get our first chance to crawl all over Chevy’s next-gen midsize sedan.

by on Jul.28, 2011

The next Chevrolet Malibu will make its debut for 2013.

It’s not often you get a chance to crawl inside a major product more than a year before its official launch, but even as most makers are starting to push their 2012 products, we found ourselves this week getting up-close-and-personal with the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.

The Malibu, you may recall, created something of a shock wave when the current version made its debut as a 2007 model – quickly grabbing an array of awards including the coveted North American Car of the Year trophy.  It remains a solid seller, but the market has moved on and with all-new versions of the top-selling Toyota Camry and Honda Accord soon to market – never mind offerings like the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion to deal with – Chevy is wisely hoping to wow us with the next-gen Malibu.

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We got a first glimpse of the midsize sedan at the New York Auto Show, a few months back, but the General Motors division had a prototype on hand – along with some of the key designers and engineers working on the 2013 program – as we headed out to its sprawling Milford (Michigan) Proving Grounds.

There’s no question that Chevrolet isn’t planning to play it safe.  As senior GM officials have stressed, the worst thing you can shoot for is simply a “competitive” vehicle.  Inside and out, if Chevy ever hopes to seriously tackle the imports it has to be bold and aggressive.


GM Readying Next-Generation Pickups

Flint plant investment a critical first step.

by on Jul.19, 2011

GM will invest $328 million in the Flint truck plant to prepare for the next-generation of pickups, such as this Chevy Silverado HD.

General Motors is moving ahead with plans for its next-generation pickup trucks by investing $328 million at its sprawling truck assembly plant in Flint. GM officials said quite distinctly that the money will go to the updated, full-frame pick-ups but declined to say when exactly it would reach the company’s show rooms.

“This investment will allow us to continue building award-winning full-size pickups that offer better fuel efficiency than ever before without sacrificing features and functionality,” said Cathy Clegg, GM vice president of labor relations.

“We remain committed to providing customers the utility and capability of our world-class, full-size pickups,” she added.

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GM didn’t say when the new trucks, which are expected to provide significantly better fuel economy, will be available in showrooms. But our frequent contributor, Mike Levine, of, advises us the pickups are likely to begin moving down the assembly line by April 2013, and will be sold as 2014 models.

The large SUVs sharing those platforms, such as the Chevrolet Suburban,  will begin production, according to Levine, by October.


First Drive: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse

Competent but uninspiring.

by on Jun.03, 2011

Our reviewer calls the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse competent but uninspiring.

Competence may be a virtue, but not necessarily at the expense of personality.

This is the lesson of the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse, a perfectly capable crossover SUV that inspires nothing of note in those who look at it or drive it.

That’s not necessarily bad, there’s no soccer parent stigma associated with minivans, for example. The Traverse is a fine-looking vehicle, in the way that an Abercrombie & Fitch model looks good and generic.

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The only problem with the Traverse’s inoffensive styling is that the two domestic three-row crossovers sold by Chevy’s Detroit rivals—the redesigned Ford Explorer and the also redesigned Dodge Durango—stand out more in a crowd. Even one of the other GM Lambda-based crossovers that share this platform offers more styling verve—the Buick Enclave (while the similar GMC Acadia is also a bit plain-jane).

Of course, sartorial concerns are but one reason to purchase a vehicle in this class, and only the hippest parents on the block are really worried about what the Joneses will think. The rest are looking for utility, practicality, value, and fuel economy. If the driving dynamics happen to offer some personality, well, that’s a bonus.


GM Recalls 150,000 Chevy Cruze Sedans

Focus is potential steering problem.

by on May.05, 2011

Chevy recalls the new Cruze.

General Motors, which is hoping to crack the long Japanese stranglehold on the small car market, has suffered a potentially setback, the maker announcing it will recall 150,000 of its Chevrolet Cruze sedans.

The maker says it needs to inspect the vehicles to ensure their intermediate steering shaft covers were properly installed.

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Meanwhile, about 120,000 of the vehicles will also be inspected due to the possibility of a problem with the installation of their automatic transmission linkage.

The vehicles, all from the 2011 model-year, were produced at the GM assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

GM says it has no reports of any accidents or injuries connected with the problems and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has no reports or consumer complaints on file.

Nonetheless, the news is a setback for GM, which has been hoping to use the Cruze as part of its campaign to regain a presence in the passenger car market, especially in smaller, more fuel-efficient segments.