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2014 Chevrolet Impala’s Move To Detroit Could Spell End For Commodore Hopes

 
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2009 Chevrolet Lumina SS

2009 Chevrolet Lumina SS



GM’s announcement this week to move production of the next-generation 2014 Chevrolet Impala to its Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant, where it will join the Volt and redesigned Malibu, could spell the end for any hope that the rear-wheel drive Holden Commodore could return to U.S. shores.

The next Impala is expected to ride on a stretched Epsilon II platform, the same front-wheel drive platform which in standard form resides under the Buick Regal and LaCrosse as well as the upcoming 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. A stretched Epsilon II platform is also expected to underpin the Cadillac XTS, with the big Caddy sedan likely to share much in common with the new Impala.

All of this severely lessens the chance of the Commodore ever returning to the U.S., in either sedan, wagon or ute (nee sport truck) bodystyles.

The main reason is likely to be fuel economy regulations. GM’s decision to keep most of its lineup front-wheel drive is a clear indication that the automaker is seeking better fuel economy over performance. Additionally, a front-wheel drive architecture also offers better packaging options due to the absence of a driveshaft running the length of the car.

This does not spell the end of the Commodore or its rear-wheel drive Zeta platform. Engineers in Australia are hard at work on developing the next-generation ‘VF’ Commodore, which is expected to bow in sometime in 2014 and ride on a revised Zeta platform.

The revised platform, possibly dubbed Zeta II, will feature more lightweight aluminum, electronic power steering, and aerodynamic aids similar to what we’ve already seen on cars like the Cruze Eco and upcoming Malibu Eco.

Don’t be too saddened by news that the Commodore won’t be the replacement for the outgoing Impala. There are still reports that a model based on the Zeta II platform will eventually be sold in the U.S., either as a high-performance Chevy or as a premium model for Buick or Cadillac.

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Comments (8)
  1. Same old GM. Unwilling to take risk and instead buying into stodgy platforms and architecture. Another Epsilon II like Regal and LaCrosse? Please! Those two are complete duds. What happened to not having a bunch of nameplate changes with superficial exterior differences? The GM culture has not changed one iota--blame the taxpayer funded bailout.
     
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  2. I wouldn't count GM out completely yet because the Aussi connection has been quite fruitful and could spawn a twin turbo rear wheel driver yet!
     
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  3. what do you mean that the commodore based car will not be sold in north America? what do you call a camaro then? an American car????!!! its a 2 door commodore with a body kit.
     
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  4. Stupid Detroit. I’ve always said that i don’t have any real affection for the Commodore (or the Falcon for that matter), but for what they are, honest big family cars with massive boots & the ability to chew up the miles while also being funnish & look quite good, it is one of the most ridiculous decisions that GM & Ford dont import them. The products are far better than anything that those 2 companies currently have or will have on their books for a family car in the US, & many would argue & the chaps on Top Gear agree that the GTS Commodore is a far better car than anything that Cadillac have as yet released, even using the same engine & underpinnings developed in Australia. Heck the Camaro is a 2door Commodore & the Mustang a 2door Falco
     
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  5. I always had the impression from other stories that the Impala and the rwd sedan would be two different vehicles, kinda like how the Zeta sedan in America is labeled as the Chevy Caprice for the cops.
     
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  6. @Shaan Ebel,
    You are correct that the Camaro is based on Zeta but the next-generation of the muscle car will be switching to the smaller and lighter Alpha platform. So that will mean the end of the Zeta platform in the U.S. unless something new arrives like the high-performance Chevy or a sporty new Buick or Cadillac.
     
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  7. @ Viknesh - u are right about the switch to the Alpha platform, but its the same platform that the next gen Commodore will be championing well before anything that the GM head office will bring out. Fishermans Bend in Oz has been promoting that the next gen Commodore will be tighter and slicker than any previous model and run on a smaller Alpha wheelbase while at least that is whats being reported down under !
     
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  8. Why can't american companies who built much better cars in austriala and china (park ave), built those cars here. After all they are american products.
     
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