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The New York Times

October 14, 2014

Article Quotes:

If it feels as if your rental car is always a Chevrolet Impala, there’s a reason for that.

Rental car companies registered 89,569 new Impalas during 2013, making it America’s top-selling rental car for two years running. Fifty-seven percent of all new Impalas sold in the United States last year became rental cars, according to data from Polk Automotive.

Some cars, such as the Nissan Altima and the Toyota Camry, are big sellers into the rental market because they are big sellers, period. But the Impala is one of 16 car and light-truck models with 30 percent or more of their sales going to the rental market last year.

“National tries to address the issue of rental car roulette by just letting you pick your own car,” said Chris Ladd, a sales engineer who rents cars several times a month. “Unfortunately, what that means is you can pick absolutely any vehicle out of their vast collection of Chevy Impalas — even one of the fancier shades of gray.”

Mr. Ladd is being a little bit unfair: On Saturday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, National had just a couple of Impalas to offer; the Chevrolet Malibu was the more prevalent full-size sedan. But he has hit on something here. Look at that lot, and the blandness is one of three themes that emerge in defining the vehicles that depend so heavily on the rental market.


Image Credit: New York Times
Chevrolet Impalas at the National Car Rental lot at San Diego International Airport. If it seems as if your rental car is often an Impala, that's not your imagination: It is among the most popular cars for rental companies, but it's not nearly as popular with individual car buyers.

“Let’s face it, it was a rental car,” Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting for Kelley Blue Book, said of the 2013 Impala. “Starting in 2014, Chevrolet dramatically changed that. They redesigned the vehicle so that it was much more appealing to consumers.”

Mr. Ibara noted that the Impala’s residual value — a measure of a new car’s likely resale value in the used market — had improved markedly since the revamp, reflecting greater desirability.

“We only want to rent cars that people want to rent,” said Christine Cavallini, vice president for corporate communications at Enterprise Holdings, the largest rental car company in the North American market, which owns National, Alamo and Enterprise. She cited a study, commissioned from Polk by Enterprise, showing that rental car customers are more likely to buy models of cars they have previously rented.

But here’s the thing: Even after the revamp, the Impala is still mostly selling into the rental market. According to data from Kelley Blue Book, 74 percent of 2013 Impalas became rental cars; for the 2014 model year so far, the figure is still 54 percent.

The Impala continues to depend on the rental market in part because the old Impala lives on alongside the new Impala. It’s marketed as the Chevrolet Impala Limited, it costs a few thousand dollars less than the revamped Impala, and it’s sold only to fleet buyers like rental car companies. General Motors does not break out separate sales figures for the Impala and the Impala Limited; we saw both on National’s lots in the last week.

G.M. has announced plans to keep making the Impala Limited at least through 2016, which means Mr. Ladd may not be getting away from what he calls “the Chevy Object” any time soon.
 

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But here’s the thing: Even after the revamp, the Impala is still mostly selling into the rental market. According to data from Kelley Blue Book, 74 percent of 2013 Impalas became rental cars; for the 2014 model year so far, the figure is still 54 percent.
This is a tough article to digest.

The above quote represents either a statement that the NG Impala is not selling well, or it perhaps is, and the Impala Limited is selling well to fleets but not consumers etc, etc, etc.

Anybody confused yet?

We all know that the 2014 Chevy Impala is substantially different from those in past years. We all know that it was praised by Consumer Reports as one of its highest rated vehicles ever. We all know that GM will not release the percentage of Impala vs. Impala Limited sales, and we all know why: Obviously the new Impala is not finding a sunny pathway under the older Impala's shadow.

Why in God's name Chevrolet decided not to rename the vehicle (Chevrolet Caprice anyone?), I will never understand. They had a remarkable opportunity to introduce a groundbreaking vehicle and start fresh.

Instead, they played it safe, and thus articles like the above continue to appear over and over, confusing the consumer and drawing them away from their neighborhood Chevrolet dealership.
 

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Epsilon II Impala is my favorite rental car. I always ask for a 3.6L V6 version when making reservations at Enterprise Holdings locations in Chicagoland, and my request is fulfilled most of the time. If not, I usually get a Malibu or Equinox, though in one instance an Enterprise location rented me a Buick LaCrosse.
 

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Epsilon II Impala is my favorite rental car. I always ask for a 3.6L V6 version when making reservations at Enterprise Holdings locations in Chicagoland, and my request is fulfilled most of the time. If not, I usually get a Malibu or Equinox, though in one instance an Enterprise location rented me a Buick LaCrosse.
That's too bad the new Impala is not selling better than it is. It seems like a nice car. I guess it continues its status as the rental fleet queen.
 

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New generation impala can get expensive, has high window sills and short windows, and large cars are a smaller percentage of the market it all adds up to fewer retail sales.
 

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Why in God's name Chevrolet decided not to rename the vehicle (Chevrolet Caprice anyone?), I will never understand. They had a remarkable opportunity to introduce a groundbreaking vehicle and start fresh.
That sounds like a play out of the old GM's play book, change the name to make consumers forget the negative baggage of the old model.
 

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I do a fair amount of travelling, so I rent cars quite often, and I usually try to get GM cars (or at the very least domestic). I rent from Alamo, Enterprise, Avis and Hertz. I've been eager to rent a 14 Impala to see what its like, but despite my best efforts the 14 Impala is as rare as hen's teeth when I arrive at the rental company, despite having booked a full size car and asking for an Impala. My last rentals have been "upgrades" to a 15 Tahoe LT (Norfolk- easily the best vehicle I have ever rented), 15 Durango (San Diego) and 13 or 14 Infinity M (Baton Rouge). I have also had a 14 Ford Fusion (Phoenix), 14 Enclave (Seattle), 13 Gand Cherokee (Vegas), 13 Grand Caravan (San Francisco) and a 2012 Malibu (Dallas). Surprsingly, I don't even see any Impala Limiteds (which I would not rent even if they were available). This is anecdotal evidence, but the prevalence of Impalas of any stripe in rental fleets seems at best exaggerated in this article.
 

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I can't get an EpII Impala rental to save my life. They keep putting me in Limiteds. Not that I'm complaining, still a great car after all these years, but a new Impala would be nice.
 

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That sounds like a play out of the old GM's play book, change the name to make consumers forget the negative baggage of the old model.
By calling the Impala Limited a "fleet queen" in your previous post, I believe you have overruled your statement here.
 

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I've been eager to rent a 14 Impala to see what its like, but despite my best efforts the 14 Impala is as rare as hen's teeth when I arrive at the rental company, despite having booked a full size car and asking for an Impala.
I can't get an EpII Impala rental to save my life. They keep putting me in Limiteds. Not that I'm complaining, still a great car after all these years, but a new Impala would be nice.
If you haven't done so already, join the National Emerald Club program. In addition to being able to choose your car at many National locations, Emerald Club members automatically qualify for points and elite status when renting from Enterprise locations as well via Drive Alliance. Additionally, membership may help you score a rental vehicle that would be difficult to get otherwise.

Perhaps the new Impala is more popular at rental car lots in Chicagoland than in southern and western cities. Or maybe Emerald Club Executive and Executive Elite members got first dibs on those Impalas. :D
 
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ex rental cars are an awesome deal on the used car market. i am on my second ex-rental car.

shame the new impala is just not taking off. i rarely see them on the road. i find it much more visually apealing than a avalon or a azera. but i have not been in the new avalon to know for sure its a better car as far as ride and features go. the avalon in the past i saw had power rear seats which i was surprised about.
 

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I rent a fair amount from Thrifty and National and I have never seen a '14 Impala available at the times I was renting. I would love to rent one on my next long trip if one is available. I've had lots of Malibus and W-body Impalas and Captivas. I was lucky enough to get a Buick Enclave in Atlanta with Wisconsin plates that had just been turned in last January. it was covered with road salt. I paid to have it washed at a full service Carwash. It was sweet ride! I drove it to Miami and back. I loved it!
 

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I think the numbers look that bad because Chevy reports the new Impala and the "Limited" together. So Limiteds are 100% fleet and the new Impala isn't intended to sell in the same numbers. Hence the figures are skewed.
 
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I do a fair amount of travelling, so I rent cars quite often, and I usually try to get GM cars (or at the very least domestic). I rent from Alamo, Enterprise, Avis and Hertz. I've been eager to rent a 14 Impala to see what its like, but despite my best efforts the 14 Impala is as rare as hen's teeth when I arrive at the rental company, despite having booked a full size car and asking for an Impala. My last rentals have been "upgrades" to a 15 Tahoe LT (Norfolk- easily the best vehicle I have ever rented), 15 Durango (San Diego) and 13 or 14 Infinity M (Baton Rouge). I have also had a 14 Ford Fusion (Phoenix), 14 Enclave (Seattle), 13 Gand Cherokee (Vegas), 13 Grand Caravan (San Francisco) and a 2012 Malibu (Dallas). Surprsingly, I don't even see any Impala Limiteds (which I would not rent even if they were available). This is anecdotal evidence, but the prevalence of Impalas of any stripe in rental fleets seems at best exaggerated in this article.
I can't get an EpII Impala rental to save my life. They keep putting me in Limiteds. Not that I'm complaining, still a great car after all these years, but a new Impala would be nice.
Im in the same boat here. I keep hoping i get a 14 Impala, but I always seem to get a limited. I just had one last week. Its not a bad car, but i just really want to drive a newer one, i just hope it has the 3.6.

I also get "upgrades" all the time. The rental companies seem to think they are doing you a favor by upgrading, some times they fail and other times they get it right. My last 2 trips to Dallas I was upgraded to a LaCrosse which was great, I have also been upgraded to a Regal which was nice as well. My last trip to Atlanta however they thought they were doing me a favor upgrading me from a full size to a small SUV and I got a Toyota Rav4 which is a huge piece of junk.

Has anyone else noticed that some rental companies like Alamo and National are trying to pass Ford Fusions off as a full size? Its kinda annoying
 

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Ironically, none of the 3 rental agencies near me carry American cars at all... Once upon a time, their lots were seas of Pontiac Grand Prixs, G6's, Grand Ams, Buick Centuries, Chevrolet Impalas and Malibus... Now, those same lots are filled with Hyundai Sonatas, Toyota Camrys, and Nissan Altimas...

I shouldn't really say that they don't carry American brand cars at all, because I'm sure they do. But I simply don't see them featured prominently out front like in years past. I'd say the local agencies have carried predominantly Asian brands for the past 3-4 years...
 

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This is a worthless article, and here is why:

General Motors does not break out separate sales figures for the Impala and the Impala Limited
I propose that the old Impala Limited is the rental queen, and the new Impala has a much higher retail rate. If I am correct, this is a total non-story.

I could be wrong, but we have no way of knowing since. . . General Motors does not break out separate sales figures for the Impala and the Impala Limited.
 

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Just another slander article.
What constitutes a "slander article"? Merriam-Webster defines slander as such:

slander noun :a false and defamatory oral statement about a person

Where does this NYT article reference any "false and defamatory oral statement about a person"?
 

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Has anyone else noticed that some rental companies like Alamo and National are trying to pass Ford Fusions off as a full size? Its kinda annoying
Yes. That's why I've been renting from Enterprise, Impalas are still their full size option.

Then again I got upgraded to premium a few months back and landed in a freaking Taurus. I almost laughed in her face when she told me but that was the only option.
 

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GM could easily clear up this issue. It is an issue that they created......But will they clear it up?
No Way .......silence only leads to confusion......and confusion leads to conclusions.....
 
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