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GM plant hopes Chevrolet tops ambitious goal
By Tom Hartley
Business First of Buffalo

If the vision by a top Chevrolet executive that Chevrolet will have its name on America's No. 1 best-selling midsized car this decade comes true, Western New York workers will play a role.
Engines for the Chevrolet Impala, one of two brands that General Manager Brent Dewar in Detroit told reporters could achieve the No. 1 status, are made at the GM Powertrain plant in Tonawanda.
Dewar is quoted by WardsAuto.com, an Internet news service, as saying:

"Sometime in this decade, we will have (individual) cars that will be produced in volumes greater than 500,000 units. I foresee the day coming when we are very dominant in cars."

Impala and Malibu are the brands that Dewar says give Chevrolet a good shot at achieving its goal.
With the Impala, Dewar says sales are exceeding expectations and Chevrolet can't get enough of them. In 2003, Chevy sold 267,882 Impalas, a rise of 34.7 percent over the previous year, according to industry reports.
Reaction at the local engine plant, which has 3,300 employees, supports Dewar's vision of Impala's future.
"We're very excited about the solid sales performance of the Impala as we know our employees at Tonawanda directly contribute to its quality and performance with our 3.4-liter, V6 engines. We're proud to enhance the purchase decision that many consumers are making in buying a new Impala," said spokesperson Mary Ann Brown.
By 2005, he said, Chevrolet's goal is to capture 18 percent of the market share. That involves stepping up production from 2.5 million units in 2003, to 2.75 million this year and 3 million in 2005.
It has been 25 years since Chevrolet sold 3 million vehicles.

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The thing that struck me as interesting in this article is that the 3.5L, the logical successor to the 3.4 is made in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.....

How long does the Impala plan to stick with the 3.4L? I hope the guys in Tonawanda don't plan on forcing GM to keep making the 3.4L which is inferior to the 3.5 in GM's own literature, just because they make it. But if they put the 3.5 in, then the 3.8L's 200 horsepower will be matched... Nah, that would be too simple and logical, having a 3500 base and the 3800 supercharged.

I do recall reading about the 3.5 and 3.9 being made in at least one US plant, however, perhaps this is the plant?

quality and performance with our 3.4-liter, V6 engines.
:rolleyes: Perhaps the guys at the plant are doing a great job, but why saddle the Impala with the older version of the engine for much longer? One of GM's problems is long-term reliability. The 3.5L version directly addresses this problem in several ways. Please just say 'no' to 3.4L engines in the next year or two, GM. If you throw an old engine in there just because you're too cheap to upgrade the plant to make the 3.5....I sure won't be buying or recommending any Impalas with that old 3.4L engine. Buy the newer Malibu instead.
 

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Granted, I have no complaints whatsoever with the 3.5, but the technicians at my former dealership used to tell me that the 3.4 was the most reliable engine in the bunch.

Ghrankenstein
 

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the 3.4 is a very reliable motor...nothing really goes horribly wrong too often. when i worked at the dealership i didnt see much of them there for the engines at all..about 80 percent or so i would say came in for intake gaskets when things did go wrong...which isnt a big deal so yeah i would have to use gms word here "venerable" 3400 series motors hehe
 

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If the Impala is selling really well I would assume GM/Chevy would be very hesitant about going to RWD in this market segment. Unless those new Chrysler 300's and Dodge Magnums start selling insanely It does not seem to be a prudent business move. Mabey you get a car more like the Ford 500, FWD with an AWD option. You mat see a RWD Camaro and thats about it.
 

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Originally posted by yoblues@Jan 25 2004, 06:05 PM
If the Impala is selling really well I would assume GM/Chevy would be very hesitant about going to RWD in this market segment. Unless those new Chrysler 300's and Dodge Magnums start selling insanely It does not seem to be a prudent business move. Mabey you get a car more like the Ford 500, FWD with an AWD option. You mat see a RWD Camaro and thats about it.
Good point.

Maybe if they introduce a RWD model it could be a Chevelle...or possibly just a brand new model?

Whicever the case I think they need some sort of RWD mid-sizer. Although if they made the nomad available people probably would be happy with that. B)
 

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Either way...it sounds like good news..I would really like to see Chevrolet become "USA-1" again.


The Impal will most likely stay FWD, but it does not rule out a Chevrolet above the Impala that can be RWD, Caprice perhaps? It has also been rummored that the next Monte Carlo will be RWD.

Add the Nomad, the rummored Camaro, the Corvette. It would make 5 RWD cars in the Chevrolet line up.
 

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Its good to see that GM is really selling these cars, but I wana know how much of the sales are due to the massive rebates? I mean, you can pick up one of the base models for like 14k. Are they really that great of a car? My dad drives retal impy's and says he doesnt like them, but for the price you cant beat them. I guess if the impalla is selling well as a FWD car, 2 things could happen.
#1 Chevy keeps the impy FWD with the redesign next year to boost sales, and then GM introduces a larger, RWD/AWD sedan a year after that.
#2 Chevy moves the Impalla name up to a larger RWD/AWD sedan, and a FWD 4dr sedan gets a new name, like lumina, caprice, or something new.

I think bringing in new names right now is a good idea for Chevy. Cobalt replacing the cavi, but with trends in the Malibu, and Impalla showing that GM likes the old fashoned name plates. I can see a large RWD chevy sedan doing a great job for fleet sales like cop cars and such, and also as a great mid level luxury car for people that want a great car with luxury appointments, but for an affordable price. I think the malibu will do a good job, but the G6 will take a lot of the thunder from that field. In a recent mag, when they compared the Malibu to the Galant, Accord, and Camry it seemed to fair well in an all import group, but I think a longer more agile G6 will do better in this segment. Nicer, better flowing lines, and more power from teh 3.9.
 
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