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[email protected]: Supersized Epsilon II A Possbility
Epsilon II, would you like to supersize that?
www.gminsidenews.com
October 20, 2008
By: Nsap
[email protected]


(Pictured: 2008 Chevrolet Lumina from Chevrolet Middle East)​

It seems that every week there is a new product change to report out of General Motors. While the mainstream media continues to focus on the impending GM-Chrysler deal, there continues to be just as many product changes behind the scenes. This is to be expected until everything stabilizes; at GM and throughout the economy. Most GM fans can recall back to about 2006 when we first heard of this marvel new platform that GM was working on called Zeta. This real-wheel drive beauty was going to drive GM to competing with those new Chrysler LX cars that were causing such frenzy. Yes, we had our list of Zeta cars memorized within hours of hearing the news of Zeta itself. We were going to get an Impala, a Pontiac sedan, GTO, Camaro, Buick sedan, a production version of the beautiful Buick Velite and maybe even others!

Well here we sit at the end of 2008 and thus far we have gotten only the Pontiac G8 and [almost] a new Camaro. My how product plans can change right? The unfortunate truth is that many of the “what was” Zeta products are still sort of in limbo. We know for certain that the GTO is well into its second (and likely final) death, the Velite is a dream never to come true and that Zeta-based Buick sedan is in China. The Impala, one of GM’s bread-and-butter sedans, still does not have a full plan. There are a few things that we do know in regards to the situation that we can piece together ourselves however. Plus, GMI has learned some new information regarding a possible new front-wheel drive platform.

The most credible piece of evidence we have to put into the next Impala scenario is that the new Epsilon II platform is large. In some applications Epsilon II is as wide as the current W-Body based Impala. We should also note that there are two lengths of Epsilon II; one of which the new Opel Insignia rides on (which is the short version) and another that the American Epsilon II cars will utilize. This should sound familiar as that is how the Epsilon I ordeal turned out. What this means to the Impala is that its little brother the Malibu is going to be as big as it is (if not a hair bigger) in the next generation. So simply putting the Impala on Epsilon II would create overlap within the Chevrolet brand (there is enough now with the current cars).

The ideal scenario for the Impala would be for them to put it on Zeta as the original (unedited) plan called for and fans salivated over. One suggestion that has been rumored (just recently) is that they rebadge the Holden Commodore ala Pontiac G8 to make an Impala for the North American market. So far it does not appear that such idea has gotten much traction within GM. It would not take much effort to make a Commodore-Impala though, as the Commodore is already sold in the Middle East as the Chevrolet Lumina. There are other rear-wheel drive scenarios on the radar for the Impala, but all are depending on other factors that have yet to play out.

For the newest possibility, GMI is hearing that GM is pondering the idea of a “supersized” Epsilon II platform. Obviously the platform would be a home for the Impala and likely some other cars within the GM family (we assume a Buick). It is no secret that the aging G-Body platform that underpins the Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS is dying soon and has no replacement (Zeta was the indirect replacement). One does have to question if there is a need for a massive, boat front-wheel drive sedan platform, but midsize sedans do continue to grow (see Honda Accord and Mazda6). It is important to note that this big Epsilon II platform has NOT been signed off on yet and from what we hear there is an internal debate on the idea. There is a rear-wheel drive camp and front-wheel drive camp debating the issue. What they end up deciding remains to be seen. Stay tuned, more will undoubtedly unfold on this in the near future.

Oh, and we hear Bob Lutz is part of the rear-wheel drive camp.
 

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I think a supersized ep-II would be nice for the Impala. It could keep its reputation as an efficient family car above the Malibu. Then again, I think RWD should return to Chevy in some form. Caprice anyone?
 

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Wee... Chi is back with another name and GM insists on dumping money into a product segment that is dying. Midsize sedans are growing, yes. Midsize sedans won't ever be the size of the Lucerne or the DTS especially with concerns about fuel prices (remember whatever goes down can/will come back up.)
 

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Oh, and we hear Bob Lutz is part of the rear-wheel drive camp.
At least someone in the ivory tower has some sense of product planning and purpose....

Seriously, why would GM NOT put the Impala on Zeta? It's more cost effective than creating a "supersized" Epsilon II platform that doesn't currently exist even on the drawing boards. It doesn't really change the fuel economy when combined with the six-speed transmission and a proper rear-end gear. The car will certainly handle better than a FWD boat will. Makes the business case for Camaro, RWD Buick in US, and moving the Pontiac G8 to Oshawa.

Plus, God forbid GM merges with Chrysler, it gives GM a platform to put the next-gen 300/Charger on. Chrysler brands will have to live on for at least the next decade (much as AMC did when Chrysler bought them) in order to wind down the dealer network naturally. All of Chrysler's mid-size vehicles will go on to Epsilon II, which will rationalize the business case further for that platform and absorb any spare capacity that GM has in their mid-size production schedule.
 

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Wee... Chi is back with another name and GM insists on dumping money into a product segment that is dying. Midsize sedans are growing, yes. Midsize sedans won't ever be the size of the Lucerne or the DTS especially with concerns about fuel prices (remember whatever goes down can/will come back up.)

Hopefully the "mid-size" sedans shrink slightly in the next generation and go on a serious diet. Returning to the true heart of the mid-size market in size and weight would boost fuel economy by 20% at least. There is no reason that the next gen Malibu should weigh more than 3200 lbs. Heck, I'd like to see it around 2800 lbs, but power seats, premium sound system, and enough sound deadening material to quiet a rap concert will make sure that doesn't happen.
 

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I'd like to see the next Impala go RWD but FWD would be fine. Either way HotCarNut is absolutely correct that they need to focus on weight reduction. Epsilon is currently too heavy so hopefully Epsilon II will be much lighter. Zeta isn't too bad considering how big it is but it would help to be lighter there as well.
 

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is ti possible to just bring the Saudi Caprice over here and put the two mode in it?
That is an awsome car!

Totally concur!!!

Impala should be RWD with AWD as an option...and an SS option too!!!

The Impala was an awesome car back in the day. The current one is the bread and butter sedan, but not something I would salivate over.

I think GM should try to refurbish this sedan to capture as much of the old glory of the classic Impala's yet still have a few forms of the sedan that get good mileage and would retain it's overarching appeal across a broad age range. Bringing over the Saudi Caprice might do this...but it also might make it too expensive. This is definitely something that has to be thoroughly thought through and planned.

And if there's going to be a wide range of Impala's, make them ALL available at the launch of the vehicle. STOP THE TRICKLE EFFECT!!!! Making people wait too long makes the vehicle lose momentum and possibly lose those extra sales!!

:cool:
 

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Next Impala needs the GDI 2.3L 4cyl. no matter what wheels it is driving.
Maybe. What the next gen Impala really needs is a solid diesel option with a 6-speed transmission getting low 20's in the city and mid-30's on the highway. Diesel is really the way to go for large cars IMHO. They produce way more torque than a gasoline engine of comparable size and therefore allow you to use a smaller displacement engine to move the vehicle. Plus, diesels are much better on the highway in steady-state cruising than a gas engine.
 

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I'd like to see the next Impala go RWD but FWD would be fine. Either way HotCarNut is absolutely correct that they need to focus on weight reduction. Epsilon is currently too heavy so hopefully Epsilon II will be much lighter. Zeta isn't too bad considering how big it is but it would help to be lighter there as well.
There are some things that won't let them bring the weight down to much. You have safety standards that have to be met, people expecting even more room and features. Today cars are heavier because of all this. So it's a double edge sword. Look at the new Accord, it wasn't made lighter and got a lot heavier. If the Malibu is to compete with the Accord and Camery it can't get smaller or people will not want it. The Madza 6 which is coming out this year for 09 is bigger and heavier...
 

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Wee... Chi is back with another name and GM insists on dumping money into a product segment that is dying. Midsize sedans are growing, yes. Midsize sedans won't ever be the size of the Lucerne or the DTS especially with concerns about fuel prices (remember whatever goes down can/will come back up.)
GM cannot abandon the big-car segment. Not everyone wants a clown car.
 

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The US is the one country in the world where a 'boat' front drive car has shown it can make it.

Fact is, a major advantage baked into whole idea of the original Toronado was that it would be a 'real' six passenger vehicle since there was no transmission hump.

I'd love to see an honest to god six passenger 'boat' front driver.

Efficiency gains in layout and front drive mechanical efficiency will allow them to make it bigger and roomier than any rear drive car.

Imagine a C body with late sixties interior volume but a 116" wheelbase instead of 126"
I think it could be an intriguing choice.
 

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this is old news. Everyone has known for some time the next impala will be fwd not rwd. It rebadge a Holden as an impala would not make economic sense since it will cost too much for the numbers gm would want to sell in in which would be around 150,000 to 200,000 units a year. The G8 does not even do that as it is imported from down under and not made here in the usa as it should be.
 

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How about Impala AND Caprice on Zeta...

Impala - Low entry price, stripped down SS but with options to make it fairly luxurious
Caprice - Designed as a fleet car. Large vehicle with simple yet classy styling, similar to the current Impala.

If they produced both cars, they'd be able to grab a large portion of the fleet market, yet still be able to keep Impala resale prices strong.
 

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How absurd would that be, to make Zeta, which supposedly was a global platform and then bring it only in limited amounts to the US. C'mon. Give us a RWD drive Impala, and put your Auras, Malibus, and LaCrosses on FWD. How hard is that?
 
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