Impala shows new face for Chevrolet
Photo credit: MIKE COLIAS PHOTOS
NEW YORK -- The redesigned Chevrolet Impala that bowed here last week reveals a new design direction for the face for General Motors' highest-volume brand.
GM is moving Chevy away from the two-tier grille that is split by a narrow, horizontal bar stamped with the brand's gold bow tie. GM's design bosses say the 2014 Impala's wider, deeper grille and flared-back headlamps mark the first attempt to change the face that has adorned most Chevrolet vehicles for nearly a decade.
"It's important to understand when a face needs to evolve," says Ed Welburn, GM design chief. "You don't want to walk away from something that has been so strong, but I've felt that it needed to be freshened."
A few months ago, Welburn presented his vision of the future face of Chevrolet to CEO Dan Akerson and other GM leaders. He says the front end on the Impala, which will go on sale around April of next year, is an evolutionary step.
"Future Chevrolets will become even more distinct and a bit more premium in the face," Welburn says.
The front of most Chevrolets today, including the Cruze and the redesigned Malibu, has a narrower grille with a mesh, honeycomb look. The headlights have a more-vertical design and are less swept back than on the new Impala.
The Impala's wider grille "helps give the car a wider, more-planted stance," says John Cafaro, a longtime GM designer who led the new Impala's exterior styling.
Welburn says his team began crafting the new look a couple of years ago in an effort to differentiate the Impala's face from that of the 2013 Malibu. To do that, designers borrowed heavily from the Camaro, which also sports a wider, more muscular-looking grille.
Mark Reuss, GM's president of North America, says the Camaro is a good place to look for inspiration because it's "a hit around the world."
"So how do you take that DNA of sportiness and dial it into what was an older, twin-port design to make it contemporary?" he says. "That's what we're working on really hard."
The new front-end features go beyond Chevy's car lineup. The Traverse crossover shown in New York last week also ditches the split-grille feature for a wider, more linear look.
You can reach Mike Colias at firstname.lastname@example.org.