LOS ANGELES -- Chevrolet plans to shed the Impala's rental car image when the redesigned sedan appears this decade.
The styling of the current Impala has been untouched since the 2006 model year, as General Motors concentrated on other models and the automaker's eventual bankruptcy.
"Impalas of the past were somewhat the flagship for Chevy," Mike Simcoe, executive director for GM global design, said during an interview last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. "We need to make sure that we do justice to the nameplate."
Simcoe said the automaker will concentrate on such things as proportion, performance and the level of content for the redesigned, front-drive Impala. Industry sources expect the next generation around the 2014 model year. The car will share a platform with such vehicles as the Buick LaCrosse and Regal sedans.
Simcoe said GM is studying a niche rear-drive performance sedan for Chevrolet, "but the car has not received approval for production."
This niche sedan "is all about driving, passion and performance," Simcoe said. If approved, "we are going back to the essence of what Chevrolet was and stood for -- well-designed, beautiful, sculptured pieces, with lots of customer value."
GM insiders say the automaker is referring to the car as the SS and targeting the 2014 model year if approved.