when it was one of the most popular cars in the U.S.
GM's Leap of Faith on Impala
A Once-Celebrated Sedan
Tries to Shake Off Rental-Fleet Image
By JEFF BENNETT
The Wall Street Journal
In its heyday, the Chevrolet Impala inspired a song by the Beach Boys and held a starring roll in the gritty, 1970s detective show "Baretta." But in recent years, the big sedan has become almost forgettable, drawing mostly rental-car company and government agency buyers.
Now General Motors Co is betting it can make the 54-year-old Impala a head-turner again, all part of a broader plan to reinvigorate its offerings with 13 redesigned cars and trucks next year and regain the favor of American car shoppers.
The 2014 Impala, which hits showrooms in April, would be the first remake of the car in seven years, mixes technology—such as an eight-inch movable infotainment screen and lane-departure control—with a fashion knack that includes colored stitching on seats and chrome lettering.
Dealers and reviewers say reconnecting the faded nameplate with consumers won't be easy. The Impala makeover comes much later than other aging models from the era of land cruisers that have already undergone overhauls—such as the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and GM's own Buick LaCrosse.
"The redesign looks better than the old model," says auto-information website Edmunds.com reviewer Dan Frio. "Is it good enough to compete against the Taurus and Chrysler 300? I don't know."
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