After selling more than 16 million units since its debut in 1958, Chevrolet’s venerable Impala finally sets its sights on Korea.
The 2016 Chevrolet Impala marks Chevrolet’s first foray into the full-size sedan market in Korea. However, with its large-displacement gasoline-powered engines, the Impala may not jive with Korean consumers who are being increasingly lured by diesel-powered luxury cars cars and smaller SUVs.
To boost the Impala’s chances of success in Korea, GM Korea has done two important things.
First, the company has tailored the Impala to the tastes of Korean consumers.
Although manufactured in Detroit, Impalas in Korea will include extra equipment that is unavailable in the US, such as power-folding side mirrors, an electronic toll-collecting system (Hi-pass), rain-sensing wipers, a 220V power outlet, heated rear seats, and more.
Now How Much Would You Pay?
GM Korea has also worked some magic on the Impala’s price.
Despite being shipped to Korea from the US and then equipped with a multitude of special features that are unique to the Korean market, Impala’s sold in Korea will be priced at least $3,000 less than those sold in the US.
As a result, demand in Korea has been high.
Preorders for the Impala exceeded 1,000 in the first week and GM Korea officials expect to have 5,000 orders when the car is officially launched on September 1 this year.
The car it replaces, the Alpheon — a rebadged Buick Lacrosse — struggled to sell that number of units per year, let alone per month. And it was actually manufactured in Korea. The 2016 Chevrolet Impala is, in the immortal words of Eminem, “Imported from Detroit.”
Made in Korea? Maybe…
GM Korea has said that if sales of the Impala can sustain a certain level, then the company may consider producing the vehicle here. Such a move would be welcome news to the men and women working at GM Korea’s three production facilities. One of which is said to be operating at just 60% capacity.
As the company’s goal is to capture 10 percent of the Korean market, GM Korea has its work cut out for it; selling an extra ten to 15-thousand Impalas may just do the trick.
And if that doesn’t do it, then there’s always the next Chevy Spark or the Chevy Volt electric hybrid, but those are stories for another time.