After the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala goes on sale late next month, the current Impala will still remain in production. The car will be renamed the 2014 Chevrolet Impala Limited and will be a fleet-only vehicle.
Chevrolet Impala spokesman Chad Lyons confirmed the decision to us after brand marketing chief Chris Perry made the announcement at a launch event for the 2014 Impala. "We will continue to service fleet and commercial customers for 2013," Lyons told us. "There is a business opportunity for us here with fleet customers."
The current Impala is already a big hit with fleets and rental companies. Lyons said that about 77 percent of the car's 169,352 sales last year were to fleets, so it makes sense for Chevrolet to milk the car's popularity for another year even after launching the new 2014 model for consumers.
The Impala Limited will remain in production as long as there is enough demand for Chevrolet to keep building it, Lyons said. It won't be a stripped-down model, as all the engine and equipment choices available on the 2013 Impala will be offered to fleets for the 2014 Impala Limited.
This is far from the first time Chevrolet has continued producing old cars to serve fleet customers. In 2011, Chevrolet revived the Saturn Vue crossover as the Captiva Sport. Adding Bowtie badges and a new grille allowed the automaker to provide a crossover to rental fleets without affecting production capacity of the popular Equinox and GMC Terrain. The Captiva Sport has proven reasonably successful, selling 36,935 units last year.
When a new Chevrolet Malibu launched in 2004, the automaker continued to build the outgoing model as the Chevrolet Classic. It was sold only to rental companies and other fleets, and was offered only with the car's base 140-hp. 2.2-liter inline-four engine. Then in 2007, when the Malibu was updated again, that car was sold for the 2008 model year as the Malibu Classic to fleet customers. Prior to that, the Chevrolet Metro (née Geo Metro) was sold only to fleets in 2001, the last year on the market. Pictured below, it had a 79-hp 1.3-liter inline-three engine, three-speed automatic transmission, an AM/FM radio without a tape or CD player, and manual windows and locks.