Much has been made of the sudden announcement of the death sentence for Pontiac, including the likely end of the one truly competitive model the brand has offered over the past 20 years or so, the G8.
Autoblog reports that there is a group led by the Los Angeles police department that is trying to get the G8/Holden Commodore suitable for duty as a police car. That’s a great idea, but I’ll go one further.
Keep the car and rebadge it as the Chevrolet Impala. The current G8 is almost a match or an improvement over the Impala in interior dimensions:
|Vehicle||Front shoulder room (in.)||Front leg room (in.)||Front head room (in.)||Rear shoulder room (in.)||Rear leg room (in.)||Rear head room (in.)|
And while it has a shorter overall length (196 in. vs. 200 in.), it has a wheelbase that is longer by 4 inches (115 in.), which is the far more crucial parameter. This places it above the Malibu in size, but also makes the Chevrolet large sedan a distinctively different vehicle than just an old, slightly larger, also-front-drive sedan–which pretty much describes the Malibu. Not to mention that the Impala relies on a platform that dates back to 1988. Sure, short term, the Impala is probably more profitable because it’s old and simple to build, but that’s no strategy to sustain a brand.
But the most important aspect is that it gives Chevrolet a highly developed, sophisticated sedan worthy of the Impala nameplate. What’s more fun than spinning the front wheels in an Impala SS? To me, many things. But a rear-drive Impala SS would be a gas. And GM told us that the G8 would get a direct-injection 3.6-liter V6 with a six-speed automatic for 2010. This would be perfect for Impala buyers more interested in fuel economy than burn outs.
The G8 is a ready-made next Impala. It would be fantastic for GM to save this one model from certain extinction. Now it’s up to GM to build a business case for it.