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Old 01-22-2012, 08:49 PM   #1
XDCX
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Default 2013 Chevrolet Spark at Barrett-Jackson

After spending some time at the Ford display at Barrett-Jackson I decided to check out what Chevrolet had in their area.

The one new vehicle that caught my eye was the 2013 Chevrolet Spark - due to be released later this summer:





I don't know much about the vehicle but GM's marketing materials indicated the Spark's currently being sold in Europe and features a 1.2 liter engine with a five speed manual transmission. While I think there's a market for a small/inexpensive Chevrolet I hope there's going to be an automatic transmission version available - otherwise sales will likely be pretty light.

On a side note, Chevrolet's done a great job of updating their car line: Spark, Sonic, Cruze, Malibu and Impala - they all look very competitive.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:42 AM   #2
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I don't know much about the vehicle but GM's marketing materials indicated the Spark's currently being sold in Europe and features a 1.2 liter engine with a five speed manual transmission. While I think there's a market for a small/inexpensive Chevrolet I hope there's going to be an automatic transmission version available - otherwise sales will likely be pretty light.


On a side note, Chevrolet's done a great job of updating their car line: Spark, Sonic, Cruze, Malibu and Impala - they all look very competitive.
A sad state of affairs when the striking majority of people in this country are either incapable or too damn lazy to shift their own gears. I was selling a 5 speed S10 for a friend who was going into the military and more than one buyer wondered why it had a "second brake pedal".

I'm going to take issue with the assertion that the Impala is competitive. Perhaps it was a major player when it was released in '06 but now it is nothing more than another bland, long in the tooth mass market rental car running around on 20 year old mechanicals. To GM's credit, however, the rest of their product line is as good as it has ever been and they are (hopefully) positioned for success going forward.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:18 AM   #3
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A sad state of affairs when the striking majority of people in this country are either incapable or too damn lazy to shift their own gears. I was selling a 5 speed S10 for a friend who was going into the military and more than one buyer wondered why it had a "second brake pedal".
I agree.

Concerning the "second brake pedal" there was a great story about Iacocca's daughter who made a similar comment when looking at vehicles with her father.

On a related note, I remember giving a ride to my cousin's daughter in my Jeep Wrangler who had never seen a vehicle with non-power windows. After explaining the history of power windows then I had to expain the history of automatic transmissions when she asked why I was always shifting the five speed.

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I'm going to take issue with the assertion that the Impala is competitive. Perhaps it was a major player when it was released in '06 but now it is nothing more than another bland, long in the tooth mass market rental car running around on 20 year old mechanicals. To GM's credit, however, the rest of their product line is as good as it has ever been and they are (hopefully) positioned for success going forward.
Point taken. I guess I gave the Impala too much credit because I was impressed with the Sonic, Cruze and Malibu. That said, I still don't know what to think of the Spark, it looks good but there are so many excellent small cars in the market I wonder how it will compete?
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:31 PM   #4
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Point taken. I guess I gave the Impala too much credit because I was impressed with the Sonic, Cruze and Malibu. That said, I still don't know what to think of the Spark, it looks good but there are so many excellent small cars in the market I wonder how it will compete?
Is the Spark comparable to the Fiat 500 or is it the Sonic? I don't know that much about this class of cars, but I do know the Sonic is Chevrolet's answer to the Ford Fiesta. Ford also has the smaller Ka model (not sold in the U.S. yet) that shares a platform with the Fiat 500, so, I'm guessing that the Spark is in the same class since it is Chevrolet's smallest car. Either way, I think the introduction of the Spark and/or Sonic will make things that much harder for Fiat. Consider the number of Chevrolet dealers compared to Fiat dealers.

As for the Impala, I believe GM is looking to lanch a new model in 2013. There are spy photos of a covered Chevrolet sedan floating around the Internet and people think it is the new Impala. I don't know if it will be all new or just a refresh, but a new Impala is supposed to be coming out soon.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:25 PM   #5
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Is the Spark comparable to the Fiat 500 or is it the Sonic? I don't know that much about this class of cars, but I do know the Sonic is Chevrolet's answer to the Ford Fiesta. Ford also has the smaller Ka model (not sold in the U.S. yet) that shares a platform with the Fiat 500, so, I'm guessing that the Spark is in the same class since it is Chevrolet's smallest car.
Exactly. Even though the Spark is smaller than the Sonic it's still bigger than the Fiat 500.

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Either way, I think the introduction of the Spark and/or Sonic will make things that much harder for Fiat. Consider the number of Chevrolet dealers compared to Fiat dealers.
I totally agree, although I'll stick by my original prediction that sales of the Spark will be severely limited if there's not an automatic transmission version.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I still can't believe Marchionne stripped away a future small car from the CJDR dealers. I just don't see the Fiat 500 being a volume piece unless Auburn Hills scraps the Fiat Dealer Network.

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As for the Impala, I believe GM is looking to lanch a new model in 2013. There are spy photos of a covered Chevrolet sedan floating around the Internet and people think it is the new Impala. I don't know if it will be all new or just a refresh, but a new Impala is supposed to be coming out soon.
I haven't kept up on GM's product plans but it's good to hear there's a replacement/upgrade coming for the Impala. At one time I remember reading that GM was going to import a RWD car from Australia for Police Vehicle sales but that plan may have died. Maybe the new Impala will have to fill that niche for GM?
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:50 PM   #6
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I haven't kept up on GM's product plans but it's good to hear there's a replacement/upgrade coming for the Impala. At one time I remember reading that GM was going to import a RWD car from Australia for Police Vehicle sales but that plan may have died. Maybe the new Impala will have to fill that niche for GM?
The new Impala will be based on the Super Epsilon II platform that will be shared with the upcoming Caddy XTS. GM has indeed imported rebadged Holdens for police use under the Caprice nameplate but those are restricted to law enforcement sales only.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:23 AM   #7
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Default 2012 Impala

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A sad state of affairs when the striking majority of people in this country are either incapable or too damn lazy to shift their own gears. I was selling a 5 speed S10 for a friend who was going into the military and more than one buyer wondered why it had a "second brake pedal".

I'm going to take issue with the assertion that the Impala is competitive. Perhaps it was a major player when it was released in '06 but now it is nothing more than another bland, long in the tooth mass market rental car running around on 20 year old mechanicals. To GM's credit, however, the rest of their product line is as good as it has ever been and they are (hopefully) positioned for success going forward.
The '12 Impala actually has the 3.6 engine...the same one that is causing problems in the GMC Arcadia and it's siblings. The very good 3.4 and 3.9's are gone. Lastly...the 3.6...is a Saab design....

The law enforcement only Caprice PPV is nice....we have 7 or 8 of them.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:45 AM   #8
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The new Impala will be based on the Super Epsilon II platform that will be shared with the upcoming Caddy XTS. GM has indeed imported rebadged Holdens for police use under the Caprice nameplate but those are restricted to law enforcement sales only.
Thanks for the update. I did some quick checking on the Internet and noticed the XTS will be Front-Wheel-Drive so that may explain why GM is importing the vehicles from Holden for Police Service.

Regardless, it's good to hear the Impala's getting replaced - it's probably the weakest (least competitive) vehicle in Chevrolet's car line.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:49 AM   #9
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The '12 Impala actually has the 3.6 engine...the same one that is causing problems in the GMC Arcadia and it's siblings. The very good 3.4 and 3.9's are gone. Lastly...the 3.6...is a Saab design....
That's unfortunate. Hopefully GM has resolved the issues with the current 3.6 engines. Have their been any redesigns of the 3.6 or are the problems just starting to materialize?

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The law enforcement only Caprice PPV is nice....we have 7 or 8 of them.
That's cool. I wonder what the police departments will do with those cars when they're ready to be retired? If they're going to be sold to the public I bet there will be a strong market for them since there are always people who are willing to pay to have a vehicle no one else has.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:05 PM   #10
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That's unfortunate. Hopefully GM has resolved the issues with the current 3.6 engines. Have their been any redesigns of the 3.6 or are the problems just starting to materialize?



That's cool. I wonder what the police departments will do with those cars when they're ready to be retired? If they're going to be sold to the public I bet there will be a strong market for them since there are always people who are willing to pay to have a vehicle no one else has.
Oil Life system is tripping them up on this engine. It's been around a while, and the Cadillac guys will tell you that the oil life system, and low oil levels are what kills this engine. Regular oil changes and the chains don't tend to stretch, but if you go by the OLS, you go way too far between oil changes... GM is doing a reprogram on the OLS to make the max miles like 7,500 between oil changes. GM is crazy about this engine, it's appearing everywhere.

Some dealer in New England retailed nearly a dozen of the PPV's before GM caught them. It's a shame they killed Pontiac, because the PPV is a G8 with a bowtire.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:01 AM   #11
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I totally agree, although I'll stick by my original prediction that sales of the Spark will be severely limited if there's not an automatic transmission version.
I agree that offering the Spark with just a stick will hamper its sales quite a bit. I went to the Chevrolet website and looked at the initial pre-production Spark information and there was no mention of an automatic. That doesn't mean the Spark won't come with an automatic, but it doesn't sound very good when this option is not mentioned on their website at this time.

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At the risk of beating a dead horse, I still can't believe Marchionne stripped away a future small car from the CJDR dealers. I just don't see the Fiat 500 being a volume piece unless Auburn Hills scraps the Fiat Dealer Network.
I just had to throw this aspect in there. What Sergio doesn't understand is that Chevrolet and Ford can grow volume just because of the sheer size of their dealer network. GM and Ford understand that their volume brand should offer just about every size of vehicle out there. If you want a Ford Focus or Chevy Spark, you can go to any Ford or Chevy dealership and order one. If you want a Fiat 500, there is only one (maybe two) places in your area that you can order one from. And sometimes, these dealers are miles away. That isn't too convenient for those individuals that don't want to go out of their way to buy a car. I think this is an instance in which Sergio and Auburn Hills think they are smarter than GM and Ford.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:39 AM   #12
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Oil Life system is tripping them up on this engine. It's been around a while, and the Cadillac guys will tell you that the oil life system, and low oil levels are what kills this engine. Regular oil changes and the chains don't tend to stretch, but if you go by the OLS, you go way too far between oil changes... GM is doing a reprogram on the OLS to make the max miles like 7,500 between oil changes. GM is crazy about this engine, it's appearing everywhere.
Great post - thanks for the information.

I seem to remember another OEM found that their in-car system for determining oil change frequency needed to be reprogrammed because the oil change intervals were being stretched too far and engine wear/failure was becoming an issue. As I recall, there was some type of settlement from the OEM to the customers because it was alleged that new programming would increase the customer's cost of ownership.

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It's a shame they killed Pontiac, because the PPV is a G8 with a bowtire.
I totally agree and I know Bob Lutz was working hard to save Pontiac as a "niche brand" but the Task Force didn't want to hear about it.

It's really too bad. Pontiac could have positioned themselves as the American alternative to BWM and the brand would have lifted GM's overall image. Pontiac had some really good products when they were killed off.
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:14 PM   #13
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Default 2013 Chevrolet Sprint was at Barrett-Jackson - Orange County

I was reminded of this thread when I was reviewing some of the pictures I took when I was at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Orange County.

Here's a picture of the 2013 Chevrolet Sprint they had on display:




As before, I think the car looks pretty good and it has the potential to be a volume seller if Chevrolet prices it correctly. I also thought it was interesting that the model they had on display in Orange County was equipped with an automatic transmission. (There's no longer a question about whether an automatic transmission will be offered.)

In some ways the Sprint reminds me of a PT Cruiser without the added rear hatch area. The car is pretty small but still offers a lot of room for the rear seat passengers because of the tall roof line.

For the sake of the Chevrolet dealers I hope GM prices this vehicle right - I imagine the sales of this vehicle will be almost 100% plus business since GM currently does not have a competitive vehicle in this segment.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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I dont sell many new impalas but i sell EVERY used 06-09 impala we get in we price them right wish i had 5 or 6 in stock now.The new SS is coming out should be almost the same as the g8 gt.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:48 AM   #15
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The new SS is coming out should be almost the same as the g8 gt.
That's good news - whenever I see a G8 driving around it reminds me of what a great car it was and how sad it was to see GM kill-off the Pontiac brand. I know Bob Lutz wanted to keep Pontiac as a niche brand, something akin to an American version of BMW, but the Task Force wouldn't allow it.

Another death in the name of shared-sacrifice.
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