Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weep for the Chevy Impala SS

Rumor has it that Chevy is going to drop the "SS" trim level on the Impala sedan for 2010. Currently Chevy offers the Impala in 4 different trim levels (LS, LT, LTZ and SS) There is little to no difference between the 4 trim levels, they all have same standard equipment, same engine, same transmission. The top of the line models get a few frills like leather seats and a fancier radio, excuse me "audio system". Cruising the Chevy website shows no visible external differences, no extra chrome strips, no two tone paint, no bigger grill, nada, zip.
Chevy marketing asks $24K for the bottom of the line LS and $32K for the top of the line SS.
And marketing expects customers to pay up to $8K more for just a badge on the trunk lid? I don't think so. In actual fact, customers are going to pay the same price for all four trim levels, cause they all look the same. Customers will walk into the dealer and ask for the bottom of the line LS cause it's cheapest. If the dealer doesn't have one, he is going to sell them the "higher priced" LT, LTZ, or SS models at bottom of the line LS prices. Especially this year when the dealers are so desparate they will do anything to make a sale.
What any sensible marketing department ought to do is simplify things for production. An Impala is an Impala, with one list price. Deal with the frills as options.
Unfortunately Chevy marketing is stuck in a time warp going back to the 1950's. Back then they offered Chevy's as 110, 210, and Bel Air. 110 was the plainest model, sold to fleets, 210 got some extra chrome trim, and Bel Air got a lot of extra chrome trim. In those days you could tell the difference between the cheap body 110 and the flossy Bel Air from 200 feet away. Not any longer, the 2009 Impala's four trim levels look exactly the same from 200 inches away. But marketing still wants to charge extra for invisible non-differences.
Well, the enthusiasts are all crying 'cause Chevy is dropping the SS trim level for 2010. Somehow I don't think those enthusiasts have ever tried to sell a real car to a real customer.

No comments: