Chevrolet is developing a new car with a new name for its 2013 NASCAR entry, replacing the Impala used by Team Chevy, and plans to eventually market and sell the new model to consumers.
The dealership and racing versions of the car will be unveiled this year, after the New York auto show in April, spokesman Monte Doran said. The new car will use a nameplate not currently in Chevy's lineup. Neither the car nor its name will be a derivative of another model in Chevy showrooms, such as the new Malibu or the upcoming redesigned Impala, Doran said. General Motors wouldn't reveal details.
"We are keeping the wraps on the new car for now and will continue to prepare for next season by testing camouflaged vehicles," Jim Campbell, vice president of Chevrolet performance vehicles and motorsports, said in a statement. "We know that Chevrolet fans are eager to see the new race car, and we hope that the prospect of being able to own one just like it will make the wait a little more bearable."
The new car may resemble the Chevy Caprice currently imported from Australia for U.S. police forces. Inside GM, a plan to develop a Chevy performance sedan like the Caprice for consumers was on-and-off in recent years because of concerns that it wasn't a high-profit vehicle, people familiar with the situation said.
Australia's Holden brand currently offers the rear-wheel drive Caprice. In addition, a closely related, shorter vehicle called the Commodore, which doubled as the now-discontinued Pontiac G8, could also inspire the new car.
"It's the only thing they can get out there quick enough that we haven't seen in camo at Milford yet," said Jim Hall, a consultant with 2953 Analytics.
Along with developing the new performance sedan, GM is redesigning the current Impala, which will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant and is expected to hit showrooms by spring 2013.
In choosing performance concepts to reveal at January's Detroit auto show, GM executives pointed to a perceived need in their lineup. GM conducted a two-year study of 9,000 members of the millennial generation -- 80 million Americans ages 11 to 30 -- and on the strength of the findings decided to design some hot-rod concepts.
The results: the red, rear-wheel drive Code 130R four-seat coupe, with fender flares that recalled Chevy's heritage of affordable performance cars, and the low-slung, front-wheel drive Tru 140S two-door hatchback, with chrome wheels bearing Chevy's cross-flag racing emblem.
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