More changes are in store for the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck plant in southeast Michigan.GM has revealed that it plans to invest $69 million in new tooling, add two extra shifts, and create 2500 jobs there in order to build the next-generation Chevrolet Impala.
GM had previously announced that Hamtramck would be temporarily shut down this summer so it could be upgraded. The plant was slated to receive additional capacity for building the Chevrolet Volt and its European derivative, the Opel Ampera, as well as the upcoming 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.
That the Impala will be built alongside the 2013 Malibu further implies the two sedans will be based on a very similar platform. We already expected that the next-generation Impala would be based on an elongated version of the front-wheel-drive Epsilon platform that underpins the Malibu, Buick LaCrosse, and rumored Cadillac XTS sedans.
Chevrolet’s 2013 Malibu should launch in the U.S. in mid-2012 (assembly will start in South Korea a little earlier.) The new sedan wears muscular styling cues cribbed from the Camaro, as well a modern front fascia similar to that of the Cruze, and a thoroughly refreshed interior. The main powertrain will be a 2.5-liter inline-four engine offering about 190 hp which, in partnership with a six-speed automatic transmission, should return over 30 mpg on the highway.
Little is known about the future Impala, but it’s unlikely to debut before the 2014 model year. While there had been whispers that the Impala would return to its rear-drive roots, those rumors have long been quashed. It will be longer and ride on a longer wheelbase than the Malibu, helping differentiate the two models. The current Impala soldiers on mostly unchanged for now, although it switches to a direct-injection V-6 engine for 2012.