The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is rolling off assembly plant lines and into the spotlight, garnering praise from buyers, automotive reviewers and consumer publications alike.
Designers, engineers and marketers often vocalize their opinions about the vehicle and their contribution to the completed product. An important voice not often heard, however, is that of the assembly line worker, who labors daily to build the automobile from the ground up.
A number of UAW Local 22 members at General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, one of two locations where the Impala is built, came forward and expressed their passion for being an integral part of the iconic American sedan. Among them were Junaria Cooper, Sarah Smith, and Mitch Seaton. As they answered questions about the vehicle it immediately became apparent that though their experiences are varied, they share a common passion for their job, inspired by the bloodline of the Chevrolet Impala nameplate.
Q: What are your impressions of the 2014 Impala, especially the specific parts you handle every day?
Junaria: When the car gets to my team, it is just a shell. We put the seat cushion and backrest in place. The interior colors I see in the fabrics of the vehicle are unique to what GM has produced in the past, which I like. For example, there is a rust-colored seat cushion that looks really unique. When it’s paired with a black exterior, it is a rich, luxurious look.
Mitch: I work on the Launch program, which helps train new line employees. This means that I cover every area of automobile assembly, including paint, so I see the vehicle in every stage of the production process. One detail I really like about the Impala are the feature lines – they’re all so sharp. The quality level on this car is extremely high and something that before was only reserved for luxury automobiles that cost a lot more.
Sarah: I work on the line installing the device that moves your automatic window up and down, so the piece that I personally assemble similar to a lot of other GM vehicles. What I like about the Impala, though, is how every detail is always right.
Q: Quality and attention to detail are two key elements necessary to produce an award-winning automobile. How do you help ensure that a high standard of quality is always met?
Junaria: While I’m building the car, I keep in mind that this is the car that I want to drive. If you feel like you’re building it for yourself, you’re going to build a better vehicle because you feel more attached to it
Mitch: Attention to detail and communication are very important to me. I make sure to go out of my way to alert someone if I see anything that needs to be fixed. It doesn’t matter how small or how big the issue is, it’s important to let somebody know so it gets taken care of.
Sarah: GM also standardizes parts and streamlines processes to make a blueprint that anyone can follow. Even though vehicles are made in multiple locations around the world, using this blueprint makes sure that the customer can expect the same finished product no matter where it comes from.
Q: Would you purchase the 2014 Impala?
Sarah: Oh, most definitely! The body style and performance are everything that I want in a car. I actually just bought a new car, or else I would look into buying it.
Junaria: I would love to buy a 2014 Impala. Like I said, I build the car I want to drive.
Mitch: I would absolutely love to own an Impala. The new color combinations make people take a second look at it and the jewelry (headlights) on the car are very intricate.
Q: The 2014 Impala is Chevrolet’s new flagship sedan, and it has been getting a lot of positive attention. That being said, how does that make you feel about working for the company on this particular vehicle?
Junaria: It makes me feel like we’re moving in the right direction as a company. I want to keep producing high-quality vehicles and set a standard for other auto companies to follow.
Mitch: The 2014 Impala is exciting for me because it proves to me that even though GM has experienced a lot of difficult times in the past, we can move forward and produce top-quality automobiles.
Sarah: Being on the team that builds the 2014 Impala makes all of us proud. It is a first-class car and the workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant are happy to build it.