- The 2014 Chevrolet SS dealer-allocation plan will be limited, Edmunds has learned.
- Chevrolet has about 3,000 dealers in the U.S. and fewer than 1,000 cars are expected to arrive on the first boatload from Australia later this year.
- The Chevrolet SS is the brand's first V8 rear-wheel-drive performance sedan since 1996.
MONTEREY, California — Enthusiasts hoping to test-drive the high-performance 2014 Chevrolet SS sedan may have a difficult time finding the car when sales begin in December.
Chevrolet has about 3,000 dealers in the U.S. and fewer than 1,000 cars are expected to arrive on the first boatload from Australia late this year. The 2014 Chevrolet SS is the spiritual successor to the legendary 1994-'96 Impala SS, a Corvette-powered, rear-drive sedan.
"It will probably be around 900," Chevrolet's John Fitzpatrick told Edmunds.
Chevrolet SS allocation will based on each dealer's Corvette and Camaro sales.
"If you have a niche selling those cars, you are going to get a bigger percentage than somebody who doesn't sell Camaros and Corvettes," he said.
Fitzpatrick is marketing manager for Chevrolet's performance cars — Corvette, Camaro and Chevrolet SS.
As additional cars are shipped to the United States next year, he expects nearly 50 percent of Chevrolet's dealers to sell the car. But even then, he doesn't expect the Chevrolet SS to be a volume seller.
"If you look at its competitors, it's going up against the Dodge Charger SRT8, the Chrysler 300 SRT8 and the Ford Taurus SHO," Fitzpatrick said. "If you look at how many cars are in that segment, it is only about 3,000-5,000 cars for the entire calendar year."
Asked if Chevrolet SS sales in the range of 1,700-2,000 units annually would be sufficient to call the car a success, Fitzpatrick said: "I would agree."
"We don't have expectations that the car is going to set up a whole new segment but we do expect to do very well against those competitors," Fitzpatrick said. He was interviewed at a press event in California.
The Chevrolet SS shares a rear-wheel-drive platform with the Camaro, Caprice police car and the Holden VF Commodore. It is equipped with a 6.2-liter V8 that delivers 415 horsepower. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually using shift paddles that are mounted on the steering wheel. Chevrolet estimates zero-to-60 mph acceleration in about 5 seconds.
Another element contributing to the low sales projection is the assembly plant, located in Australia. The car is built by General Motors' Holden subsidiary.
"The lead time from (dealer) order to delivery is about five months," including two to two-and-a-half months traveling on a ship, Russ Clark told Edmunds. Clark is Chevrolet's marketing director for performance cars.
Some dealers likely will stock the Chevrolet SS, he said. The car is offered in five exterior colors. The 2014 Chevrolet SS starts at $44,470, including a $995 destination charge A power sunroof, $900, and a full-size spare tire, $500, are the only options.
Edmunds says: Consumers who want to kick the tires of the highly anticipated Chevy SS may have to organize a search party.