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    Chevrolet Readying A Malibu Refresh For 2013


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    December 4, 2012

    The new Chevrolet Malibu has been getting panned for a multitude of reasons; rear head and legroom is poor, the interior is over-styled, and the powertrains are meh. Sales haven't great either; in September and October, sales dropped by 3%.

    Because of this, General Motors has announced mid-cycle refresh of the new Malibu coming out late 2013, eighteen months after the Malibu was launched.

    "We are going to do a midcycle enhancement, not dramatic, by this time next year," said GM CEO Dan Akerson.

    Akerson told Automotive News that a revised front fascia would be part of the refresh, but wouldn't reveal anymore.

    "I think it's a good car. It'll do OK. It is a tough segment and it's one we need to be successful in. We'll see how it plays out," Akerson said.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    The SS/Impala front and rear clips are almost a given

    Perhaps redesigned seat cushions to eek out a few tenths of an inch of rear legroom.

    Maybe they replace the strakes on the dashboard (which i actually like) with a piece of plood or brushed plaluminum that fills it.

    I wouldnt expect much change in the way of powertrains

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    They could dish out the back seat like they did on the ATS to make it seem roomier too. They're probably going to do something about that strafe across the dash and the ridiculous plood and trowel applied chrome while they're at it.

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    Thisis the refresh I had been asking for here. This will help lot.

    The Bu overall is not a bad car it just is a dated car as it was delayed by the chapter 11. By the time it made it to market the styling was dated and the compitition had moved on.

    The styling will solve a great issue and I agree the dished seats would help address back seat room with only a upgrade of 2 seat backs. My 08 seats are dished too.

    The powertrains are already being addressed as the Eco launch was the wong choice. They just now need to tell someone about it so they just don't thing the ECO is all there is.

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    Well darn it I said this would happen. Launching this car with the ineffective, expensive, space-robbing, CRAPPY eek-assist did nothing but confuse customers.

    I don't think this is a bad car with the 2.5L, but they blew their marketing wad with the pissy Eco model at launch.

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    Thisis the refresh I had been asking for here. This will help lot.

    The Bu overall is not a bad car it just is a dated car as it was delayed by the chapter 11. By the time it made it to market the styling was dated and the compitition had moved on.

    The styling will solve a great issue and I agree the dished seats would help address back seat room with only a upgrade of 2 seat backs. My 08 seats are dished too.

    The powertrains are already being addressed as the Eco launch was the wong choice. They just now need to tell someone about it so they just don't thing the ECO is all there is.

    This Malibu was not delayed by bankruptcy. Previous gen Malibu was release in 2007 as a 2008, won COTY in 2008. Bankruptcy took place in 2009, the car was in its second MY. Work for this Malibu started after the bankruptcy. GM wronged this car no need to offer excuses.

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    Thisis the refresh I had been asking for here. This will help lot.

    The Bu overall is not a bad car it just is a dated car as it was delayed by the chapter 11. By the time it made it to market the styling was dated and the compitition had moved on.

    The styling will solve a great issue and I agree the dished seats would help address back seat room with only a upgrade of 2 seat backs. My 08 seats are dished too.

    The powertrains are already being addressed as the Eco launch was the wong choice. They just now need to tell someone about it so they just don't thing the ECO is all there is.

    This Malibu was not delayed by bankruptcy. Previous gen Malibu was release in 2007 as a 2008, won COTY in 2008. Bankruptcy took place in 2009, the car was in its second MY. Work for this Malibu started after the bankruptcy. GM wronged this car no need to offer excuses.

    The new one was shown to the press long ago and it was put on the shelf till other projects like the Cruze and some other projects were done. Most of this work was done pre chapter 11 like the ZL1 and other products and pulled back to be finished when they got the money and man power to do it. The Malibu came late mostly due to the decent sales of the last one. The Cobalt and old Delta could not wait.

    They then put a rush on it as it was not ready as soon as they had liked to had it.

    If I recall they showed this car to the press around 09 to the press and they loved it but could not give details. Since then it did not age well.

    No need for excuses as that is what happened and they screwed up by not taking the time to finish it right or launching properly. No company hits them all out of the park and if they are smart they fix the mistakes fast as like Honda did.

    I wonder if there's merit to quietly killing the Eco as is and eventually replacing it with the diesel that's slated for the Cruze.

    Or just keep it the Eco and fix it with the Diesel. That is if anyone would buy it? I still have some fear and hope I am wrong.

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    the way chevy needs to look at this is from a sales guy point of view (trust me, if a shopper has an objection- real or put in their head by the public or press- you just can't really get over it until you gash the price.

    so, let's look at perhaps each of the biggest Malibu objections.

    rear seat room. this actually is part of a larger packaging problem. a looksy under the hood reveals probably close to a foot of open air between the engine and radiator. imagine what that room would do in the backseat. now though, all they can do is fix soft things. the rear seat positions are designed in with the crash structure and air bags. GM's seats are really bulky and thick, and have intrusive mounting points. there is no footspace, and typically GM roofs are low. there are too many problems here. But look at the new Fusion seats, very thin. If Chevy could redesign the front seats to be less bulky and return room to the back....dish out the rear seatback a little farther, and get the seat mounts off the floor to provide a flat and long surface to stretch out your feet, then they could steal two or three inches of room. It still does not fix poor ingress and egress. But at least it begins to diminish the sales objection of the back seat being useless, if it's the only objection. I think Ford improved the rear seat on the contour when they had the similar problem. The difficulty is in doing it within a body with a diving roofline and a fixed rear shelf.

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    mpg- i have a hard time believing that in real world usage, the new malibu has a significant deficit over competition. But it lacks a high mpg figure on the highway. 26 combined is quite good! But the highway is 34. Altima is 38, Like realtors and square footage for homes, the competitive battle is often reduced to things that are easy for boneheads to compare. MPG is the new horsepower. Maybe we need the 8 speed auto pronto.. Maybe the Eco model should be a 1.6t. Current Eco should top 40 mpg to really make a marketing splash.

    Warranty and price - again, misleading. Chevy has a big powertrain warranty. But that and the BTB cannot match the hyperbole of the Hyundai.

    Styling- unfortunately a good design concept is hampered by the short wheelbase epsilon architecture. Lesser overhangs, a more aggressive windshield, longer wheelbase, shorter hood and trunk may have helped this car a lot. As it is, they did quite well with what they could. The interior is improved over the past but maybe not enough. At this point there is not a lot you can fix to run out the model.....just knock em dead on the next one.

    Electrification- current stop start is a great idea (as long as I can defeat it). But it doesn't compete as a hybrid. Chevy, despite the Volt, needs a hybrid malibu....or a larger volt.

    Price- all new cars are getting too pricey. But GM pushes it luck more than most with ambitious pricing. GM needs to play dirty with the biggest market whore and really pimp out incentives, leasing, financing and great MSRP on this volume model.

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    at the minimum though, the two very biggest flaws are mpg and back seat. If they can correct those two, and package it with improved pricing, that would help most.

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    When you CEO says the car is OK but the refresh will be OK as it is a segment they need to compete in, this does not leave me with a rosy feeling that they are in it to win it.

    Some times I wonder if GM should not be broken up into 3 car companies Chevy, Buick/GMC and Cadillac. Ohh wait they are supposed to be that with the power to reduce costs as they bring out better product.

    Still waiting on this for some models.

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    Thisis the refresh I had been asking for here. This will help lot.

    The Bu overall is not a bad car it just is a dated car as it was delayed by the chapter 11. By the time it made it to market the styling was dated and the compitition had moved on.

    The styling will solve a great issue and I agree the dished seats would help address back seat room with only a upgrade of 2 seat backs. My 08 seats are dished too.

    The powertrains are already being addressed as the Eco launch was the wong choice. They just now need to tell someone about it so they just don't thing the ECO is all there is.

    This Malibu was not delayed by bankruptcy. Previous gen Malibu was release in 2007 as a 2008, won COTY in 2008. Bankruptcy took place in 2009, the car was in its second MY. Work for this Malibu started after the bankruptcy. GM wronged this car no need to offer excuses.

    The new one was shown to the press long ago and it was put on the shelf till other projects like the Cruze and some other projects were done. Most of this work was done pre chapter 11 like the ZL1 and other products and pulled back to be finished when they got the money and man power to do it. The Malibu came late mostly due to the decent sales of the last one. The Cobalt and old Delta could not wait.

    They then put a rush on it as it was not ready as soon as they had liked to had it.

    If I recall they showed this car to the press around 09 to the press and they loved it but could not give details. Since then it did not age well.

    No need for excuses as that is what happened and they screwed up by not taking the time to finish it right or launching properly. No company hits them all out of the park and if they are smart they fix the mistakes fast as like Honda did.

    Partially true Hyper, the design was shown in 2009, post bankruptcy to the journalists. The fact is GM's efforts in this car have been ho-hum and lack of attention to details.

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    I counter that it was a good car in 2010 but we are now into the 2013 MY and a lot has changed at the other brands.

    I feel they just sat on what they had in 2009 and did not advance the design as they should have.

    The other factor is this car in LTZ trim and a Turbo engine is a much different car vs the Eco and the Eco set the wrong Image of this car from the start. Too few people have ever seen a LTZ Malibu.

    Also the Cruze came along and raised expectations even more. Even the Eco Cruze is so much more than what the Eco Malbu turned out to be. The greatest sin the Malibu commited is being a car 3 years behind the market.

    Still the leg room has no excuse after the previous model.

    The bottom line is GM and Chevy have all the chips on this one and they picked the number that came up on the last spin. I just hope the refresh is enough to get them back into the present MY.

    Edited by hyperv6
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    LTZ plus 19 inch wheels really is a knockout.

    Turbo, if they ADVERTISE IT and keep the price within reach, I think will bring new buyers in looking at the Malibu as more of a budget sport sedan. How about a nonsense turbo sedan.......18's or the 19 inch wheels, heated cloth seats, available MT?

    Play with the interior some and see if you can introduce some european austerity, give it the cheap sport package....heck let's make a 2.5 sport package also. The 2.5 is quite nice.

    All the competition has become dramamine, it's time for Chevy to bring the swagger back to this class. IMHO something akin to the original Taurus SHO or something that can outdrive the Accord (and trust me the press gushing over the accord is way overdone).

    I have a feeling an 8 speed tranny would help the car a lot with mpg numbers.

    A 1.6t Eco with some lightened bits ala Cruze Eco might be a neat trick too. Although its not like there is a cheaper version of a rear suspension to stuff in there. But take a base 2.5, find 100 pounds to lose, gear top gear for high speed cruising, give it stop start also, now you are talking.

    The key for a Malibu will always be how good a deal will it sell for. More than ever now. Currently all the other competitors are whoring out their cars with cheap leases and crazy give away incentives. Malibu's MSRPs are too high and so yes they need incentives like everyone else to move. I have no problem with GM cheap leasing the car or throwing 1500 on the hood. If there is one car besides the Cruze that GM needs to sell buckets of, its a Malibu. And Malibu + Impala sales together has always been GM's tack. But Malibu from 14 on will have a greater chance of taking away a sale from a midsize competitor than the 14+ Impala will.

    I have no problem with this Malibu getting fleeted also.

    Where can a Malibu lose 100 pounds? Wheels and tires could find 20-25 pounds. Seats, 5-10 pounds. Wiring, 5-10 pounds. A couple aluminum panels, 10 pounds. That's about 50 right there.

    Edited by regfootball
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    I agree that this car could have swagger if they do a sports package like Ford did the SHO on the Taurus. As far as reducing weight to help get the MPG up, make the front nose and rear trunk all alumin so it becomes one large crumple zone to protect the people inside. Yes more expensive to fix, but very safe and should easily reduce weight.

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    Not so much a SVO package that only 10,000 people will buy but do some things to the LT that nearly everyone buys.

    So your saying a Hopped up LT package that is just under being an SS package?

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    I really don't understand the interior is over styled statement other than the wood not looking convincing enough maybe. It is a refreshing change from the dull drab over used gray in the Camry's and the excessive black lung of the Fusion/Mazda6 etc. Replacing the turd 2.4 eAssist with the 1.6 turbo would not only save costs and complexity but would also make the car lighter and open up the trunk so it;s like the other non Eco models. It would be a win win. The rear seat issue should not be all that difficult to deal with. Just scallop out the rear seat backs a little and mount the seat up an inch or so higher for toe space.

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    Not so much a SVO package that only 10,000 people will buy but do some things to the LT that nearly everyone buys.

    So your saying a Hopped up LT package that is just under being an SS package?

    No I am saying make the LT a much more attractive package at a good value.

    The 08 LT2 I have now is a great value. I had priced a LTZ that Stickered at $31K and the dealer would only come to $28K.

    I found a LT2 Loaded less other less only the sun roof that Stickered at $27k and I was able to buy it right at $20K. It was model year end so that is part of the great discount and incentives GM offered also my GM card money. Now the LT2 came with the V6, 17" wheels and tires and nearly all you could need or want in a mid size passenger sedan.

    The fact is the Malibu is not a performance car but it is a mid sized car that needs to perform well and get good MPG. This segment is not about high performance it is about value, MPG and quality.

    Now a SS would be nice but lets face it even if they did one it would not sell in great numbers and it would be expesive.

    My hunch is since the Malibu and Regal on based on a older Opel they will get a new platform before long. The key now it to make a attractive package that would kill the others in this group price wise and still make money. GM can work deals here as if they can increase volume they will make up the profits.

    Look around at the older Malibu and how well it sold. If you take note most were 2.4 engines and LT1 or LT2 packages. Most V6 models were LTZ and a handful of LT2 with the V6 package deal GM offered.

    If you want to know what engine just count the tail pipes or note the lack of 17" wheels.

    I think a well optioned LT2-3 will be the path to the Malibu salvaging the future along with the refresh improvments.

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    I really don't understand the interior is over styled statement other than the wood not looking convincing enough maybe. It is a refreshing change from the dull drab over used gray in the Camry's and the excessive black lung of the Fusion/Mazda6 etc. Replacing the turd 2.4 eAssist with the 1.6 turbo would not only save costs and complexity but would also make the car lighter and open up the trunk so it;s like the other non Eco models. It would be a win win. The rear seat issue should not be all that difficult to deal with. Just scallop out the rear seat backs a little and mount the seat up an inch or so higher for toe space.

    ...for truth

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    Not so much a SVO package that only 10,000 people will buy but do some things to the LT that nearly everyone buys.

    disagree. some sort of sport trim could really distinguish this car. it's not like they couldn't do improvements to the other trims.

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