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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Dealers: Chevrolet Malibu Eco Difficult To Sell

    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    February 2, 2013

    Read any review of the Chevrolet Malibu Eco and most, if not all will say the mild hybrid system used doesn’t provide enough improvement in the fuel economy to justify the price. Chevrolet dealers are saying the same thing with consumers skipping over the Eco model.

    "For most people, it's hard to justify the extra money based on the extra fuel economy of a combined 3 mpg more than the base model. You've got the base LS model sitting next to it that's just as nice and luxurious," said Jeff Tuckman, inventory manager at Castle Chevrolet in suburban Chicago.

    Another Chevrolet dealer in New Jersey puts it more bluntly.

    "The fuel economy difference from the other models isn't so great that buyers are saying, 'I'll choose a smaller trunk and pay more money.'"

    This isn’t good news for General Motors. The company is making a big bet with mild hybrids, known as eAssist. Last year, GM set an ambitious goal of selling 500,000 electrified vehicles by 2017; the vast majority being mild hybrids.

    GM says the take rate for the Malibu Eco is 8% of total Malibu sales, below the initial forecast of 10%.

    "Getting the consumer to embrace the incremental gains in fuel efficiency from the mild-hybrid system can be problematic given all the improvements that have been made" on regular gasoline engines. I think GM knows they've got to improve" eAssist's mpg numbers,” sid Alan Baum, a Detroit-area automotive analyst who tracks electrified vehicle sales.

    Source: Autoweek

    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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    For the price and performance the Eco Cruze is a much better choice. It strikes the best balance between price and economy.

    I expect anyone looking for better MPG and a Chevy just buy the Cruze as It really does hit over 50 MPG on the highway and is not bad around town. It may not be a rocket but you can get on the freeway without holding your breath you might be run over.

    I think Chevy would be best to make the BU get the best MPG it can get with what it has and just worry about gettng all the details right to make it best in class.

    Also with the Verano around if MPG was a factor it would even be a good or better option.

    As for the mild hybrids if people buy them good but if I were given the choice I would pass. The few MPG is not worth the hassle of the smaller trunk and possible expensive repairs later on. I keep cars too long to not consider this. Now if you lease or trade often that would not be a factor.

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    Discount these lame egg's and sell them off, dump the eek Assist and put in the Duramax Diesel 2.6L and have a good night of High Mileage with decent tourque. Want performance, then drop the MPG just a bit by going with the 2.9L duramax system.

    If you want a hybrid system, then start putting the VOLT into a wide range of auto's and enjoy the true GM Version of the Prius family. No reason you cannot have a VOLT 4 door car, Station wagon, Minivan and CUV AWD based on the VOLT system.

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    What is strange to me is that this powertrain setup is perfectly reasonable in a base Buick Lacrosse yet is somehow woefully inadequate in the Malibu.

    I know.. I've been trying to figure how the LaCrosse eAssist is decent and the Malibu Eco is terrible.

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    eAssist isn't horrible; it's just that most of its full-hybrid competitors are way more efficient and no more expensive.

    but why is eAssist performing in different ways in different vehicles? especially in a counter intuitive way (better performance in a larger vehicle)

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    Just discontinue it...

    The Prius set is going to buy Priuses and/or upgrade to Teslas if and when they can afford it. People who actually care about financial benefits of fuel economy is not going to spend money on Hybrids that don't pay back their investment during the period they own the car.

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    GM "bet big" on mild hybrids that also flopped with past Malibus and the Saturn "Green Line" vehicles.

    The reason Malibu mild hybrid sucks and LaCrosse doesn't (as much) is because the Verano doesn't come close to the mpg of the Cruze. LaCrosse does not have a barely-smaller, cheaper car embarrassing its mpg and trunk volume sitting next to it in the showroom.

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