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Weekend With a 'Bu

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Posted ImageWeekend With a 'Bu
By Bob Lutz - GM Vice Chairman
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Link to Original Post on GM FastLane Blogs


One of the most important passenger car launches in recent General Motors history is nearly upon us: the all-new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu.

We’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this vehicle and we are very excited to get it out there and see how the press and the public receive it.

I had the pleasure of some Malibu driving last weekend. And, although we have a few final tweaks and improvements to make, I just feel that, if we market this vehicle properly, it should be a huge success.

I had two late builds at home for a test-drive: a base four-cylinder with a well-matched four-speed automatic transmission (there will also be an optional six-speed automatic available with the four, shortly after introduction), 16-inch steel wheels, cloth, and few accoutrements save power windows; and also a loaded LTZ V6 with two-tone all-leather interior and 3.6-liter 252-hp engine.

The four was silky-silent, had nice power delivery, a very nice ride, and a beautiful base interior… and although we haven’t announced official pricing, it will be around 20 grand, and I think it’s a great deal. I’ll let others be the judge of that, however! But, really, I came to the conclusion that, realistically, rationally, and forgetting emotions, nobody "needs" more car than that. Roomy, beautiful, refined, silent, inexpensive, but doesn't look it.

The V6 is terrific, with the 18-inch wheels and the paddle-shifter transmission. Considering its ride, handling, steering, interior, performance, silence, at a price in the mid-to-upper $20s, again unofficially, I was unable to find any hugely discernible difference to cars costing $35,000 or even $45,000. I may be overstating it (a bit) due to my excitement, but I’ll let you decide that for yourself. Honestly, I am personally very, very pleased with how this car turned out, and am quite proud of the team.

The Saturn Aura took North American Car of the Year honors last year. The Malibu is right there. Of course, that's me speaking, and I may be biased! We'll see what the media have to say. Let us know what you think… more info on the Malibu can be found at here.

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"well-matched 4-speed automatic" "optional 6-speed automatic"

:banghead:

What is it about COMPETITIVE that they can't seem to get through their skulls?

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"well-matched 4-speed automatic" "optional 6-speed automatic"

:banghead:

What is it about COMPETITIVE that they can't seem to get through their skulls?

Mated to the 4cyl? No one else has a 6-speed as an option.

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Mated to the 4cyl? No one else has a 6-speed as an option.

No, they have 5-spd's standard. Make the 6-spd standard, drop that crummy 4-spd slushbox. All it is is something for the press to pick about in road tests.

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If he's "personally pleased" with how the car turned out, I would say don't hold your FUTURE expectations too..... "high"..?

:AH-HA_wink:

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If he's "personally pleased" with how the car turned out, I would say don't hold your FUTURE expectations too..... "high"..?

:AH-HA_wink:

Given that he thinks a standard 4-spd automatic is still OK to put in a 2008 MY car, I would say you're right.

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OMG!

The Malibu V6 is forecasted to price mid-upper 20's?! I'm confused... isn't the Aura XR mid-upper 20's? I know the Malibu has a 4cyl for a base and the Aura has a 6, but I see too much overlapping here.

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No, they have 5-spd's standard. Make the 6-spd standard, drop that crummy 4-spd slushbox. All it is is something for the press to pick about in road tests.

When the Delta sedans changed from Aisin 5 speed automatics to GM speed automatics, owners and the press alike agreed it exhibited better shift characteristics.

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I don't think there is a problem with the 4-speed base. Remember, this isn't the enthusiast market. Those that don't care will get along just fine with the 4-speed. Those that do care can buy the optional 6-speed. What's wrong with that?

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I didn't realize that interior was all leather. That includes the dash I'd assume...?

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I don't think there is a problem with the 4-speed base. Remember, this isn't the enthusiast market. Those that don't care will get along just fine with the 4-speed. Those that do care can buy the optional 6-speed. What's wrong with that?

The competition offers better. Good enough isn't going to cut it.

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For some people it's all about the spec sheet & bragging rights.

For others, it's moreso about the car itself and how it performs.

>>"OMG! The Malibu V6 is forecasted to price mid-upper 20's?! I'm confused... isn't the Aura XR mid-upper 20's? I know the Malibu has a 4cyl for a base and the Aura has a 6, but I see too much overlapping here. "<<

If GM NEVER has overlapping price points for similar cars, they will be down to what; about 6 cars total??

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Considering its ride, handling, steering, interior, performance, silence, at a price in the mid-to-upper $20s, again unofficially, I was unable to find any hugely discernible difference to cars costing $35,000 or even $45,000.

...cars like the CTS?

The Malibu does seem like a competitive midsize family sedan, but based on the LTZ model I checked out, there's no way the interior passes for a $35K car. And that's fine, since it isn't a $35K car.

If I remember correctly, Lutz said the new VUE was "easily comparable" to the X5 and "far superior" to the X3 in terms of ride and handling.

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I didn't realize that interior was all leather. That includes the dash I'd assume...?

No, it doesn't. There's none on the door panels either. It's just seating surfaces, steering wheel, and gear lever, IIRC.

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I dunno- doesn't a bmw 328i convert go for over $40K+? I was looking in one Saturday and the interior looked extremely mediocre with some off fit-n-finish issues and horrible fake grayish plood. I don't remember any pleather on the doors there, either (dashtop was plastic). Guess Helmut Panke is a tad bit senile, too.

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I think everyone agrees on the 6-speed. This should be introduced right out of the gate when this car is launched, that way all the media can't have any arsenal to fire on this car with. Drop the 4-speeds already!!!!

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Sadly, the 4 speed model is probably geared more toward fleet sales. Hopefully that isn't the case. I was beginning to think GM had figured out that if you only sell your old, stripped down, outdated POS's to the daily rental fleets that consumers who's only recent GM driving experience was in a rental car would think all their vehicles are old, outdated, POS's. :(

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I dunno- doesn't a BMW 328i convert go for over $40K+? I was looking in one Saturday and the interior looked extremely mediocre with some off fit-n-finish issues and horrible fake grayish plood. I don't remember any pleather on the doors there, either (dashtop was plastic). Guess Helmut Panke is a tad bit senile, too.

You were probably looking at a G6 cabrio... :AH-HA_wink:

... cause the 3's wood is real, there's leather on the doors, and like the Malibu's, its interior is competitive with others in its class. All I said was that Lutz is exaggerating when comparing the Malibu to a luxury car, OK? I thought that would be helpful as many have not experienced the new 'Bu firsthand.

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Avis won't care if it's a 4 or 6 speed...

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You were probably looking at a G6 cabrio... :AH-HA_wink:

Nope; the same 40-yr old pig nostril grille was on it, plain as day. :AH-HA_wink:

... cause the 3's wood is real, there's leather on the doors, and like the Malibu's, its interior is competitive with others in its class.

Then why doesn't the 'wood' LOOK real?? Why was it shiny-smooth like plastic and had a drab grey overtone like the dye went bad? The small oval of material on the upper doors, surrounded by plastic, was real leather?? Amazing job at making it look like plastic even from the distance of leaning over the window (top down). Earns a big fat 'Meh' from me.
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