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Malibu Report: 6 months after launch

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From GM Media:

DETROIT – It’s been approximately six months since Chevrolet’s redesigned Malibu was launched. In that time, it has received critical acclaim – including being named 2008 North American Car of the Year – and numerous recommendations by consumer groups.

More importantly, the new Malibu is resonating with customers. In only the first quarter of 2008, market share is up 1.3 points over the same period in ’07. Much of that growth is due to retail sales, which increased 110 percent during the first three months of the year, with three large, import-heavy states showing dramatic growth:

* Florida sales are up 91 percent

* New York sales are up 135 percent

* California sales have leaped 186 percent

In fact, some dealers are reporting retail sales increases of nearly 1,000 percent over 2007 Malibu sales.

“The new Malibu is the car Americans have wanted from Chevrolet,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “Its combination of amenities and value are at the core of Chevrolet’s philosophy, but the Malibu brings them together in a drop-dead gorgeous design that makes it a must-have car.”

Malibu customers are demanding more uplevel models, reflecting buyers with higher household incomes than the previous model. Many of those new customers are bringing in a non-GM vehicle to trade, too: More than 40 percent of trade-ins are non-GM vehicles and among them, the number-one trade-in is a Toyota Camry.

Efficient performer

A variety of efficient powertrain combinations gives Malibu customers choices that all return excellent fuel economy, including a new four-cylinder/six-speed automatic transmission combination that was recently added to the lineup. It uses the powerful 2.4L Ecotec engine paired with a specially calibrated six-speed automatic to deliver EPA-estimated mileage of 22 in the city and 32 on the highway. That’s better highway mileage than Accord or Camry.

Also available is the Malibu Hybrid. It is the most affordable hybrid version of a midsize sedan in the market, delivering 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, without having the highest price tag.

Safety performance

When it comes to safety, the Malibu is an impressive performer. It earned the government’s highest possible NCAP crash safety rating: 5 stars. That means the Malibu scored 5-star ratings for driver and front passenger in frontal crash testing; and 5-star ratings for front and rear seating positions in the side-impact crash test.

The Malibu’s roster of standard and available safety features includes:

* Dual-stage frontal air bags with GM Passenger Sensing System

* Head curtain side-impact air bags (front and rear outboard seats)

* Front seat-mounted driver and front thorax air bags for side impact protection

* Front safety belt pretensioners

* LATCH child safety seat anchors

* Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS

* Traction control

* StabiliTrak stability control system with panic brake assistance (LT and LTZ)

* Tire pressure monitoring system

All Malibu models come standard with OnStar 8.0, which features advanced automatic crash notification.

Intangible qualities

Efficient performance and a long list of safety features fulfill important consideration points that customers place on all new cars, but the Malibu also delivers with a package of details and qualities that are difficult to quantify. From an exceptionally quiet driving experience to upscale interior lighting, the Malibu conveys the feeling of a more expensive car. Additionally, details such as standard XM Satellite Radio, remote vehicle starting and even a household-style rear-seat power center are features uncommon in the segment.

“We couldn’t be happier with the Malibu’s enthusiastic reception in the market so far, but we’re hardly resting on our laurels because the competition is fierce,” said Peper. “We will continue to improve the car to strengthen its leadership position and help make Chevrolet the best car brand in the business.”

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Quite an impressive start, I would say. I look for the Malibu to have some great sales in the summer months.

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Also available is the Malibu Hybrid. It is the most affordable hybrid version of a midsize sedan in the market, delivering 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, without having the highest price tag.

Wow, what a jumble of words. Sounds like they hired someone from Toyota to put that line together.

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Good news let see 300K get sold this year. That is what I am hoping for.

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I was talking to a guy I met here in my complex. He is the VERY typical anti-Detroit consumer and drives a shiny red Prius everyday.

He noticed my Pontiac bracelet and started talking cars with me. I thought, oh god, this guy won't be my friend in about 5 minutes. he actually started telling me about how much he loves the new Malibu and Aura and could definitely see himself buying one of those if he were on the market.

I was very happy :D

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I'm wondering what this successful launch really is doing within GM and what team is winning the argument on where to go with the next generation of thier car strategy, namely impala, which now is going to look more and more like a fleet queen. malibu will likely end up with fleet sales in the 15-20% range, which will in turn heighten resale and hopefully GM gets the point on how to protect thier models' value and their consumers' best interests, rather than whoring them out for the sake of volume and screwing the consumers over.

when i see this report the first thing that comes to mind is how those percentage increases reflect on the last model's sales. 1000 percent increase at one dealership could and most likely means the current one is selling like 30 units, maybe, per month and the last one was selling only 3 :o this doesn't reflect poorly on the current model's sales, it's obviously doing well, but with these kinds of press releases, meant to built up hype, there's always more than thier telling us.

the retail sales increases as well in the three states they outlined are fantastic, this is what chevy's bread and butter car should be doing in these states. even more. the new malibu, i'm starting to see it a lot, and that is definitely representative of those percentage increases seen in this report. i see it mostly with dealer plates, though there's maybe like a 30% mix of fleets, from my observations, and this is good since Cali is tourist driven and there's lots of rental impalas everywhere.

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Improvements needed in the current Malibu:

1) Rear seat armrest

2) Overhead assist handles

3) Larger trunk opening

4) More fuel efficient V6

5) No more price increases as the Malibu is now base lined at well over 20K

6) Get rid of the dreadful electric power steering on 4 banger models.

7) Dual zone climate controls on LTZ models

8) Leather steering wheel, fog lamps, rear spoiler need to be offered on lower end LT1 models

9) Revised interior color options on LTZ versions

10) More HP on 2.4 in the 175-180 ballpark to match Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonota

Are you listening Me Peper. Do at least some of these things and the Malibu will be a non excuses mid size world beater.

Edited by ponchoman49
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10) More HP on 2.4 in the 175-180 ballpark to match Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonota

that would probably take away Malibu's "most efficient mid-sized" status.

Rather than a more efficient V6, I'd like to see a more powerful 4-cylinder as an additional option. Chevy should continue to offer the current base 4-cylinder all the way up the model line to the LTZ.

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Not to dampen the enthusiasm, but it's exactly these type of press pieces that get destroyed on this board when they're Toyota's...I'll take everyone's positive reaction as a sign there will no longer be that double standard? :)

"bu is great, no doubt. If GM can keep the ship afloat, produce new equally good product & keep up with the cadence necessary to keep product fresh, they may actually come back...

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Malibus are still hard to get around here - and I doubt the Fairfax strike is going to improve things. <_<

Our first ever LT2 6 cylinder actually made it to the lot (all others were pre-sold, because that is the only way we could get them). Our first 'hybrid' (I dislike using that term) is also on the lot - finally.

Let me see, off the top of my head, the trades I have seen:

1. '00 Intrigue for a LT2 3.6

2. '97 Grand Prix for LT2 2.4

3. '04 Malibu for LS

4. ancient Intrepid for LT1

That's all I can think of. My 4 month exile from GM has me playing catch up. I have had many import humpers LOOK at the Malibu and make complimentary noises, but since GM has deigned to charge $3,500 MORE for the Malibu here than in the Excited States, our prices are much closer to the 4 banger Accords and Camry: that isn't going to be enough to convince an import humper to make the jump even if they do like the Malibu more.

Until GM stops playing games with the $C, I doubt things will change. Hello 12% market share!

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that would probably take away Malibu's "most efficient mid-sized" status.

Rather than a more efficient V6, I'd like to see a more powerful 4-cylinder as an additional option. Chevy should continue to offer the current base 4-cylinder all the way up the model line to the LTZ.

maybe 2.0L turbo when the 3.6L gets DI?

or replace the 2.4L with a 2.2 DI ?

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Malibus are still hard to get around here - and I doubt the Fairfax strike is going to improve things. <_<

Our first ever LT2 6 cylinder actually made it to the lot (all others were pre-sold, because that is the only way we could get them). Our first 'hybrid' (I dislike using that term) is also on the lot - finally.

Let me see, off the top of my head, the trades I have seen:

1. '00 Intrigue for a LT2 3.6

2. '97 Grand Prix for LT2 2.4

3. '04 Malibu for LS

4. ancient Intrepid for LT1

That's all I can think of. My 4 month exile from GM has me playing catch up. I have had many import humpers LOOK at the Malibu and make complimentary noises, but since GM has deigned to charge $3,500 MORE for the Malibu here than in the Excited States, our prices are much closer to the 4 banger Accords and Camry: that isn't going to be enough to convince an import humper to make the jump even if they do like the Malibu more.

Until GM stops playing games with the $C, I doubt things will change. Hello 12% market share!

Doesn't GM sell the Epcia in Canada too and don't they compete in the same segment?

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Not to dampen the enthusiasm, but it's exactly these type of press pieces that get destroyed on this board when they're Toyota's...I'll take everyone's positive reaction as a sign there will no longer be that double standard? :)

"bu is great, no doubt. If GM can keep the ship afloat, produce new equally good product & keep up with the cadence necessary to keep product fresh, they may actually come back...

:huh: I don't see a single "Best ____ EVAR@!!!!!" in this article at all.....

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:huh: I don't see a single "Best ____ EVAR@!!!!!" in this article at all.....

thats cause the malibu's sales records are 40 years old... not gonna happen

and this is gm, not toyota

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that would probably take away Malibu's "most efficient mid-sized" status.

Rather than a more efficient V6, I'd like to see a more powerful 4-cylinder as an additional option. Chevy should continue to offer the current base 4-cylinder all the way up the model line to the LTZ.

or maybe throw a 5 or 6 speed manual at it. not only would that help fuel economy numbers, but it would increase the marketability of the car

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or maybe throw a 5 or 6 speed manual at it. not only would that help fuel economy numbers, but it would increase the marketability of the car

Yes! With a manual, I would consider a Malibu, four doors or not. The transmission is my most important option.

Coupled to a 4 cylinder or even a light pressure turbo four, the mileage would definitely be improved, and it would appeal to slightly more enthusiast types that like to shift such as myself.

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Doesn't GM sell the Epcia in Canada too and don't they compete in the same segment?

No, the Epica is gone and good riddance, I say. What braniac launched that vehicle the same time as the last generation Malibu? I sold a ton of Epicas when they first came out, but most salespeople were too lazy and just sold the Malibu because people recognized the name. If GM could have squeaked a few more ponies out of that in-line 6 and stepped up the reliablity a little, that car would have been a smash. When we saw it in October '03, we were all impressed as hell. But now it's gone. I've had several customers thrilled at how much they love their Epica, and I've had others want to get out of it a few months after picking it up. Wierd.

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And all the sales in the will be hurt when these greedy plant workers give GM the finger and halt the lines at the plants these cars are coming out of. Thanks alot guys, GM comes out with a clear winner and you want to F-it up for them. The Malibu is actually one of the next cars I'm considering too. Time to dump my truck!

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Improvements needed in the current Malibu:

1) Rear seat armrest

2) Overhead assist handles

3) Larger trunk opening

4) More fuel efficient V6

5) No more price increases as the Malibu is now base lined at well over 20K

6) Get rid of the dreadful electric power steering on 4 banger models.

7) Dual zone climate controls on LTZ models

8) Leather steering wheel, fog lamps, rear spoiler need to be offered on lower end LT1 models

9) Revised interior color options on LTZ versions

10) More HP on 2.4 in the 175-180 ballpark to match Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonota

Are you listening Me Peper. Do at least some of these things and the Malibu will be a non excuses mid size world beater.

Spot On!

I would add following.

1. Navigation System.

2. Put 6-speed in all 4 banger models. GM do not put cover on consumer's eyes by saying 24-32 for all Malibus, it is only for 4-cyl - 6-sp combo.

or maybe throw a 5 or 6 speed manual at it. not only would that help fuel economy numbers, but it would increase the marketability of the car

Yeah at least put one in the four cylinder.

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2. Put 6-speed in all 4 banger models. GM do not put cover on consumer's eyes by saying 24-32 for all Malibus, it is only for 4-cyl - 6-sp combo.

that starts in the 2009 model year

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Malibus are still hard to get around here - and I doubt the Fairfax strike is going to improve things. <_<

Our first ever LT2 6 cylinder actually made it to the lot (all others were pre-sold, because that is the only way we could get them). Our first 'hybrid' (I dislike using that term) is also on the lot - finally.

Let me see, off the top of my head, the trades I have seen:

1. '00 Intrigue for a LT2 3.6

2. '97 Grand Prix for LT2 2.4

3. '04 Malibu for LS

4. ancient Intrepid for LT1

That's all I can think of. My 4 month exile from GM has me playing catch up. I have had many import humpers LOOK at the Malibu and make complimentary noises, but since GM has deigned to charge $3,500 MORE for the Malibu here than in the Excited States, our prices are much closer to the 4 banger Accords and Camry: that isn't going to be enough to convince an import humper to make the jump even if they do like the Malibu more.

Until GM stops playing games with the $C, I doubt things will change. Hello 12% market share!

Quit being such a damned reality addict...(Just kidding, but it saddens me to know that you are right.)

Chris

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