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2012 Chevrolet Malibu design completely revealed in patent filings?

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Filed under: Sedan, Chevrolet

malibupatent000opt.jpg
2010 Chevrolet Malibu patent drawings - Click above for high-res image gallery

Over the past nine months, we've seen the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu twice at General Motors media events that were closed to the public. On neither occasion were we allowed to take any photographs of the styling buck, but now we can finally show you what the next Malibu looks like. A General Motors filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows what is obviously an unidentified Chevrolet four-door sedan.

It retains all of the standard Chevrolet design features including the dual-port grille and four individual tail lights. Compared to the current and very well reviewed Malibu, the new car has more sculpted surfaces, especially around the corners. The chopped off tail of the current generation car is generally considered to be the weakest part of that design, and the new model addresses that area with what looks to be a much more attractive posterior.

The new Malibu will ride on the same Epsilon II platform that underpins the Buick LaCrosse and Regal. The new model will have a shorter wheelbase than the 112.3-inch span of today's car, but it's not clear if it will be as short as the 107.8-inch wheelbase of the new Buick Regal. The new Malibu will, however, be both wider and taller than the current model. The interior is also significantly upgraded with higher quality materials as GM tries to keep up with the advances of new models from Ford.

The next Malibu will probably debut in late in 2011 as a 2012 model, and we may see it in public at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. The timing of the Malibu should line up nicely with the Ford Fusion/Mondeo replacement and make for a very interesting battle in the mid-size sedan market.



[source: Carscoop]

2012 Chevrolet Malibu design completely revealed in patent filings? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Mar 2010 15:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Obviously not really fair to judge it based on these drawings, but I'm getting an E-class vibe from the profile.

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I like the new front and rear, even if its a Bangle Butt. The shorter wheelbase doesn't do the proportions any favors though, and from the side it reminds me of the Taurus.

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If there is ANY truth in those sketches about what the next Bu looks like, then GM is really f-cked. What the hell?

The new model will have a shorter wheelbase than the 112.3-inch span of today's car, but it's not clear if it will be as short as the 107.8-inch wheelbase of the new Buick Regal.

WHY? The long wheelbase of the current car is a competitive advantage. They lengthened it exactly because the previous gen, while having good interior space, gave it dorky looks because of the too short wheelbase and terrible proportions. Doesn't GM know how to effing style a midsize car and make it roomy?

The new Malibu will, however, be both wider and taller than the current model.

Right, these are major problems with the current one. So leave the wheelbase, widen the car two inches, raise the roof 2 inches and call it good, damn!

The interior is also significantly upgraded with higher quality materials

GM always says this and then they never back up their words. You can never trust them once the beancounters have their say.

Unfortunately, based on these sketches, I would say GM is screwing the pooch. The Bu better have more space than the Cruze. Apparently they are planning to make the next chevrolet XTS the car that will have space and not look stupid.

The current Malibu is inconic. I don't see anything to get excited about in this new one. DULL DULL DULL.

If I were Whitacre I would cancel this and give it an immediate redesign. The proportions on this thing are all wrong. Its like they took a Jetta or 9-3 and tried to add overhang and detail it a bit too pass off as a chevy. The current BU has nice long doors. This harkens back to the awkward door sizes of the previous gen.

I saw the Cruze this past weekend at the auto show. The Cruze looks FABULOUS in person. I'd prefer a different grille headlight setup and the rear is bland but the car proportionally is pretty good. Not this, this looks dated already. It looks like something they would have put out back in 2001.

Edited by regfootball
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If there is ANY truth in those sketches about what the next Bu looks like, then GM is really f-cked. What the hell?

WHY? The long wheelbase of the current car is a competitive advantage. They lengthened it exactly because the previous gen, while having good interior space, gave it dorky looks because of the too short wheelbase and terrible proportions. Doesn't GM know how to effing style a midsize car and make it roomy?

Right, these are major problems with the current one. So leave the wheelbase, widen the car two inches, raise the roof 2 inches and call it good, damn!

They are saving the LWB Epsilon II for the next Impala, presumably.

I'm assuming w/ NA Epsilon II based models they will follow the same pattern at Chevy that they are going with at Buick----SWB for Malibu and Regal, LWB for Impala and LaCrosse.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Obviously not really fair to judge it based on these drawings, but I'm getting an E-class vibe from the profile.

Ya, in profile the nose (lighting, bumper) reminds me of the C-class and E-class, but with the usual weak FWD proportions (long overhang, short front wheel well to door length).

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I like the Camaro style tail lights, but I don't like the Bangle-butt and it has a Regal/Insignia look to it. I see some C-class in the headlights and profile view. It could be a very good looking car, but it shouldn't look like a European car, it should look American. And I hope it doesn't look like a Regal, if it looks like a rebadge, sales of both will suffer. You'd think GM learned it's rebadging lessons by now.

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Rear-end appears to have that Bangle-Butt-like look that was discussed when the car was previewed. I wonder, though, how the Epica's replacement will look like, since we get the Epica here in Europe: will it be the Malibu with a different nameplate, or something totally different designed by GMDAT?

Edited by ZL-1
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Rear-end appears to have that Bangle-Butt-like look that was discussed when the car was previewed. I wonder, though, how the Epica's replacement will look like, since we get the Epica here in Europe: will it be the Malibu with a different nameplate, or something totally different designed by GMDAT?

I thought I've read the plan was the NG Malibu was replacing the Epica. One car, likely w/ one nameplate worldwide like they are doing w/ the Cruze.

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They are saving the LWB Epsilon II for the next Impala, presumably.

I'm assuming w/ NA Epsilon II based models they will follow the same pattern at Chevy that they are going with at Buick----SWB for Malibu and Regal, LWB for Impala and LaCrosse.

i saw the new regal at the auto show this part weekend. THERE AIN'T GONNA BE NO LEGROOM BACK THERE!

The Accord and Legacy are the packaging benchmarks in the segment. Go sit in a Legacy, front and back, and then check the sales charts and look at the sales boom for the Legacy and then you'll understand what it means in this segment. Is GM purposely dumbing down its midsize just so they can make the impala a larger fwd?

Look at Ford. The Fusion AND the Taurus both have commodious cabins. Why would GM choose to reduce cabin space in a vehicle already challenged?

Let the Regal be the scrunched midsizer.

If they get this one past Whitacre, than Whitacre should be fired too.

Edited by regfootball
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I like the Camaro style tail lights, but I don't like the Bangle-butt and it has a Regal/Insignia look to it. I see some C-class in the headlights and profile view. It could be a very good looking car, but it shouldn't look like a European car, it should look American. And I hope it doesn't look like a Regal, if it looks like a rebadge, sales of both will suffer. You'd think GM learned it's rebadging lessons by now.

you are purposely being kind?

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I wouldn't expect the Malibu to be larger than the Regal, with the Buick positioned above Malibu in terms of price and ladder position..I'd expect the Malibu to be the same size or smaller.

It sounds like once the NG Aveo, Malibu and Impala and Cruze come online, Chevy will match Ford in terms of FWD sedan lineup--

subcompact: Aveo, Fiesta

compact: Cruze, Focus

midsize: Malibu, Fusion

fullsize: Impala, Taurus

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Bryan Nesbitt must have been bummed out about the demotion so it looks like he snuck into the studio and grafted the Stratus trunk he designed on to the Saab 9-3 cage.

So apparently the Cruze and next gen Malibu will have the same Interior space. If you prefer the Cruze, then they will punish you by only giving you the choice of 140 hp motors.

If you prefer the Malibu, then they will punish you by giving you less back seat then you should get....to force you into the Impala, which if it were the G8 with a Chevy grille, would already be engineered, have plenty of room.....and be pleasantly separated from the current size malibu.

Edited by regfootball
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10 hasty minutes later......

malibupatent003b.jpg

I love it... It gives off this sweet late 1960s Malibu Chevelle vibe. Can't wait to see it in person!

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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I love it... It gives off this sweet late 1960s Malibu Chevelle vibe. Can't wait to see it in person!

Yes, like the '60s Chevelle Malibu, it has 4 wheels. Other than that, I so no resembalance.

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IMO, it's been more genericized. The current Malibu's kammback-esque tail is pretty unique, and the overall design is very clean. Not fair to judge via line drawings (sculpted areas have to be delineated), but this one looks too cluttered. I can't tell what the plan is with the taillights, I was picturing very Camaro-esque tails in the current rear fascia, and this looks... less appealing.

Looking forward to seeing it in the steel.

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To judge a car just on these drawings is crazy. There is no way you can get a complete feel for the car on these drawings. Best to be smart and judge this car once it is in sheet metal.

I do see a little Benz, Accord, BMW and Camaro here. The tail lights are the best addition.

The concept of the wider and taller will be welcomed by many as the present car feels very narrow and the extra head room will be welcomed buy those over 6 foot.

I would forget the Regal rebadge ideas as it is not going to be that way. The wheel base will be about that is shared. They also may share an engine or two and that is it.

Being shorter is not that much of an issue as the old Bu has a lot of room and to lose a little will not effect the rear with the way GM packaging. The Regal show car is not a good example of rear leg room since it dose not have production front seats. The Regal show car has over sized performance seats that would never make production.

Besides if they don't shrink the but there would not be alot of need for the new Imapala. The more space between them the better Impala sales will be.

I could see this car is set for Europe. Just look at the hood line and the pedestrian crush space of the hood. Tall hoods are now required in Europe so I would expect this to just another step in Chevy becoming a Global car company and not just a American company.

The real question is what Transformer will this one become? LOL!

Either way the smart thing to do is wait to see this in the real sheet metal and get a real feel for the design.

Even Pam Anderson make a poor stick figure and is much better in the flesh.

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Honda called and wants it's Accord's old rear doors back.

1999.jpg

malibupatent002.jpg

I really dislike that half assed upkick both cars have.

I think this car will look good in person but that design element, which is straight from the 90's, will annoy me.

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chevelle.jpg

Call me crazy, but my reasoning is the accent lines over the rear wheels and the C-Pillar/Uptick look like they are at least inspired in a small way by the Chevelle.

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Honda called and wants it's Accord's old rear doors back.

I have no earthly idea what you are referring to. Doors on modern sedans are all about interchangable across the industry as it is- none have strong identity on their own.

-- -- -- -- --

I wonder if the lack of a rear quarter pane is due to simplification, or an indicator this car is larger than a Malibu....

Edited by balthazar
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I like this. Love the 4-window greenhouse and the rear end. The front end looks similar to the current model. It looks like it will be sportier than the current car... the current car needs jazz bad.

I'd love to see this chopped into a coupe... 2.0 turbo 6 speed manual.

Edited by ocnblu
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I have no earthly idea what you are referring to. Doors on modern sedans are all about interchangable across the industry as it is- none have strong identity on their own.

-- -- -- -- --

I wonder if the lack of a rear quarter pane is due to simplification, or an indicator this car is larger than a Malibu....

Can't be. there's no way an Impala sized vehicle, even FWD would have the kind of wheelbase to overhang ratio this does.

Even the XTS has less overhang than that.

cadillac-xts-platinum-9.jpg

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