By on October 5, 2011

Like the Chevrolet Cruze before it, the new Malibu was supposed to debut in Korea (probably as a Daewoo) a good year before it arrived in the US. But a few things have changed in GM’s relationship with its Korean unit, no longer called Daewoo but GM Korea. The Daewoo brand is gone, for one, replaced by the Chevrolet bowtie. And with Bob Lutz’s blessing, GM CEO Dan Akerson pulled forward the US Malibu launch by some six months, which means we should be getting it in the first quarter next year.

And though the possibility of a simultaneous global launch is still out of reach (video of the Korean launch can be found here), this model is a key element in GM’s globalizing effort, replacing not only the US Malibu, but also the Daewoo Tosca (a.k.a Chevy/Holden Epica). We knew GM has way too many architectures across its global lineup, but were you aware that the Tosca/Epica had optional Porsche-designed transverse straight-six engines, in 2.0 and 2.5 liter configurations? Neither did I. But with the new Malibu, it’s straight-up-and-down GM: the Epsilon II platform, with 2.0 or 2.4 Ecotec engines (in Korea, anyway… an all-new 2.5 liter engine is on tap fro the US). We may be quick with the Daewoo jokes, but this new Malibu is doubtless making the automotive world a much smaller, more homogenous place. Welcome to the future… [Hat Tip to our man in Korea, Walter Foreman}

 

 

 

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93 Comments on “As The World Shrinks: 2013 Chevy Malibu Debuts In Korea...”


  • avatar
    Marko

    Definitely more evolutionary that revolutionary, but since the 2008-present Malibu was so well received, they probably didn’t want to stray from the formula.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’d hazard they strayed a little too far. The current car is arguably the most attractive in it’s class, while this seems a little fussy, especially at the rear.

      • 0 avatar
        vbofw

        This is officially the first time I’ve read the words “attractive” and “Malibu” near each other. It’s not ugly, but it’s certainly not attractive, and looked outdated really quickly.

        I can never get over that el-cheapo looking steering wheel (with the plastic circle dead-center) in the current version.

        This looks like a nice upgrade. The en-vogue muscular shoulders. And the interior has some queues from Buick like a small piece of leather dash.

        is that a shift rocker switch I spot ala the Focus?

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        I have to agree. The current Malibu is the most handsome in its class. Our neighbor’s white Malibu with chrome polished wheels is very attractive especially from the side. They are going from a formal to a casual/aggressive look for 2013. If the Cruze is any indication, this should ascend the sales charts pretty quickly and in about 2 to 3 years Chevy will rule this segment on a consistent basis.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TOaH951jdM

        For 2013, they seem to have built on the positives.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The current car is arguably the most attractive in it’s class, while this seems a little fussy, especially at the rear.

        Between the taillight treatment and the gauge binnacles, it seems that they’re trying to spread a bit of the Camaro DNA around. (Personally, I’m fine with the former, but can’t stand the latter; the Camaro interior is underwhelming at best.)

        The interior doesn’t show well in these photos, but that may be due to poor photography. (Too much flash, maybe?) The exterior is competitive, and evolutionary enough to make sense.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Between the taillight treatment and the gauge binnacles, it seems that they’re trying to spread a bit of the Camaro DNA around

        I would agree. There’s precedent for this at GM—recall the Corvette-inspired taillights (their words, not mine) in the 2000 Impala and Cobalt Coupe?

        Personally, I don’t like the idea of grafting design kinks (or “whoring out the halo car”) from one car onto another.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t like the idea of grafting design kinks (or “whoring out the halo car”) from one car onto another.

        For the sake of branding, vehicles that share a marque should also share some common styling cues.

        But this is usually accomplished these days by having similar front grilles, since those represent the “face” of the car. The problem with the Camaro (and the Mustang and the Challenger) is that as retro vehicles, these obvious styling cues can’t be shared with the rest of their siblings.

        That limits their usefulness as halo cars, since it is difficult to create a linkage between them and the other cars that carry their respective badges. I have my doubts that love for the Camaro is going to sell very many Malibus, which should be the end game here.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        For the sake of branding, vehicles that share a marque should also share some common styling cues.

        And that’s fair: the Cruze, Malibu and Impala should look similar. None of them should try too hard to look like the Sierra, Corvette or Camaro because there’s body differences that are hard to reconcile.

        I don’t mean to pick on GM, because it didn’t work when Honda slapped the Ridgeline’s grille on the Accord, nor Ford when they tried to shrink three-bar onto the Focus. And then you have the Infiniti QX.

        You’re right about retro/halo vehicles not being able to share much, stylistically, with their mundane brethren. I’d posit that halo cars don’t “work” anymore anyway, and that the few people who might venture into a GM showroom to look at a Corvette and come out with an Impala weren’t going to buy a Taurus or Camry in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The outgoing Malibu (with the Optima) has the best greenhouse, but the front and rear fascias look “unfinished.”

        Unfortunately, while the new front design is more polished (don’t think the Camro styled taillights really work on the Malibu), GM designers have gotten rid of the greenhouse for a more generic design.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Partially agree with vbofw. I agree with others that describe the current Malibu as handsome, and in LTZ trim and the large polished rims it does catch the eye.

        I had a Malibu LTZ as a rental in very late 2008 and was stunned at how good it was. If I had been in the market for a people hauler, I would have considered it.

        I just had a 2011 Malibu LT as a rental and put 2.5K miles on it. I get I’m comparing LT to LTZ trim, but this is where I agree with vbofw. The car has not aged well. It felt dated already inside and out, as the other segment has moved far ahead.

        The 2013 refresh can’t get here fast enough. Hoping that the ECOTEC 2.0L Turbo-4 in one flavor or another finds it way into the North American 2013 ‘bu.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Evolutionary, for sure. Still wishing for a Maxx variant to come back. Oh well…

      More info from Motor Trend:

      http://tinyurl.com/3at7fhm

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        More stuff on the Eco version from Motor Trend: http://tinyurl.com/3ldvn2a

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “…Still wishing for a Maxx variant to come back.”

        Ha ha ha! Quote of the day!

        My wife and I did like the Malibu Maxx a great deal. Thought it was a cool idea.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        GM has to stop being stupid and make a damn family wagon out of this car. Maxx? Nah – how about a new Kingswood?

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Zackman: I still wish I’d hung on to mine.

        Live and burn.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The Maxx was a good idea on paper poorly executed on a lousy chassis with outdated engine and tranny technology. I love hatchbacks, and I always liked the look of the Maxx SS…it was the only one, especially in the blue that would catch my eye on the Interstate.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Hypnotoad: I would say that the Maxx had a very limited constituency. There’s really no market apparently for anything but the smallest hatchbacks, so a midsized one was a bit of a hard sell for average person. I leased an LT for three years and recently drove a (used) SS version.

        The LT had the handling of an average mom-mobile, understeering it’s way to safety. The SS version had a bit more grunt, but with the larger wheels & tires, it took longer to understeer it’s way to safety. The chassis was tuned for average drivers, not former F1 pilots.

        There was nothing wrong with the drivetrain a six speed autobox couldn’t fix. The 3.5 was perfectly adequate for the Maxx’s intended purpose. The 3.9 with a six speed should have been in the Maxx SS.

        Of course, the Maxx SS version was the reason for the “real SS” mandate…

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        Shouldn’t be that hard to make if GM wants to. The Insignia has a 5-door hatchback version, quite sharp looking too. Since the Malibu is based on the insignia, it shouldn’t be that hard to make a 5-door hatchback Malibu. Would it sell is another problem.

        I personally think the Insignia Sports Tourer makes better argument as a Malibu variant.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Behold: the mild-mannered spawn of a Camry and a LaCrosse.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Still ‘way better-looking than any Camry or Accord. Let’s see how it holds up – I’ve heard of no serious issues with the current generation.

    Globalization: Embrace it, Love it. Accept it. Thrive on it. I finally realize, after all these years, I love big brother!

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Not bad, sort of a Chevy Cruze XL. How much horsepower is the 2.5 supposed to make? Any chance of a supercharged 4cyl SS version?

    FWIW I wonder about the size of those girls, they make the car look like a Cadillac DTS.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      How much horsepower is the 2.5 supposed to make?
      190hp@6200, 180lb-ft@4500, fuel cutoff @ 7000. No published power curve yet AFAIK.

      Any chance of a supercharged 4cyl SS version?
      0% chance of a supercharged SS.

      They might make a turbo SS version using a higher output version of the 2.0t, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  • avatar

    Not sure about the 2.5, but the KDM 2.4 is rated at 170/5,800 with fuel econom of 28 mpg (combined) on the Korean cycle. Curb weight is around 3,500 lbs.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    …….gonna be hard coming up with a nickname for that generic bowtie grille, but I’m sure somebody’s up to the task.

  • avatar

    The current car’s exterior is more elegant to my eye. I’m a bit surprised by the new one. Auto writers who saw the 2013 at an early preview a couple of years ago claimed that it was stunning. This isn’t stunning.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Champagne wishes and caviar dreams?

      On the other hand, a couple of years ago Chevy styling was represented by such gems as the Cobalt and the old Equinox.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      If by “stunning” you mean “overstyled”, then yes. There’s lots of Lutzism in this design: big, brash art-deco-car hood and beltline, Caramoish tail, angry maw.

      I can see “car guys” liking this.

    • 0 avatar

      No, it’s not stunning, and I was thinking the same thing about the comments from the preview. I mean, it’s fine, not old-GM-awful, no worse than the Camry and Accord, and it should do well if the interior’s up to snuff. But the current Fusion still looks a lot nicer to me, and I expected GM to do something more dramatic here.

    • 0 avatar

      Next to the Optima, this is the most attractive family sedan on the market. Current ugly ducklings: Accord, Altima.

      And the Sonata will not age well. It is the very definition of overstyled.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “were you aware that the Tosca/Epica had optional Porsche-designed transverse straight-six engines, in 2.0 and 2.5 liter configurations?”

    Yep. That engine was the sole reason to be aware of the existence of the Daewoo Leganza.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      The Leganza – a car that most of us would rather forget. Daewoo could brag about its “Porsche-designed” engine and “designed by Giugiaro” styling all it wanted, but neither of those made it a good car.

  • avatar
    the duke

    That I6 was also sold in the states in the Suzuki Verona, a rebadged Daewoo Magnus.

  • avatar
    denster2u

    I thought the infamous “Bangle Butt” introduced by BMW last decade fell out of fashion a few years ago. Now it makes an unwelcome return on the 2013 Malibu. The current Malibu is very clean, tight, and original. I think this is a step back and very derivative.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I really like the current Malibu but its design has some quirks, it looks very long and the taillights look strange. This one has a more cohesive and athletic shape to my eye although the grill is ginormous.

    Will a V6 be available with this car?

    Finally what’s up with that weird stitched “hat” above the instrument panel on the dash? That is an odd design affectation that mars a clean interior. Maybe it’s not that noticeable when in the car.

    I like.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Will a V6 be available with this car?

      As my 4 year old niece would say: “NOPE.”

      GM is pulling a Hyundai with this one. That’s either a brilliant move or a really stupid one.

      • 0 avatar
        tced2

        The lack of a V6 is no doubt due to the looming CAFE rules from the auto engineer-in-chief and his minions at the EPA.

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        @tced2,

        Agreed. I think the CAFE rules will eventually spell the end of V6 engines in family sedans and small SUVs. From what I hear, the new 2013 Accord will still have a V6, which makes sense in that Honda doesn’t need the CAFE credits.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      No V6. The only glimmer of hope for a spirited version would be to follow in Hyundai’s footprints and go with the 2.0L DI turbo-4 in its 225 or 260 HP configuration. It’s a great little engine that produces obscene amounts of torque. It does suffer from a touch of turbo lag. Asking for a manual version is asking for way, way, WAY, too much.

  • avatar

    This could not happen a moment too soon. The current Chrysler 200 is clearly at this moment a better car than the Malibu. I know because I have droven both.

    The 200(Sebring) is easily the most improved car of 2011.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    GM is known as “Government Motors”, U.S taxpayers having bailed them out because of their importance as an American company. Mid-size cars and the Malibu name is about as American as they get. So why is this debuted first in Korea, designed mostly in Korea? I can understand GM relegating design of small cars to Korea, given its historic incompetence in the matter. But now midsize cars too? WHat is GM of America responsible for, then? Just trucks? I think given that they got taxpayers bailout and their status as American company, they’re going too far. What next, Cadillac made in Korea? If it’s Americans that are so uncompetitive, why is foreign companies like Toyota and VW building factories here, having engineering and design offices here? It’s shameful a taxpayer-owned companies so eager to export jobs overseas. Soon GM will be less an American company than Toyota. The only job they seem to eager to keep in the U.S. is the executive jobs, though given how incompetent their executive talents are, I think that might be one they should consider outsourcing overseas.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      It’s a “feature’ of being a second-tier country in the auto business. I think much of the Cadillac engineering is still done in the US – the Malibu was mostly done at Opel (in Germany) and at the former Daewoo (in Korea).

      Another brand uses the tagline “the things we make – make us”. In this case we don’t make (engineer) the important parts of the Malibu – other countries do.

    • 0 avatar
      tikki50

      actually I think its a real smart idea. Have your inital car launches like this out of the USA, so that all the bugs can be worked out before introducing it to the US market. Call it a test market. They did the same with the cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Without getting into a mud-slinging match over your opinions of the ‘bail out,’ how can you fault GM for capitalizing on its foreign acquisitions? It’s sink or swim.
      What has happened is that the U.S. is no longer the center of the Universe, auto-wise. China is larger and the Eurozone is the same size. I’m not thrilled with recent developments, either, but in order for GM to survive, it has to use its global resources.
      Hyundai/Kia have Korea as a protected market. The Japanese 5 control Japan as their base of operations. Detroit has been ground zero for 30 years. Since America was the largest market for 100 years, there was a giant bulls-eye painted on the city of Detroit.
      It’s about time GM started using its strengths from Holden, Opel, GM-DAT, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        I just think that GM seem too eager to waving a foreign flag, given that it’s a quintessentially American company, and happily took U.S. taxpayer money too. Though if it does result in a better, more successful car, it’s hard to fault.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        I apologize if this has been beaten to death on these pages already, but if the banks hadn’t gone bust first, GM might have been able to borrow $30B or so in 2008 to weather that perfect storm that came. Ford got lucky and hocked the family jewels, literally, before the gates of Hell opened.
        I’m not saying GM was in fine shape before 2008, but anger should be heaped upon WallStreet (like today, for example!) The banks couldn’t lend GM money because they had no money!
        Why Washington structured the guarantees as stock equity is beyond me. Chrysler got an old fashion loan back in ’81 and paid it back years early.
        The terms of the deal are Bush’s fault. You can’t fault GM for taking it.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    This is a shiny new wrapper on a standard old cheeseburger. Debating how pretty or shiny the wrapper is, isn’t the challenge.

    Chevrolet’s challenge has nothing to do with putting out an ugly car. Over the decade, Chevrolet’s cars have not been ugly, yet they have suffered tremendous market slide.

    Chevy had the low end of the auto market all to itself for a very long time. Instead of worrying about Ford and Plymouth, or Honda, Toyota or Nissan, they now have to contend with Hyundai and Kia. Traditional Chevy buyers are trying out the latest offerings in their market, not what they used to drive in high school.

    This market stopped shopping at Sears a long time ago. They stopped working in unions. They stopped pretending that a high school diploma would open doors to a lifelong career. They stopped thinking that a father works in an assembly plant while mother tends house. The world where Chevrolet dominated the low end of the car market is as obsolete as a typewriter.

    When you have been a success too long, you forget why you are a success. Chevrolet has been searching for a reason to tell auto buyers to select their cars after they’ve spent decades with their cars. McDonalds still sells the same cheeseburgers that made them famous. Putting those cheeseburgers in new tissue won’t sell more of them.

    Chevy got big by offering an Bel Air AND then offering a Corvette. Then they offered a Bel Air AND an Impala AND a Corvette. Then they offered an Impala AND a Caprice AND a Corvette AND a Corvair. Then they offered a Caprice AND a Chevelle AND a Corvette AND a Corvair. You see, just because you rewrap the hamburgers, doesn’t mean you stop offering new stuff.

    So this Malibu is just a cheeseburger in a new wrapper. Making it more profitable to assemble is a good thing. But Chevrolet will not beat Hyundai and Kia by offering this alone. Chevrolet needs to offer NEW IDEA VEHICLES along with the Malibu.

    Ever since GM stopped offering something new to refocus on what it the market just assumed they knew how to do, GM has gone downhill.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      “New Idea Vehicles” – isn’t the Volt the first of its kind for GM? Isn’t the Sonic much improved over its lousy predecessor?

      But you have a good point.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Nah – the Sonic is just the Aveo with a new wrapper.

        The Volt is new, but isn’t what the Chevrolet market would be naturally interested in, especially at that price.

        Chevrolet needs a new minivan.
        It needs a new sub-$30,000 two seater commuter sports car.
        It needs a new compact truck.

        Chevrolet needs to redefine what it means to be an Average Joe in 2012 when it comes to auto transportation.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Chevrolet needs a new minivan.

        What?!?!?!?!

    • 0 avatar

      You make a good point. But right now, GM’s resources are focused on getting its bread-and-butter products up to par — as they should be. Product development was cut down to nothing during GM’s death spiral, and they lost a lot of ground to, well, everybody. GM would surely benefit from a ground-breaking gesture, but to be able to fund that sort of thing, they need to take care of basics. That means (among many other things) having a bread-and-butter Malibu that’s competitive with the class leaders — which are, right now, cars like the Sonata, the Camry, and the Fusion. If this car is good enough to be in the conversation with those three, GM will have done what it needs to do here. One step at a time.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        The Malibu wasn’t suffering because of any Camry, Sonata or Fusion comparisons – it was suffering because the Malibu didn’t offer anything different from Camry, Sonata or Fusion.

        Me too won’t cut it unless GM intends to undersell everyone by thousands of dollars so that the price sells their cars.

        If Chevy respected the people who bought their cars, they would be tailoring their cars to the people who buy their cars. Instead we get this ridiculous attempt not to call them “Chevy”. We get this ridiculous attempt to ignor the hair dressers, fork lift drivers, and mobile park crowds who get respect from Hyundai and Kia.

        Sometimes management forgets that the people who buy their products are just as smart as they. When management earns as much as a dozen of their customers in annual salary, it isn’t unusual to watch them leave their customers behind.

        When Chevy embraces Chevy loyalists and owners, and becomes proud to be represented by the Wal-Mart crowd, then perhaps they will start putting out new products that the Wal-Mart crowd will find cool, useful and worth putting 60 months of their wages into buying at the local Chevy dealer.

        Because Hyundai and Kia are doing this, and they are eating Chevy’s lunch.

      • 0 avatar
        MoppyMop

        Hyundai and Kia have spent the past few years trying to move themselves upmarket while aping the styling of the premium European brands. I don’t think they’re a very good example of embracing “the Wal-Mart crowd.” A better one would be Mitsubishi, who spent the last decade running themselves into the ground while doing exactly what you are advocating for Chevy.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        I suspect the end of “easy credit for everybody” has limited the ability of the Wal-Mart and trailer park crowd to obtain subprime financing for a new car with an MSRP that is 120% of their household pretax income.

        I’m not sure what the answer is for the Chevy brand, but chasing customers who don’t have the money/credit to actually purchase significant quantities of new cars probably isn’t it.

        “Make high-risk loans to poor people” is a sound business strategy for a payday loan operation, but not an auto manufacturer.

        Just ask any auto maker who tried targeting the “youth market” only to find that very few youths have the resources to buy a new car.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Woah
        You people are doing exactly what GM is doing – thinking the Wal-Mart crowd is some kind of subprime used car crowd.

        It is the attitude folks!

        Have you been to a Wal-Mart lately? They are doing something right.

        If Wal-Mart ran GM, GM would not be in the mess it is.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Yes, unfortunately I have been in a Wal-Mart recently.

        They seem to offer very little besides “lots of indifferently made stuff cheap”. This sounds suspiciously like what Chevy did for most of the last few decades, with little success.

        I also notice that Wal-Mart does not sell many items that cost $20k+. Offhand, I think the most expensive things I saw there were $1,200 laptops – more than an order of magnitude below the cost of even the least expensive Malibu. I don’t think their business model is directly applicable to auto manufacturing.

        And yes, I realize that lots of wealthy people also shop at Wal-Mart due to convenience or the perceived savings vs other retailers. Yes, they can afford to buy new cars.

        However, your “Wal-Mart people” who live in “mobile parks” generally do not have the means to afford new cars; so it doesn’t make sense to pursue them as a primary customer base.

        I recently bought a new car from a dealer/manufacturer who would have had zero interest in me as a customer when I was a student 5 years ago, because I didn’t have any money then. This did not offend me, and in fact seems completely reasonable.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Vanilla Dude: “So this Malibu is just a cheeseburger in a new wrapper. “

      It’s so hard to know when you’re kidding.

      Please tell me what car is NOT a cheeseburger in a new wrapper? Especially at the mid-size level. Which of these cars is not like the other? Fusion? Camry? Altima? Accord? Sonata? Kizashi? Passat? Avenger?

      Four wheels, four doors, steering wheel, decent sized trunk. The parts list is pretty similar from make to make. Outside of a couple of unique features in each model line, (i.e. hybrid, turbo 4, etc.,) what we’re looking at here is the same cheeseburger in a different wrapper. All of them. The formula doesn’t really vary.

      What Chevy needs to get back to IS what you said, Joe Average’s 2012 life. They need to emerge from the abyss that is their reputation from decades past.

      EDIT: I just read the response about the Wal Mart crowd. I think Hyundai and Kia are beyond that now. If you read my link earlier up in the thread, the Malibu Eco model was shown against the Hyundai Sonata hybrid model; I think GM has the right benchmark in their sights.

      But neither one is gunning for the Wal Mart crowd; the Target crowd is more likely.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        There is nothing wrong with a good cheeseburger. The cheeseburger market is big enough to keep a number of organizations in business.

        What keeps McDonalds in business is two prong – the Dollar Menu and the new stuff. The new stuff keeps them profitable and the Dollar Menu keeps them coming in.

        Chevy needs to keep their cheeseburgers hot and fresh in the shiny new wrappers while offering new stuff. And they need to welcome the Dollar Menu crowd into their showrooms with a level of sincerity not seen at GM for a while.

        Few of us are born wealthy or remain poor. If GM wants to dis us when we are not flushed with enough cash to buy a vehicle from them when we are younger, why should they expect us to show up at a dealer when we do have the means? I’d rather deal with the new kid on the block, Kia, who wants to believe in me.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Anyone thinking they are beyond Wal Mart isn’t accepting the majority of the American buying market. That’s nuts.

        I also wish to drop a comment about some of the things I have read about Korea. Been to Seoul? It completely spanks most American cities.

        It is almost 2012. How about some respect for the folks who have earned some?

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Vanilla Dude: What really keeps McDonalds in business is their perception of value, period.

        The Value Menu helps, but the McDonald’s brand of value is what people want when they go there. They have an expectation of reasonably priced food with decent quality. Also, they’ve done a lot in recent years to make their menu healthier (although whether it really is, is debatable). That’s not a bad goal. Chevrolet (and others) should be able to do so well with it’s perception.

        Wal Mart OTOH, is all over the map with it’s perception. From the low low prices (good), to the ‘they took er jabs’(bad)(yes, I’m generalizing a lot), the perception isn’t as good as it could be.

        Other stores are more aspirational, this is where Chevy (and really all of the other entry level brands) should be. Something aspirational would be giving folks respect for their efforts.

  • avatar

    This country invented the mass production of the car, now we can’t even engineer one ourselves. This is the legacy of Wagoner and Lutz.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Amazing. Other car companies “outsource” their engineering to markets beyond the home market, and it rarely gets noticed/mentioned.

      GM starts to really leverage it’s global engineering capacity and people moan as if there was nobody in Detroit. Not realizing that Detroit’s engineers are routinely dispatched to other parts of the world to learn from other engineers.

      Or that maybe, just maybe, ‘NIH’ will no longer be an excuse for not using someone else’s good idea.

      What we’re seeing here is the effects of globalization.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Other car companies “outsource” their engineering to markets beyond the home market, and it rarely gets noticed/mentioned.

        No other companies wrap themselves in the American flag as does General Motors.

        I don’t personally object to the offshoring, per se. But it’s absolutely hypocritical for the Detroit fanboys, who are fond of making their bogus “profits go to Japan” argument, to suddenly look the other way when GM ships jobs to Korea, Mexico or Europe.

        I’ve been pointing out for years that a dollar paid to GM will result in cash being shipped abroad. While foreign companies add capacity in the United States, the “domestics” are reducing it.

        The flagwavers need to get current with modern times, and understand what puts the “multi” in “multinational corporation.” In the real world, production patriotism is limited to the marketing department.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @PCH: I didn’t mention anything about where things are manufactured, or where profits go. Just that GM (and others, to be fair) are leveraging their global assets more now than they have in the past.

        “No other companies wrap themselves in the American flag as does General Motors.”

        Oddly enough, that’s one place where Toyota has GM beat. At least in my TV market, Toyota is running ads about how much the Tundra’s and the Camry’s content is US sourced.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I didn’t mention anything about where things are manufactured, or where profits go.

        You didn’t. But this is a common refrain among GM fans. This hypocrisy should be noted.

        At least in my TV market, Toyota is running ads about how much the Tundra’s and the Camry’s content is US sourced.

        With all of the flag wavers who don’t understand the multinational nature of car making, they have no choice. But Toyota doesn’t play up the “heartbeat of America” sort of shtick that GM has for decades.

        the main difference between GM outsourcing its manufacturing to Mexico, or engineering in China or Germany is that those countries allow free trade.

        Go learn something about Chinese trade and currency policies. You can’t possibly be serious.

        You’re only defending it because it’s GM. You’re applying a double standard, and for no good reason.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        PCH, please use attributions as per the commenters you’re replying to. This reply makes it seem as though you’re attributing the comments of Carbiz to geozinger .

        It’s very hard to follow, and since you last commented here back in 2009, there’s reply buttons now that negate the need for this style of responding.

        Thank you for your kind consideration of my suggestion, and I regret there was not a more private way for me to send this message to you.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        It’s very hard to follow, and since you last commented here back in 2009, there’s reply buttons now that negate the need for this style of responding.

        You’d think that, but I’ve had recent (as in, yesterday) posts placed as replies under different messages.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Psar, what I mean is the unattributed italicized quote followed by the rejoinder.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Pch101, the main difference between GM outsourcing its manufacturing to Mexico, or engineering in China or Germany is that those countries allow free trade. In fact, Mexicans buy more American cars than are actually built there.
      The main difference with Korea and Japan is that of the 28 member nations surveyed, they were both dead last for penetration of ‘foreign’ vehicles sold. Coincidence? Hardly.
      So I have no problems with GM building a factory in Mexico, nor do I have a problem with German cars being sold here; however, until Korea (where 78% of their market is made up of 2 car companies!) and Japan let ‘foreign’ vehicles be sold there, you’ll never see either of those country’s vehicles in my driveway.
      Perhaps purchasing Daewoo was the only way GM could see to gaining a foothold in that market, since nobody else seems to be able to sell vehicles in that country.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Whenever anyone makes note of how few American cars are sold in Japan, I can’t help but ask “Exactly WHICH American cars would anyone in Japan want to buy?” Trucks? Uh, nope. SUVs? Nope. I suppose the Cruze could take on the Corolla in its home market. Maybe a handful of Malibus, but I doubt very many cars in that class are sold there anyway. If you can afford something that big, you can probably afford a 3-series of a C-class. American makers just don’t MAKE the kinds of cars popular in Japan, at least judging by what I see on various videos and such.

        You don’t need market restrictions when nothing suitable to your local market is being made.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @krrhodes: There are a fair amount of US cars in Japan, but I can’t seem to find any statistics. But domestic GM doesn’t produce kei cars, limited sales.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        @krhodes1 – sorry, but that argument does not wash. I’ve heard that many times. Forget about GM. How come VW or Fiat do not sell cars in Japan or Korea?
        The trouble with Western media (and blogsites) is that Japan Inc gets away with murder, literally, because nobody here reports it. Even if one accepts the popular notion that GM builds crap and nobody in Japan would buy one, what about VW? VW is poised to outsell Toyota this year in the world, but can’t sell a paltry 100k vehicles in Japan. Something stinks. Less than 5% foreign nameplate penetration in both Korea and Japan.
        There are plenty of GM vehicles in Brazil or Europe that would sell in Japan, if they weren’t blocked.
        @geozinger, the last stats I saw were in the neighborhood of 46,000 units for all of 2010. Honda sells that in less than a month in the U.S.

  • avatar
    alluster

    The current Malibu when introduced in 08, while not class leading was an important first step for GM. It has made significant inroads into the retail market share. It was a well made car with lots of attention to detail. The average transaction price rose dramatically ($4k to $5K on average) to levels higher than the Camry and Accord. Even now the Malibu transacts above the Camry and Accord. These are the ATP stats from autoobserver for July. Note that the Camry and Accord prices were higher due to inventory shortages

    Model – July Average Transaction Price – Price change since quake
    Malibu – $24,106 – +73$
    Accord – $24,413 – +1,094$
    Camry – $23,500 – +171$
    Sonata – $23.183 – +478$
    http://www.autoobserver.com/assets/072111%20ATP%20by%20Model%20-%20AO.jpg

    GM has had similar success with redesigns in the last few years where the new models sold for significantly higher prices than their predecessors. The new Equinox $5000 more than the old one, the Terrain 7000$ more than the Torrent, The Cruze $4000 more than Cobalt, the Lacrosse 7,000$ more than the previous one, all while enjoying higher sales, especially retail. The new Malibu will continue to change perceptions and make slow but steady gains. Baby Steps yes, but in the right direction. You only have to look at success of the Cruze to see what great product can do. Also, once the next gen Impala goes premium and rises in price, it will stop cannibalizing Malibu sales.

    In 2007, the Camry outsold the Malibu by 340,000 Units. In 2010 the Camry outsold the Malibu by only 130,000 Units. In 2011 for the first nine months, the Camry outsold the ‘Bu by only 58,000 Units.

    EDIT – The gap bet. Accord and Malibu , 2007 – 275,000 ; 2010 – 75,000 ; 2011 YTD 10,000.

    • 0 avatar
      dvp cars

      ……sounds like the Camry-Malibu sales gap is almost nil. Assuming GM concentrates on making money in the process, the 2013 Malibu looks like a solid stepping stone on their way back to viability. Notching up the MPG numbers could make it a class leader.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    It’s actually quite decent looking on the outside. i like the taillights, but the grille didn’t need to go halfway up on the hood. And using an older Honda center stack will mean good ergonomics, even if the shifter hides a few switches and knobs. The newer Honda steering wheel seems kinda misplaced though…

  • avatar
    NN

    I am a retail owner of a 2010 Malibu LTZ (4-cyl, white). I feel that my car is the best looking car in it’s segment, although I do think the LTZ trim is important…wheels just look much better. I love the car altogether, but have one major bug, which is the 6-speed automatic which is shared with the Cruze–read Edmunds.com’s long term test notes on the Cruze and you’ll see what I’m saying. It seems every single one of these 6-speeds over time starts to develop harsher shift characteristics…in my example, mostly evident in abrupt downshifting while rolling to a stop. Other than this, I absolutely love the car. To my knowledge the mechanics were mostly engineered in Germany by Opel, however I do believe there was lots of design and finishing engineering work done in the US.

    I see this 2013 global Malibu and it doesn’t excite me. I think my generation looks cleaner and more distinctive. The 2013, in pictures, looks more like a Camry with Camaro taillights and an overdone interior. It also looks worryingly similar to the Daewoo Tosca, which leads me to believe somebody in Korea was tasked with taking the current generation Tosca, adding some US-spec Malibu cues, and making it more aggressive, voila. If that is representative of the effort put into this car in general, then I don’t think I want it. My 2010 was a quantum leap over previous GM…they were out to impress. I don’t get the impression that a similar effort is put forth here. I think the 2013 Fusion/Mondeo is looking much more interesting at this point, as well as the new Camry, which I’m surprised to find myself saying.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Are these rental cars in Korea too?

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    .

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    They super-sized a Cruz. I’m not impressed. What next, a Buick version with more body cladding?

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      If you only knew that this was an Opel Insignia under the skin… which makes it a Buick Regal. Although there are several changes from the Regal to the Malibu.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    As with most current GMs, I bet this one will be heavier than the competition. And with only a 4 banger to move it?? Yikes….

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      That ’4-banger’ has 60 more hp than most of the V6s from 20 years ago in cars that wieghed just as much. Performance will be much more than adequate, considering I can leave most traffic for dead from the lights in my 77hp diesel Mercedes. Most Americans can’t find full throttle with a GPS.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Yes, but that Mercedes diesel has something that the “4 banger” won’t. Torque.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Nope, not really. 120lb-ft. That 190hp modern 4 has something like 50%-75% more torque than the Benz. In a car that wieghs the same. Again, HP and torque figures that shame V6s of 20 years ago, and current V6s will show a clean set of taillights to classic V8 musclecars. Modern “4-banger” mid-size sedans are running ~8 sec 0-60 times. Yes, you will hit the 6500-7Krpm redline a couple doing so, but they are perfectly happy doing that. I’m driving a 4cyl Altima as a rental right now, in no rational way can it be considered slow. Will it run with my BMW, no, but it is more than adequate for merging into traffic.

        Also don’t forget that cars now have 5-6-7-8 spd gearboxes, they don’t NEED low-end torque like they once did, the lower gears make up for it while still providing relaxed highway cruising.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Certainly, but who is going to rev their Malibu, or any other grocery getter, up to 65 or 7k rpm?

        There’s torque, and then there’s usable torque. Needless to say, peak torque on a diesel is going to be realized at a far lower rpm than a 4 cylinder gas motor pulling along a 3500-4000 lb car.

  • avatar

    The new Malibu is the Chevrolet version of the new Buick Regal, which is a rebadged Opel Insignia.

    The Malibu has the same dimensions inside and out as the Buick and Opel and will have the same ride and handling balance. If you’ve driven the new Regal, you’ve driven this car.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      That is a bit of a stretch. The Regal truely IS a rebadged and re-grilled Insignia, but the Malibu is merely on the same platform. I would be surprised if it drives anywhere near as “German” as the Buick. I would expect it to be MUCH softer, and drive like a Camry. That is its target marktet after all, it is not intended to be hunting 3-series and Audis.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Inside it doesn’t have the same dimensions of the Regal. I have read reviews and comments from GM that the Malibu is a bit larger inside than the Regal.


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