Forget the cascade of poor reviews that have apparently hampered the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco; the biggest detriment to the new car’s success might be the outgoing model, and the steep discounts being offered on the 2012 ‘Bu.
Automotive News reports that sales figures for the 2013 Malibu Eco have been dismal compared to the 2012 model.
The discounts on the 2012 model, according to AN can be as high as $6,000. The rest of the 2013 model lineup, including the base 2.5L car and the much-touted 2.oT will roll out starting in August, with high end versions launching in the fall. AN reports that GM CEO Dan Akerson ordered the Malibu Eco to roll out in March, as a means of beating the revised Nissan Altima and Honda Accord to the punch.
Akerson also assumed that strong promotion during the NCAA Basketball finals would help Malibu sales. But how attractive is the idea of a Malibu Eco, at $26,085, when the outgoing model (which doesn’t have the Eco’s compromised trunk, with its “hybrid” components) and $6,000 less, is right next to it in the showroom? A Toyota Camry Hybrid gets much better fuel economy and is $655 more, while a new Nissan Altima, which gets nearly identical fuel economy, is roughly $4,000 less.
The Malibu Eco has become a victim of GM’s own strategy of throwing cash on the hood of vehicles, privileging volume and market share above all else. Whatever the faults of the 2013 car may be, the launch appears to have been successfully torpedoed from within – GM’s competitors didn’t even have to lift a finger.