Exterior photography by Rachel Gibbs
What did the American people get for the fifty billion dollars they spent and the eleven billion they lost on the General Motors bailout? Well, they got stability, they got the retention of perhaps a million jobs, they avoided what might have been a last straw in what a posterity unblinded by the contemporaneous media’s Obama-as-messiah drumbeat will recognize as the greatest depression since the Great one, and they got the C7 Corvette.
All good things, if you ask me.
But they also got garbage like this.
Not long ago, seemingly off-the-cuff comments by Mark Reuss, GM’s chief “car guy”, got everyone in a tizzy. Reuss lamented the lack of affordable station wagons on the market today, and suggested that GM ought to start offering one in the near future. The comments, of course, came at the Detroit Auto Show’s, and Reuss, who certainly has had ample media training, had nothing to lose by throwing a bone to the assembled enthusiast media, who are uniformly pro-wagon, no matter how poor of a business case the wagon in question may be.
By stealing the Toyota Camry’s best-selling midsize car crown, albeit likely on a temporary basis, the Nissan Altima ended February 2014 as America’s best-selling car overall. The Altima’s lead was also substantial enough last month to make the midsize Nissan America’s leading car year-to-date.
Well. How to begin? Perhaps by pointing to a positive review for the Malibu 2.0t from our own Michael Karesh. Alternately, I could refer you to a four-star recommendation for this car’s predecessor from illustrious former E-I-C, Ed Niedermeyer. I want you to understand that there are people on our editorial staff, including Derek, who have good, solid, well-founded, nice things to say about the Malibu. And why not? We’re out of the GM Deathwatch business now. There’s no longer anybody in the TTAC virtual office angling for a job with the Republican Party, General Motors itself, or some improbable combination of the two. I, personally, believe that GM is in the business of building outstanding automobiles, from the outgoing Tahoe in which I recently spent a few pleasant days as a passenger in New Mexico to the Corvette C7 I thrashed around the Road&Track “Motown Mile” last month.
But this rented 2013 Malibu LTZ, on which I recently moved the odometer from 14,010 to 14,574 miles in the course of a Midwestern day trip, isn’t even close to outstanding.
With the Flat Rock assembly plant on the cusp of sending cars to dealerships, the Ford Fusion could potentially sell 300,000 units this year, becoming the first car nameplate from Ford to cross that mark in a decade. But to catch the best-selling Toyota Camry, Ford will have to have capacity for 400,000 units – something that could happen as early as 2014.
The wraps have finally been taken off from the refreshed 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, and it…looks pretty much the same as the last one, though GM assures us that there have been real changes made.
Reader Summicron manages to both praise Jack’s review of the Dodge Avenger while also bringing up a very interesting point. Summicron writes
Baruth does the best job I’ve ever seen of answering the question:
“What does this hardware actually do?”
“What will snobs think of me if I buy it?”
This immediately made me wonder what vehicle is most unfairly maligned by the auto press and popular opinion?
The minor model change for the Chevrolet Malibu will be more than just a Honda Civic-style refresh. Chevrolet will apparently address the cramped rear seating area as part of the overhaul.
GM is once again the top seller with government agencies, after losing that title to Ford over the past few years. A Bloomberg report based on a Freedom of Information Act request shows that GM sold 19,404 vehicles to the federal government in the fiscal year that ended September 30th, up 3.5 percent. Sales of Fords were down by 43 percent, to 10,734 vehicles.
General Motors had idled its Fairfax, Kansas plant where the Chevrolet Malibu is built, as slow sales hamper the brand’s mid-size sedan.