C/D's Resident Skeptic Comes Clean About the Malibu

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

In a refreshing break with tradition, Patrick Bedard at Car and Driver admits to a lingering skepticism about the Malibu's glowing introductory reviews. There's just a wee bit of history that informs his doubts: forty years of glowing reviews by C/D of pre-production GM cars that failed to life up to their hype. The most notorious example cited was the gusher of praise heaped upon the notorious X-bodies (Citation, etc.) based upon "specially prepped" pilot cars provided by GM. Although the Malibu managed a third place finish in C/D's recent comparo of sedans, Bedard admits that his employer's intro of GM's latest "import killer" might have (once again) raised hopes to unrealistic levels. The truth feels good, doesn't it Patrick?

Paul Niedermeyer
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  • Limmin Limmin on Apr 01, 2008

    The Saturn Aura wasn't a success for a simple reason: it didn't initially offer a 4cyl engine and that's what people wanted. GM marketers went upscale and offered a family of decent sixes (1990's-think?). The Pontiac G6 underwhelmed because of its name change from Grand Am. Plus it doesn't offer a stick. And the Ford Fusion really robbed its thunder. Its only viable domestic alternative is the Fusion. The Fusion is made in Mexico and it has a price advantage over the G6. The G6 is made by union members; GM can only discount it so much. Both the Aura and G6 should have been released with a 5sp autotranny. No excuse for that. It's not fair for Bedard to compare the Malibu to the 30-yr-old x-cars. GM just isn't the same company. I remember when the Citation was introduced. On the radio, at every break, there was a Citation ad. GM must have spent a fortune marketing that thing. Bad as the x-cars were, GM eventually got it right with the Cutlass and Celebrity. Those cars were bulletproof.

  • Skooter Skooter on Apr 01, 2008

    Wasn't the X car from 28 years ago? And didn't it lay the foundation for future front wheel drive platforms? And GM has a "shitty" history? I know, all those flops like the hydra matic transmission, Corvette, GTO, the small block V8, etc. Spot on! As compared to other companies with no history I guess.

  • Whatdoiknow1 Whatdoiknow1 on Apr 01, 2008

    The comparison is still valid simply because manny of the folks that purchased those POS car are still in the car market today! It not like GM got its act in order since that time and there were not many other GM disasters since then. GM today is in possession of a self-inflicted bad reputation born out of a consistant and presistant "Who gives a shit" attitude about building cars and caring for the people who had enough faith in GM to purchase said cars. GM is the poster child company of the "pennywise pound foolish" approach to business; save a few pennies on a plastic manifold, screw your costumers with a defect critical part, ignore the problem until you get sued and lose, now spends millions on legal fees, spend more millions to settle the suit. Needless to say that the lawyers for the plantiffs took a enormous sum from the settlement so GM FORMER agreived costumers get pennies for their dollars (no real recovery there). But I know, GM has its act together today!

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Apr 01, 2008

    To be fair we owned an early 80's Citation and it was an above average car. I mean to say - durable in both appearance and number of miles driven. My parents bought a TVA surplus Citation that had 45K miles on it back then. Base interior, automatic, air cond, power steering and brakes. It had bench seats front and back and the basic plastic everything. Mom then put about 90K miles on it and it it just worked. Looked new when they bought it and new when they sold it. Now compare this to my '99 CR-V from the famed Honda Motor Company. Same hard plastic door panels and dash. Now of course the CR-V has gone "upscale" with cloth bucket seats and a thousand little details but the CR-V is not any faster, certainly not any quieter, and the mileage is not any better. The Honda has 157K miles on it and the Citation had 140-something thousand miles. My point is that the Honda shares some of the same short comings as the Citiation and doesn't get bashed. The Citiation had many of the same postive qualities as the Honda and yet does not get the praise. And for the record everything from the 70s rusted especially anything that relied on paint as a rust preventative like my VWs, Toyotas, and Hondas. Hopefully GM will prove that their latest products are quality products (takes time) and that they keep making little improvements just like the Asian companies do to make their products better and better. I'd hate to see them start all over AGAIN and thus have to start all over again fixing their quality problems.