Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Is the Malibu Nameplate Reborn?

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier

After a look at those (surprisingly few) models that sold over a million annual units, after traveling 20 years back to the year of the Taurus and the much-anticipated May World Roundup, today we’re going back to basics and put the spotlight on the good old US market.

Bored with home? That’s ok, because you can check out the best-selling cars in 167 additional countries and territories on my blog. They’re all there and they’re waiting for you so click away!

Back to the US.

In June the Chevrolet Malibu sold 31,402 units, the nameplate’s highest monthly volume in… 32 years!

2012 and 1980 Chevy Malibu. Spot the differences…

While General Motors delivers its highest monthly volume since September 2008 with 248,750 sales, the Malibu was up 32 percent year-on-year and indeed passed the 30,000 units mark, just 705 units short of becoming the country’s best-selling passenger car: the Toyota Camry kept that title in third place overall with 32,107 units.

Now I don’t have monthly figures going back that far but the last time the Chevrolet Malibu was at comparable levels it was in 1979-1980. Back then, the Malibu finished 1979 with 344,233 sales making it 4th overall behind the Chevy Impala/Caprice, the Oldsmobile Cutlass and the Chevy Chevette. In 1980 with 267,732 units, the Malibu was #4 again behind the Chevrolet Citation, Chevrolet Chevette and Ford Fairmont.

The Malibu must have sold over 30,000 monthly units at some stage during those 2 years, before falling below 250,000 annual sales ever since and never getting another chance at tickling these sales levels… until today.

So is the Malibu nameplate reborn?

Is this just a peak due to a one-off order from rental car companies? An exceptionally strong month for fleets?

Are Americans ready to buy American sedans again?

Yes that old chestnut… but really, what do you think?

Does the Chevrolet Malibu deserve to be the best-selling passenger car in its native country?

There. I have asked the Big Question.

I need your point of view dear readers, so take it away!

USA June 2012 Top 10 best-selling models:

PosModelJune/11May2012/11Pos20111Ford F-Series55,02511%1301,14114%112Chevrolet Silverado33,5663%3194,5086%323Toyota Camry32,10750%2213,90345%234Chevrolet Malibu31,40232%7141,43715%9145Honda Accord28,92484%6155,17822%696Ford Escape28,50028%12127,1674%1357Honda Civic27,50057%4162,58227%4128Toyota Corolla26,64741%5151,72611%789Ford Fusion24,43317%8136,8494%11610Dodge Ram23,95112%9138,85124%107

You can see the US June 2012 Top 30 here

You can check out the US Full Year 1979 Top 10 here

You can check out the US Full Year 1980 Too 10 here

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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3 of 20 comments
  • Volt 230 Volt 230 on Jul 08, 2012

    my uncle had a 78, it was simple, ultra-reliable transportation, and RWD folks, everything went down the drain with the god awful FWD configuration.

  • Myleftfoot Myleftfoot on Jul 09, 2012

    Back to the original question... Does the Chevrolet Malibu deserve to be the best-selling passenger car in its native country? 2012 Malibus in this area are 3-8k discounted, increasing sales. The 2013 Fusion should be the one. New design and engines will win.

    • KalapanaBlack KalapanaBlack on Jul 09, 2012

      How many of these are the new Epsilon II 2013 Malibu (as mentioned above only available in Eco trim now), and how many are the old Epsilon I 2012 Malibu-soon-to-be-Malibu-Classic fleet-centric model? I can't imagine there are many non-fleet consumers clamoring for the older bodystyle, unless GM is offering very deep discounts. Of course, the new one won't be available with a V6, so the old body is the only way to get a Malibu V6. Too bad it's the old non-DI 3.6. Again, I can't believe there are many of those being sold.

  • Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?
  • El scotto My iPhone gets too hot while using the wireless charging in my BMW. One more line on why someone is a dumbazz list?
  • Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.