Breaking: The Chevy Sedan Is Not Yet Extinct (Though Buyers Are Working On It)

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Unlike Ford, which plans to put its sole remaining four-door passenger car underground by 2021, General Motors’ Chevrolet division is not quite ready to kiss the sedan goodbye.

While the automaker did cull its compact Chevrolet Cruze earlier this year (sparking a wail of grief from a certain writer whose year-old daily driver now bears an defunct nameplate), and while the Chevy Impala is also scheduled to bite the dust come January, the long-running Malibu is said to have at least a few good years left in it.

According to Automotive News‘ updated product pipeline, the midsize Malibu, which underwent a facelift for 2019, “is expected to continue until at least 2024.” The same longevity cannot be claimed by the subcompact Sonic and Spark, which appear ready to follow their larger siblings into the grave within a year or two.

Come that hazy tombstone date, the Malibu might be “indirectly” replaced by an electric vehicle, the AN prophets claim. A refresh could occur for 2022, should GM deem it practical.

Built in Kansas City, the Malibu underwent significant changes for 2016, enjoying large gains in fuel economy and a significant loss of weight. At the same time, the sedan’s much-maligned backseat gained some much-needed volume. Sales volume followed, with that year being the model’s best showing since GM returned the Malibu nameplate to the Chevy stable in 1997.

Alas, good things rarely last, and GM watched Malibu sales fall from nearly 228,000 in ’16 to just under 186,000 in 2017. Last year brought another tumble, to the 144,000 bracket — its worst sales year since 2007.

If you’re wondering whether there’s good news for this sensible sedan in 2019, you can probably guess the answer. There isn’t. Through June, Malibu sales fell 14.7 percent, mirroring the performance of so many midsizers — and cars in general — throughout the industry. If the trend continues, and there’s ample reason to believe it will, one wonders if 2024 is too rosy a prediction for the Malibu’s end date.

At least its Fairfax Assembly home, unlike the Cruze’s now-shuttered Lordstown facility, hosts a crossover under its roof.

[Images: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Jul 31, 2019

    Corn-based ethanol scam? Correct! Sugar cane ethanol is WAY better. Sugar cane derived ethanol, as is produced in South America, can be produced for approx 5% of the cost of corn-derived ethanol (production costs, not logistics of shipping it). The corn-derived ethanol thing is a MASSIVE SCAM ON TAXPAYERS/CONSUMERS and MASSIVE WELFARE TO BIG AGRICULTURE. Sugar cane grows like crazy, even win the wild, with almost no required extra fertilizer, water or other commoditized input. Corn is a fertilizer and especially water intensive crop (corn requires about 100x the amount of water that sugar cane does to grow). CONGRATULATIONS AMERICAN TAXPAYERS/CONSUMERS. You literally could have ethanol at the pump for approx 1/5th the cost of what it is now BUT FOR CONgress and "both" "different" political parties bending you over, repeatedly, par for the course in every facet of your life.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jul 31, 2019

    Agree corn based ethanol is a scam and we are all paying for it as taxpayers and the damage it does to our vehicles and power equipment. It would be interesting to know just how much dollarwise the damage that corn based ethanol does to vehicles and power equipment--I would guess it would be at least millions per year.

  • 28-Cars-Later Can we end debt slavery next? Its getting to the point where its no longer voluntary.
  • Carson D Honda and Toyota still make the best American cars.
  • Slavuta I just though, with this rate we could make Cinco De Mayo a national holiday as well. Since we have tens of millions of American Mexicans, and probably more than African Americans
  • Wjtinfwb Well, it LOOKS pretty great for 36 years old and 356k miles! I've seen plenty of 2 decade newer trucks that looked like a shrapnel bomb went off inside and and exterior that looked worse. This owner got everything out of that truck it had. Time to let it retire to the farm.
  • Wjtinfwb Stellantis. They've gone from Hero to Zero in 24 months with some really stupid decisions and allowing politicians to influence their business. They also hung onto old products way too long and relied on RAM and Jeep to pull them through. RAM plays in the most competitive market of all, full-size trucks and competition is brutal with Ford and GM keeping their foot to the floor on development and improvement. Chrysler now has one model, a 5 year old van. Dodge made a living off old cars with stupendous power, that's gone with the mothballing of the Hemi. The Hornet is an overpriced joke. Now they have new Durango Pursuit's self-destruction because of a plastic oil cooler that self destructs and dumps oil into the coolant lunching the engine. Grand Cherokee, a staple of Jeep has not been well received and has limited power options due to canning the Hemi. Now they've got to build interest around the Hurricane turbo in-line 6 in trucks, Charger's and Jeeps. If that engine turns out to be problematic its likely lights out in Sterling Heights.