The Chevy Malibu Still Exists and It's Being Recalled
When was the last time you heard about the Chevy Malibu? It’s easy to forget that the car still exists, but it does, and there’s an interesting new recall for the 2022 and 2023 models.
Buy/Drive/Burn: Upmarket Brand American Midsize Sedans in 1997
We’re back with more 1997 midsize sedan action in today’s edition of Buy/Drive/Burn. They’re all on the smaller end of the midsize sedan scale, all American, and crucially, all wearing semi-upmarket branding.
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid: 'H' Marks the Spot… of a Gravesite
Admit it — you weren’t aware Chevrolet made a hybrid version of the midsize Malibu. You’d be forgiven for replying in the affirmative, as the variant introduced for the 2016 model year sported a profile lower than that of an SOE agent in occupied France.
And yet the Malibu Hybrid lived. But now it must die.
Breaking: The Chevy Sedan Is Not Yet Extinct (Though Buyers Are Working On It)
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.
Buy/Drive/Burn: Ace of Base A-Bodies From 1979
After our most recent Rare Rides post, your author perused The Big List of BDB Ideas and discovered a suggestion commenter Sgeffe made many moons ago. He suggested the most basic coupe A-bodies on offer in 1979. Feeling cheap? Let’s get weird.
2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS First Drive - Curiously Viable Transportation
I thumbed the start button, adjusted the mirrors, and backed away from the coffee shop. A couple of miles later, my co-driver/navigator was distracted and we missed a turn on our route guide. I hustled around an unexpected roundabout, trying to make up time, and the mid-sized sedan dove into the corners like a much smaller car.
It’s remarkable how unremarkable the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu RS really is. I expected a dull car with dull responses and no power — which would provide ample opportunity for devastating snark. And yet, I can’t stop thinking about how surprisingly well this Chevy drives.
Brawny, Four-cylinder, CVT-equipped Chevrolet Malibu RS Demands a Modest Price
It’s easy to make fun of what amounts to an appearance package, but appearance remains a very important part of the car-buying decision. This isn’t a Warsaw Pact country, circa 1980.
To sweeten its midsize pot, Chevrolet crafted an RS-badged version of its Malibu sedan for the 2019 model year, perhaps as a way of tempting current Redline Edition owners to trade in their rides. Once glance should tell you this thing isn’t a rental, though it still contains the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-banger you’ll find under the hood of lesser-trimmed variants. But what does extra flash and no added dash cost compared to a volume LS? As it turns out, not a lot.
For 2019, the Chevrolet Malibu Puts on a Happier Face
In redesigning the midsize Chevrolet Malibu sedan for the 2016 model year, General Motors shaved an impressive amount of weight from the not-so-well-regarded eighth-generation model. It also stretched the wheelbase, adding volume to a rear seat many found lacking. Now boasting carefully creased body panels, the lithe-looking new Malibu relegated the chunky, previous design to the Island of Bad Bodies.
That frowny face could still use some work, many said at the time. For 2019, GM takes care of that, updating — fairly extensively — the model’s visage in a mid-cycle refresh. The Malibu also sees the addition of a dedicated “sporty” trim.
Rental Review - Mishaps With Maven
General Motors launched its Maven rideshare service in 2016 with the goal of providing renters with a taste of its vehicles, while also bringing in a little extra revenue. The service offers a wide array of vehicles ranging from small hatchbacks like the Chevrolet Spark to large SUVs like the Tahoe.
The service is available in many larger cities across the country and, since I was visiting Detroit for the auto show, I decided to give it a try to see what a potential renter might encounter. I signed up for the app and rented a couple of vehicles without notifying GM in order to experience the vehicles just as the general public would.
The vehicles were far worse than I expected.
2016 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ Rental Review - Your Next Used Car?
Was it really 22 months ago that I first encountered the fleet-customers-only 2016 Chevrolet Malibu? Indeed it was — and although the rental companies were quick to take advantage of what was presumably an absolutely massive discount on the General’s leftovers, they have not been in a hurry to release their inventory of these cars into the auction lanes.
That’s particularly true in the case of our local National Car Rental franchisee, which is actually a Chevrolet dealer in disguise. Which explains why Danger Girl’s final car rental of the year turned out to be a rather well-worn and thoroughly undistinguished example of the fleet-spec ‘Bu LTZ.
Why review this car yet again? Simple. You’d never guess it, but my review of the rental-spec Chevrolet Captiva turned out to be one of the biggest articles in TTAC history. A lot of people who were looking at ex-rental Captivas in the used market ended up reading it and (one hopes) learning something about the vehicle they did or did not buy. Consider this 2016 Malibu LTZ review to be aimed at the used-car customer, particularly the person who is looking for a new-shape 2016 Malibu but comes across one of these instead. They will want to know that the combination of old style body and 2016 VIN means “fleet car” for sure and “rental car” more often than not. They might also be interested in knowing how these cars survived the abuse to which their first “owners” put them.
Saddle up, used-Malibu intenders, and let’s ride out.
So, Who's Winning the Midsize Sedan Battle?
In a shrinking segment increasingly dominated by two longstanding nameplates, the battle for sales supremacy is quickly resembling a U.S. election. Two main players, plus a handful of also-rans. (In Europe, this would be a very different — and probably quite confusing — affair.)
For all players in the U.S. midsize sedan market, it’s really a battle to hold on to market share, to keep sales from sliding further, as more and more customers look elsewhere for family transportation. Two Japanese offerings, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, loom over all other challengers. In November, one of these nameplates began putting some serious distance between it and its main competitor.
Detroit's Passenger Car Sales Are Falling Way Faster Than the Overall U.S. Auto Industry's
Across the U.S. auto industry, there are a number of auto brands that are actually selling more passenger cars in 2017 than in 2016: Jaguar, Lincoln, Infiniti, Subaru, Volkswagen.
Some specific models, many with all-wheel-drive availability like the Audi A5, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Golf, are enjoying far greater sales success this year than last.
But you know the story. Generally speaking, Americans are buying far fewer cars now than they used to. From more than 50 percent just five years ago, passenger car market share is down to 37 percent. Nowhere is this more obvious than at traditional domestic manufacturers, the Detroit Three.
QOTD: Does Any Car Do a Better (or Worse) Job of Looking Good and Bad Than the Chevrolet Malibu?
Sometimes the little things make a big difference. Body color door handles, for example, can take a simple compact car from appearing fit for penalty box duty to appearing worthy of driveway placement. Swap those black side mouldings and matte black mirror housings for body color paint and you’re home free.
In other instances, the absence of foglights in foglight housings turns a decent front fascia into a disappointment. A bigger front air dam has the potential to suggest the addition of horsepower. Chrome window surrounds, upgraded lighting, metallic paint, and red-trimmed grilles can add a premium aura to otherwise pitiful products.
Oh, and don’t forget the wheels. Wheels can cover a multitude of design errors.
But does any car benefit more from big, stylish wheels; body colour mirrors; and LED daytime running lights than the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu? And does any car suffer more from small wheels with puffy tires, black mirrors, and stock lighting than the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu?
Chevrolet Equinox More Popular in June 2017 Than Cruze, Malibu, Impala Combined
In June 2017, General Motors reported 29,182 U.S. sales of its Chevrolet Equinox, the company’s most popular non-truck model in America.
A 49-percent year-over-year improvement made June the best month for the Equinox since May 2015.
Combined with sharp declines from Chevrolet’s three mainline sedans, it also made the Equinox more popular in June than the Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu, and Impala combined.
As if we needed more evidence that Americans want crossovers, not cars.
Temporary Shutdowns Insufficient; GM Eliminates Shift at Chevrolet Malibu's Kansas Assembly Plant
In September 2017, General Motors will be forced to lay off a large number of workers at its Kansas City, Kansas assembly plant where the Chevrolet Malibu is built.
Only two days ago we learned General Motors would stretch the Fairfax assembly plant’s summer shutdown by an additional three weeks — from two to five in 2017 — because of excessive Malibu inventory. But as GM seeks to maintain a more reasonable grip on incentives than in the past, the only remaining way of reducing an inventory glut is to stop building so many cars.
Unfortunately for some of GM’s Kansas employees, the announcement of a temporary shutdown — the third this year according to the Kansas City Business Journal — will be an insufficient means of reducing stock. The Kansas City Star reports the number of shifts at the plant will be reduced to two in late September.
After Chevrolet’s U.S. midsize sales rapidly elevated to a 36-year high in calendar year 2016 during the ninth-generation Malibu’s launch, volume has declined hard and fast in early 2017.