Our sister publication, Ford Authority, has just recently reported that the Ford Fusion will officially be discontinued for North American markets in 2020. While not terribly surprising given Ford’s previously-announced intentions to withdraw from the car segment outright, the move makes us a little worried for GM‘s rival – the Chevrolet Malibu.
Late last year, GM announced plans to discontinue the Chevrolet Volt, Cruze, and Impala, with other GM sedans like the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, and Cadillac XTS to follow suit. The CT6 will not be discontinued, so we’ll attribute that to a communications mishap. But that’s neither here nor there. The bigger picture is that, like Ford, GM is killing off several of its car models and doubling down on more-profitable vehicles, namely pickups, crossovers, and SUVs. Now, with the North American exit of the Ford Fusion imminent, GM – potentially – has one less reason to produce the Chevrolet Malibu.
And it’s not like the Malibu is selling all that well to begin with. Annual Chevrolet Malibu sales volumes have been in decline since a brief peak in 2016, when Chevrolet managed to move 227,881 units. That number fell to 185,857 units in 2017 and 144,542 units in 2018. Now, it appears as though the Malibu is on track to post another sales decline in 2019, with just 34,197 units sold in the first quarter of the year. Assuming that level of performance for all four quarters, GM will end up moving less than 140,000 Malibus in calendar 2019.
To make matters worse, each of those figures is lower than the corresponding numbers posted by the Ford Fusion. In 2016, the Ford Fusion sold 265,840 units, dipping down to 209,623 units in 2017 and 173,600 units in 2018. In the first quarter of 2019, 41,683 units were sold.
Compared to its domestic rivals, the Japanese midsize Honda Accord and Toyota Camry – both of which are segment leaders – are doing quite well. Honda moved 345,225 units of the Accord in 2016, 322,655 units in 2017, and 291,071 units in 2018, while Toyota sold 388,616 units of the Camry in 2016, 387,081 units in 2017, and 343,439 units in 2018.
But who knows? Maybe the Chevrolet Malibu will manage to scoop up additional sales following the Ford Fusion’s departure. Here’s to hoping that, GM will double down on the mainstream midsize sedan segment, rather than abandon it.
Source: Ford Authority