GM Design Chief Ed Welburn Hints At 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Having “Very Passionate” Looks5
When Chevrolet debuted the redesigned 2013 Malibu mid-year in 2012, it wasn’t quite the home run that General Motors hopefuls has wished. Sure, it was competitive, but Chevrolet needed something stronger. Chevrolet ushered a refresh for 2014 that addressed some of the criticisms (especially the interior), but being simply “a fine sedan” is not enough in the segment. Hence, it is no surprise that Chevrolet is trying to bring a revamped Malibu to the public a year from now.
“We’ve got our act together here on the midsize-car segment,” GM’s product development chief Mark Reuss told Automotive News in October. Showing an image of the next-gen Malibu, Reuss pointed out the “groundbreaking design but also groundbreaking technology. When is the last time you saw a [midsize] car this distinctive and this dramatic from General Motors?”
Most recently, GM global design chief Ed Welburn has spoken about the upcoming mid-size sedan, stating earlier this month that the new-gen Malibu’s design will “make a significant statement” with “a very passionate design.”
One of the important aspects of the segment is that Chevrolet needs a bridge between its small and large sedans, the Cruze and Impala, respectively. When a Cruze (or even a Sonic) owner is ready to move up to a bigger vehicle, Chevrolet wants to keep owners within the brand’s fold. For that to happen, Chevrolet needs a standout 2016 Malibu.
Yet for all its inherent goodness, the Malibu’s launch didn’t help things either, as Chevrolet initially offered the mild-hybrid Eco in recession-era 2012, while the volume-focused 2.5L four-cylinder debuted six months later. AN says the “staggered launch confused customers and stalled momentum.” Even GM has hinted at the misstep, with then-CEO Dan Akerson saying, “I don’t know if I want to wash my laundry in public.”
But dealers are still relatively upbeat for the current version despite the fact that sales are down. “It’s a great car. We see a lot of Chevy-loyal people buying it,” said the general manager of Minnesotta-based Rosedale Chevrolet, Jeff Krapu, in the AN report. “But we don’t really get people coming from competitor brands. I wish we did.”
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GM has no excuse not not getting the Chevrolet mid sizer right. (Caddy and Opel prove that there is no lack of talent).
Chevy must match, in both sales and quality, both Ford and Chrysler. If need be, Chevy should copy VW and made a N American only Malibu based on Impala’s long wheel base.
I want style that matches the 200 & Mazda 6. I want size that matches Lutz’s 2008 Malibu (deemed a super Accord by Motertrend).
I want a show stopping Malibu not dummed down for the sake of Buick sales!
Perhaps giving it a name other than Malibu would help? I like the name, but too many people associate it with the 90’s and mid 2000’s nightmare cars. That pre 2008 body style was just hideous.
I agree, Malibu needs to go. Cutless would fit well with todays naming scheme, and pay homage to Olds.
With Pontiac now dead, and mainstream brands like Kia, Mazda, & Ford playing up ‘sporty’ looks, Chevy is now free to take inspiration from Corvette. Gone are the days when Chevy had to play it safe with Celebrity-like vehicles such as Volt and the current Malibu.
There’s always a lot of bloviating by these guys. I guess only time will tell, when the finished product is available to be scrutinized.
Hey GM! Make sure this Malibu can kill Camry; American people have been long waiting for a real Camry killer.