General Motors has become more assertive in restyling the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, according to GM North America President Mark Reuss. As a result of GM’s more assertive approach to product development, the 2014 Malibu is now more spacious and more fuel-efficient. GM had to rush the restyling of the model to reverse the vehicle’s sliding sales in the much-important mid-sized sedan market.
Reuss admitted that much of the 2013 Malibu's development occurred prior to GM’s collapse in mid-2009, and that the carmaker was "not aggressive enough" with its styling. According to Reuss, product developers knew even before the spring 2012 rollout of the 2013 Malibu that it would need an accelerated update.
The major enhancements for the new Malibu came just a year after GM launched the 2013 Malibu's highest-volume trim level that is powered by a base 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine – a very early update considering that GM’s so-called mid-cycle updates usually come three or four years after a vehicle is rolled out.
According to Reuss, the rush restyling of the 2014 Malibu mirrored a changed mind-set at GM, noting that historically, "we would have defended it, justified it and waited." The restyled 2014 Malibu, due this fall, will feature a revised front fascia with a bolder grille similar to that of the recently rolled out Impala.
GM also is installing an engine shut-off system for stop-start traffic, which is expected to boost the vehicle’s fuel economy by 5 percent in city driving. GM also addressed the major complaint about the 2013 Malibu – lack of passenger room – by adding an extra 1.25 inches of knee space for back seat passengers.