Chevrolet puts sleek styling at center of “Malibu State of Mind” campaign

Article by Anita Panait, on October 3, 2012

Chevrolet has launched an advertising campaign that would market its Malibu mid-sized sedan as a fashionable alternative to the Honda Accord and other rivals. Chevrolet has unveiled a new commercial for the 2013 Malibu, which shows the redesigned sedan makings its way through the hill driven by a slender, sleeveless woman.

The "Malibu State of Mind" campaign attempts to emphasize the mid-sized sedan’s look and feel: "sleek" new styling with "sport-sculpted seats" and "refined comfort."  The commercial is in contrast to the new spots for the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima, which flaunts fuel economy and safety features.

Chris Perry, Chevrolet’s global marketing chief, told Automotive News of how looks could affect consumer picks. Perry said that if one puts the Malibu next to an Accord or Camry, a buyer would probably prefer the Malibu to be parked in his driveway.

Perry remarked that the success of the next-generation Malibu is "hugely important" for Chevrolet and for parent company General Motors, as it prepares to draw battle in the toughest yet largest car segment in the United States, the mid-sized sedan segment. To increase its rankings from No. 5 spot in the mid-sized segment, the Malibu must retain current owners and attract new ones.

According to Perry, the Malibu's taut, more-muscular styling can extend the advantage that it already has among female buyers. Chevrolet has also signed a partnership deal with New York fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi to launch a fashion line, "Malibu Style," to be released this fall. The "Malibu State of Mind" campaign could also mean a new start for or what many dealers perceive as an understated launch of the redesigned Malibu.

Bryan Nesbitt, executive director for GM exterior design and Chevrolet Brand Champion, remarked that the exterior of the new Chevrolet Malibu inherits the design genes of its Camaro and Corvette siblings.

Donning a sporty design usually not found in the family sedan segment, the new Malibu has a wheelbase that is around 4.5 inches (114 mm) shorter than its predecessor. Its front and rear tracks – measuring 62 inches (1,574 mm), are also over 2 inches (51 mm) wider than the previous model. The aggressiveness of the Malibu’s new design is marked by its wide stance and broad shoulders, as well as by its integrated spoiler on the rear.

This aggressiveness is also marked by Chevrolet's dual-port grille as flanked by projector HID headlamps. The rear end features Camaro-inspired LED dual-element tail lamps, while larger Chevrolet bow-tie badges are now found both on the front and rear. Completing the exterior appearance is a lineup of elegant wheels with diameters of 17, 18 and 19 inches.

Aside from just looking aggressive, the exterior of the new is also very aerodynamic. Chevrolet expects the Malibu to be certified by SAE as one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in its segment, having a coefficient of drag (Cd) value close to that of the Chevrolet Volt (.280 Cd). The aerodynamic efficiency is thanks to the fact that around 60 counts of wind drag has been removed from the new Malibu, as made possible by its new design and shape.

Adding to the superior aerodynamic efficiency of the new Chevrolet Malibu are its electronically controlled and integrated active aero shutters (only selected models in North America), which could help improve its fuel economy sans any considerable changes in its exterior design.

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