Chevrolet is launching a full-scale marketing campaign for its 2014 Malibu that is arriving this week at dealerships, as the carmaker aims to avoid the failure that afflicted the 2013 model. During a media drive, Chevrolet’s U.S. marketing chief Chris Perry, remarked that they are looking at the campaign an all-new launch, adding that they are making the investment to make the 2014 Malibu a success.
However, Chevrolet’s move is unusual, given that the 2014 Malibu is considered as a so-called mid-cycle enhancement, which usually comes around three years after the launch of a redesigned model. In case of the Malibu, Chevrolet parent General Motors reengineered that vehicle two years early, prompted by the sagging sales of the mid-sized sedan.
While Perry refused to divulge how much General Motors has allocated for the 2014 Malibu campaign, he said that the amount would be similar to a typical marketing rollout for a next-generation product.
GM introduced the redesigned 2013 Malibu with an Eco mild-hybrid model in early 2012, and brought a volume 2.5-liter version in late summer that year. The 2014 version of the mid-sized sedan now features a new front fascia and improved interior that boasts of a roomier back seat.
The 2014 Malibu is now loaded with a stop-start system and other powertrain improvements, thereby boosting fuel economy on the base 2.5-liter engine to 25 mpg city and 36 highway.
It also boasts of a "text to voice" feature that converts incoming text messages and reads them over the car's audio system. The driver can make a reply by selecting from preset list of responses. Chevrolet started airing the first ads for the 2014 Malibu on October 7 during the coverage of the baseball playoffs.
Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, remarked that the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu builds on the strengths of the 2013 iteration, thereby making it a stronger option for customers. He noted that since the midsize sedan segment is one of the most competitive in the auto industry, Chevrolet wouldn’t sit still with the 2014 Malibu.
The revised front end of the new Malibu takes its cue from the all-new Impala, thereby allowing Chevrolet’s sedan lineup to sport a more familiar and more cohesive appearance. The front end is defined by a bonnet extending down to the leading edge of the upper grille, as complemented by a new, more prominent lower grille. The black textured grille now features wider grille openings, as accentuated with chrome.
Meanwhile, the interior of the new Malibu features redesigned seats that allow rear passengers to better access the rear cabin and then sit in greater comfort. Chevrolet has shaped the front seatbacks for enhanced rear-seat knee room and revised the cushion material and sculpturing to enable rear passengers to sit deeper. Rear passengers now also enjoy greater leg comfort, thanks to the fact that around half an inch was trimmed from the front of the rear seat cushion.
In addition, the armrest on the redesigned center console is now longer, allowing for greater comfort. The center console now also features a pair of cup holders as well as dedicated storage for two mobile phones.