Chevrolet rolls out midsized Malibu sedan as brand’s flagship sedan in Europe

Article by Christian A., on May 26, 2012

Chevrolet is delivering the midsized Malibu sedan in the European region as its flagship as part of the attempts of General Motors Co. to extend its product lineup in the continent beyond its low-priced small and minicars offerings. The Malibu will be available in German showrooms in July, offered for as low as 29,990 euros or $37,395.

The vehicle model will be offered with a 160 hp, 2-0 liter diesel or a 167 hp, 2.4-liter gasoline engine. This sedan fills the gap in the European region that Epica has left. However, this will not be a big seller for Chevrolet. According to a company spokesperson, the vehicle is considered as a "niche model." The Malibu is based on the Epsilon II platform of GM that also supports the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. 

In Germany, the Malibu has a price of 500 less compared to the equivalent Insignia which has the same diesel engine. However, the Malibu has a higher specification, Chevrolet revealed. Confirmed standard features available in the German models are touchscreen satellite navigation for the diesel-powered vehicles and keyless entry and leather seats for the higher spec gasoline variant. The Malibu is already being sold in Switzerland and Austria

It is also set to roll out in other markets in the next months. The bestselling vehicles of Chevrolet in Europe are the Aveo subcompact and the Spark minicar. As the company seeks to double its sales to 1 million by 2016 in the region, including Turkey and Russia, it added the Orlando minivan and the Cruze hatchback, among other models.

The company spokesperson stated that they are "trying to establish" Chevrolet in "every market sector." At the Paris vehicle show in September, the brand will introduce a subcompact SUV called the Traxx. From January to April, Chevrolet achieved sales of nearly 67,000 vehicles in the 27 European Union countries, an increase by 14% from the same period a year before. This gave the company a 1.5 market share, the data from industry association ACEA revealed.

The new Malibu’s exterior has the same genes as the Camaro and Corvette, also part of the Chevrolet family, bringing a sportiness to family sedans, according to Bryan Nesbitt, Chevrolet’s brand champion and executive director for exterior design.

A broader stance, wider shoulders, and amalgamated rear spoiler create a new energy and a stronger look to the Malibu. Chevrolet’s new Malibu has a wheel base that is 4.5 inch (114 mm) shorter and front and rear tracks that are 62 inches (1,574 mm), which is over 2 inches (51 mm) wider than the previous model.

Additional exterior touches include Chevrolet's two-port grille, bigger rear and front Chevrolet bow-tie emblems, projector HID headlamps, and new LED two-element tail lights, which were inspired by the Camaro. Wheels that come in 17, 18, and 19 inches finish the look.

Chevrolet expects that the new Malibu exterior will be SAE certified as one of the most efficiently aerodynamic cars in its segment. Its drag coefficient (Cd) rating will be close to the Chevrolet Volt's .280 Cd. The Chevrolet engineer’s redesigned Malibu's new shape removed wind drag by 60 counts, compared to the previous model.

The Chevrolet Malibu also features electronic control integrated active aero shutters (available on certain North American models) that will improve it aerodynamically and will increase fuel efficiency, all while not sacrificing the exterior’s design.

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