Executives at General Motors are already talking about the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu even around year before it is rolled out to the market. Typically, auto executives publicly discuss a future model closer to its launch, simply because it may affect the enthusiasm as well as demand for the current iteration.
In case of the Malibu, however, GM executives don’t worry about dampening the demand and enthusiasm for the current version, as its sales and market share has been in decline since its redesign for MY2013. So far this year, Malibu sales Chevrolet has been trying to revive Malibu sales by offering $3,500 in cash discount and a $189-per-month, $1,369-down lease, according to Kelley Blue Book.
The Malibu has been considered as the weak link in Chevrolet’s product lineup and GM is hoping the next-generation model would fix that weakness. With such situation, GM has been in a hurry to roll out the next-generation Malibu to market about a year from now – which would be faster than the usual cycle for the carmaker. Aside from that, GM executives are already raring to talk about the next Malibu.
"We've got our act together here on the midsize-car segment," Mark Reuss, GM's product development chief, said while showing an image of the next Malibu during an investor presentation in October. Back then, Reuss vowed that the next Malibu would have "groundbreaking design but also groundbreaking technology."
During the same conference, GM chief financial officer Chuck Stevens remarked that the next iterations of the Malibu and Cruze would cost less to build but command higher transaction prices that should result to around $800 million in improved variable profit in 2016. Not to be outdone, GM global design chief Ed Welburn told Automotive News in an interview this month that the next Malibu will "make a significant statement" with "a very passionate design."
The Chevrolet Malibu ECO and all 2013 Malibu models are provided with aerodynamic designs, allowing them to feature a coefficient of drag value near to that of the Chevrolet Volt EV. In fact, aerodynamic design engineers worked to get rid of around 60 counts of wind drag from the new Malibu. To achieve this, Chevrolet had the Malibu spend hundreds of hours in GM's wind tunnel. Here, engineers strived to fine-tune the car’s form to optimize fuel efficiency. For instance, the front corners of the new Malibu were shaped in such a way that air flows uninterrupted along the body sides to its rear end.
Interestingly, the new Malibu ECO features an active shutter system in the lower grille, making it one of the first vehicles in the midsize segment. When airflow is least required, the active shutter system could automatically shut down airflow at the lower intake opening. This way, the airflow is redirected to around the front and down the sides, thereby enhancing the vehicle’s aerodynamic performance. This system opens or closes depending on the engine speed and the coolant temperature. For instance, shutters open during hot city driving or when the engine rpm is high while pulling a trailer. Likewise, the shutters close when the vehicle is moving at highway speeds.
Aside from these aerodynamic elements, the new Chevrolet Malibu ECO also features outside rearview mirrors that have been designed for optimal aerodynamic efficiency as well as rear lamps that been shaped to offer great aerodynamics without sacrificing looks. Likewise, the new Chevrolet Malibu ECO is provided with four panels that cover around 50 percent of its underbody, providing a clean airflow under the vehicle. Moreover, Chevrolet has provided the Malibu ECO with standard 17-inch wheels wrapped in low-rolling-resistance tires.