GM rushed restyling of 2014 Chevrolet Malibu to boost sales

Article by Anita Panait, on June 5, 2013

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.

Chevrolet has officially unveiled a more efficient execution of its well-known midsize sedan. The 2014 Malibu has also been made more refined with available room made larger. In addition to a redesigned interior and an updated style, this new offering also shows improvements on the suspension and is fitted, as standard, with the 2.5-liter engine.

Because of the way the seats have been redesign, the interior now offers greater space for the rear seat resulting in greater comfort. Meanwhile, Chevrolet also made changes to the front seatbacks, shaping it to enhance the knee room for the rear seat. Still on the rear seat, the addition of new cushion sculpturing combined with the revised cushion material allows the passengers to be able to sit deeper. Chevrolet revealed that around 0.5 inch was removed from the front of the cushion of the rear seat.

This resulted in proving even greater comfort behind the occupant’s legs. On the outside, the front end has been redesigned as well with a look that is clearly inspired by the new Impala. As such, it makes the brand’s sedan lineup have that more cohesive appearance. Meanwhile, the front fascia has a lower grille that is more pronounced with the hood extending down and going over the narrow upper grille’s leading edge. Aside from having a black grille texture, the grille openings are now wider and have a chrome accent.

General Motors North America President Mark Reuss revealed that the 2014 Malibu makes full use of the advantages present under the 2013 Malibu. This makes it a stronger choice for its customers, he continued. Considering that the midsize sedan segment is highly competitive, he added, the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu shows that the brand is more than ready to take its rivals. Sales of the 2014 Malibu are expected to begin by the fall of 2013.

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