On Wednesday, General Motors Co. announced that it will premiere the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu at the 2015 New York International Auto Show in April.
GM released a teaser photo that reveals the silhouette of the forthcoming car. The image hints a sleeker styling, something GM’s global design chief has confirmed in a statement. According to Ed Welburn, the new Malibu benefits from a sleeker profile thanks to a roofline that extends downward. The car also features a more sculpted body, which gives it a more sophisticated look.
GM changed more than the Malibu’s shape. The company implied that they went back to the drawing board with the new model, saying that they used a “blank slate approach.”
GM clearly addressed the main issues with the outgoing Malibu. The automaker revealed that the new Malibu will ride on a brand new architecture, one that gives the sedan a wheelbase that is four inches longer than the model it replaces. This means that the 2016 model will offer more interior space and rear legroom, which the current Malibu is unable to provide.
Weight was another issue with the current model, so GM put the new one on a diet. Despite being longer, the new Malibu is lighter than its predecessor. It weighs 300 pounds less than the 2015 version. Because it is lighter, the 2016 Malibu is expected to boast better handling and improved fuel economy.
GM also said that the upcoming sedan will be more efficient, and will offer more in terms of connectivity and safety technologies. The Detroit auto giant did not offer powertrain details, but promised to share more information each week leading up to the Malibu’s global debut.
The “rebirth” of the Chevrolet Malibu was a necessary move for both GM and its Bowtie brand. The sedan failed to be a hit when it was introduced for the 2013 model year, mainly because of its dull front-end styling and cramped rear seat. GM refreshed the Malibu with key improvements, but these were not enough to boost sales. The Malibu placed sixth in the mid-size sedan sales race in 2014, trailing behind the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion. It sold 188,519 units last year, down 6 percent compared to the previous year. It was the only one in the top seven mid-size sedans that reported a sales drop.
GM will reveal the 2016 Malibu alongside another next-generation Chevrolet model—the Spark city car. The Malibu is expected to arrive in showrooms at the end of the year.
Photo credit: © General Motors CC BY-NC