• Aug 17, 2007
Click the image above for more high resolution pics of the 2008 Malibu

GM is on the precipice of launching in the next few months three of the most important cars in the entire corporation. The 2008 Corvette and Cadillac CTS have been on the cover of virtually every enthusiast magazine, and us bloggers have been providing consistent updates via the web. The third and least-covered of GM's new models is the 2008 Malibu, but GM isn't taking lightly the importance of Chevrolet's midsize sedan. It's planning on bringing the Malibu to market behind the strength of a $100m ad campaign. With the Malibu set for a November 1 sale date, expect to see plenty of TV spots, radio ads, a print and web campaign, and maybe even some billboards this fall. $100 million is a lot of money (we checked). Toyota used a similarly-sized war chest to launch the Camry last year, and we can expect the Malibu to measure itself against the midsize sales king when it arrives.

While the upgraded Corvette and CTS bring much needed credibility and cash to GM, the Malibu may be the biggest launch of the three. The midsize sedan segment is huge, and GM can add to its retail market share if the Malibu is a success. The General is even planning on cutting fleet sales by half to about 20% of overall sales, which will boost resale values and lower lease prices (or lease incentives) at the same time. While the new Vette and CTS get all the headlines, GM is smart enough to give the Malibu the lion's share of the ad dollars.

[Source: Detroit News]




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  • 25 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can't believe GM is making you wait for the 6 speed automatic and the 2.4 I4.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm guessing it's about the same size as the current Malibu, which my mom has... Um, yeah. Probably as low as the current model, too (seriously, I actually have more headroom in my G3).
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is a terrific new vehicle. It will be a home run and it's good to see that GM is putting marketing dollars behind this launch.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Can this car save GM? Every new car is a make it or break it kind of car. CTS and Corvette do not have the volume and enough profit to keep GM floating. Its all left to the Malibu to save GM..... the Malibu? How many people are in the market for a Camcorrd?

      Servicing their debt and UAW healthcare takes soo much away from new products, R&D that the General is falling far behind the Asian competition.

      Whats wrong for GM in today's world.....
      Wall Street
      They need cash, they have been selling off assets to stay afloat; Allison transmission, GMAC, etc are all off the books and keeping the cash needed for day to day operations. To bad the credit crunch is hitting Wall Street, a lot of companies rely on cheap debt to keep going...

      HealthCare Costs
      Setting up a UAW Healthcare fund for a one time payout of $20-25 billion is very expensive. Otherwise its another 6 billion this year.

      Market Share:
      GM makes too many cars for their market share. Its a problem with UAW contracts that make it more economical to make a car at a loss then not make it at all. Therefore fleet sales and bloated inventory lower resale values and further push the cars into lower and lower market shares. Its a cycle too doom.

      Brand Perception:
      A study I read about said that brand perception of GM was on a scale of 1 to 10 around a 6, while Toyota and Honda was around a 8-9. With Ford and Chrysler at around a 4-5. People just think Asian cars are better. GM has this to fight, Chrysler is doing the lifetime warranty, well because they know within 5 years the company is going to be stripped and flipped.

      Asian markets going to help the bottom line?
      Joint partnerships in China? Not anymore, the domestics there want the market for themselves, GM and others are being pushed aside. Its how to create an industry in a country, license and manufacture at home, and then the fifth stage is making your own better products. China has already done this in their weapons industry.

      Bankruptcy?
      Sounds like the future...
      The writings on the wall


        • 7 Years Ago
        While your comments are logical, it has already been said over and over since 2005. The UAW is now in the most important negociation of all of their history.

        If the negos don't bring not much changes after the contract is signed, then I will agrre with about the writing is on the wall.

        My guess is that changes will be very profound this time. UAW are stubborn, but not that stupid.
      • 7 Years Ago
      In general, the Malibu looks good. However, I just can't get past that dufus looking smiley grill.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I love the overall shape of the vehicle, but it looks kind of big for a mid-size. Maybe it will look smaller in person than in pictures.
      And hopefully the front looks more attractive in person too.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I wouldn't be surprised to see this car larger than the current Malibu because it may become Chevy's largest fwd car offering when the Impala goes rwd.

        This car should get pretty good mileage as it will be the only car in its class with an available 6 speed auto paired with a 4 cylinder. I just wonder what the point of the mild hybrid version will be.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am lost as to how anyone could rank the Fusion above this or the Aura. All three cars look good but the GM cars have 18s, better interiors, more power and stability control. I'll take the GM cars anyday.

      The Altima is solid but the current design is just a mild reworking of a 6 year old design and its not original anymore. Also dont like the afterburner tailights.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Aura looks like a good car if you confine yourself to GM's self-congratulatory press releases. The thing is, once you take this car out into the real world, it looks considerably less impressive. I'm looking to replace my Saab (it's getting costly in it's old age) and I recently drove both:
        * The Aura has some pretty glaring interior cheapness. The difference between the two is that the Fusion's photographs badly (it really is verry stark inside), where GM has taken some incredible glamour shots of the Aura. The Aura, in full daylight, isn't as impressive as the low-light night-shots make it out to be.
        * The Fusion on 17s both handles better and rides better than either Aura. I'll give you a point on stability control, though, but take away five points because of the Aura's dead-stick steering. 18s don't help this car at all. It can put up the numbers, but the Fusion "feels" better behind the wheel.
        * The Fusion's front and rear accommodations are much more comfortable. GM has this fascination with low, short rear seats that give the impression of space in photographs but aren't very comfortable in reality. The Impala is the worst for this: for such a big car, it has terrible rear seats. The Fusion has a higher hip point and longer cushions in all positions.
        *The Aura does have a good powertrain, this is true. It certainly trumps the Fusion. Of course, you can get the Fusion with a stick shift or AWD, which are nice.
        * The Aura is, really, just a reworking of the Epsilon platform, which debuted on the Malibu in 2003/2004. About the same year as the Altima and Mazda6. No prizes for chassis newness here.

        Now, this is compared to the Fusion, which is a weaker entry for the class. The Altima is, styling aside, a much better car than the Aura. You could make an argument against the Camry and Sonata as they're softer cars, but the Accord and Altima are, in holistic terms, better. I have a hard time believing that the Malibu will be that much better than the Aura, and the hoopla I"m hearing sounds like the traditional GM bluster. We heard the same about how the G6 would be "game changing" and that didn't pan out, either.

        Personally, I would take the Fusion SEL I4 with a manual. You get good mileage, good handling and good seats. It's also cheaper, and, if you believe Consumer Reports, has done exceptionally well in reliability terms.

        The Aura is pretty good ("wretched" is reserved for the Sebring) but it's not as good as it's cracked up to be. I think a lot of people who have a lot of emotional investment in GM want these cars to better than they are, and I think GM plays to that audience very well. Every professional review, though, ranks the Sonata and Fusion higher.
        • 7 Years Ago
        psarhjinian,

        In all fairness to GM, the current-generation Aura is an interim car. With guts of a Pontiac G6 and some Opel-inspired features, the 2007 iteration of the Aura is GM's first "genuine" re-entry into the competitive mid-sized car segment for many, many years. Look to 2009/10 merger of the Opel Vectra and Aura to see the real effort here.

        I think that the "professional reviewers" you speak of cannot escape their ingrained biases. The Camry/Accord/Altima are established vehicles with loyal fanbases. The Fusion (re: Mazda 6) and Aura (re: Pontiac G6) are brand new models with no name cache whatsoever. Generally, people do not trust that after years of subtandard mid-sized cars, Ford and GM would hit home runs out of the gate. Just think: What if the Toyota introduced the Camry (or Honda the Accord) for the first time in 2007, with zero history or model loyalty to build upon -- would everyone be drooling over it still? I doubt it.

        As an owner of a SE I4 Manual Fusion, I really dig it. I am in the market for something a little more Euro-hatchbacky (i.e., waiting for Saturn Astra), but I do not know if the Fusion necessarily outclasses the Aura. The Fusion's current interior is spartan, mirroring the Mazda 6. What I do know is that the Altima outshines neither of them. It is a plasticky car that lacks, in my opinion, any solidness or elegance. At least the Fusion has this interesting minimalist look with excellent HANDLING and fuel efficiency (thank you, Mazda). The Fusion is neat, without the faux-pretentiousness of the Altima.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Meh, GM ALWAYS boasts about their products like this... the Cobalt was suppose to be a Civic/Corolla killer. The CTS was going to take over the world, their vans were going to steal sales from Chrysler, the Aura is going to beat out the Camccord, etc... illusions of grandeur, is the term.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I have driven an Aura. The Fusion is a better car, and the Accord is better still.
        • 7 Years Ago
        This thing looks GOD awful.. the interior is the same of that in a cobalt! Maybe they should have spent some of the advert $$ in designing a quality car that will sell itself like the 3 series! (granted different catagories but same principle)
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, the term is 'delusions of grandeur'.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It seems that GM is a taking at least one page out of its 1980s playbook: share visible interior components across the brands. I remember that when my 1991 Grand Am was stolen in 1995, the police said that they were hot cars to steal, especially the radios, since the parts were all interchangealbe with other GM automobiles.

      Chevy's center console shares alot, almost too much, with the newer Saturns. The center stack looks pretty much Aura-ish (even though the Aura interior is super nice IMO). I would like to see GM's brands have different interior design aesthetics for each mark. Instead of a consumer choosing between a Camry and an Aura/Malibu -- GM is somewhat pitting the Malibu versus the Aura.

      My two cents is: share aspects among cars what consumers CANT see, rather than what they can.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Or for the same money they could give away 4500 Impala LS's and that's based on MSRP. Which wouldn't annoy us nearly half as much seeing Impala ads everywhere and it would garner great word of mouth press. Not to mention a boost in public relations. Just a thought.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does anyone think the front of this looks the Camry? From the front and the side it looks bloated just the current Camry
      • 7 Years Ago
      meh. i'd probably agree and say it's akin to the older impala in terms of size, just from pics and driving past an aura, but i just, well, meh. doesn't make me want to line up at my chevy dealership at all, but i can't think of a chevy that currently does (that i can afford)
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