When GM launches the 2008 Malibu this fall, look for it to go directly after the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Mark LaNeve, GM's sales, service, and marketing VP, says GM will be laying out the reasons why it feels the Malibu is better than its competition in the new ad campaign. We hope to see the fur start to fly in the bread-and-butter sedan arena, with response ads upping the ante before being met with another challenge. LaNeve acknowledges that it will be a hard battle to pry backsides out of the Camry or Accord (especially with an all-new version of the latter), but GM's got an excellent car in the new Malibu. The assault on the incumbent evergreen models is already going on over in Saturn stores, where GM's actually placed the competitor's cars in the showroom next to the award winning Aura.

Customer research has told GM that import owners would be persuaded to buy a different brand that is as good or better than their current car, but only actual results will prove the hypothesis. One possible bone of contention is residual value, where the well-burnished reputation of the segment leaders has them holding on to nearly 50 percent of their original sticker after three years, versus about 35 percent for the Malibu. Instead of buying a car based on how much you can get for it in three years, we suggest you buy a car you're happy with, and we see a lot that's encouraging in the new Malibu. Heck, you might even want to keep it after it's paid off -- imagine that! Besides, if the car lives up to the expectations GM is whipping up for it, resale values will rise as word spreads. We can't wait to try one.

[Source: Automotive News]

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