The Chevrolet Malibu continues to do better than GM expected: the General moved 12,172 of the new model in December 2007, a 6.7% improvement over the same month last year. There are two factories currently building the car, and demand for the 2007 North American Car of the Year finalist is such that dealers still can't get enough of them.

It's a long way from the "we only expected to sell 500 Malibus in November" malarkey. The mid-sized segment champions probably aren't worried just yet, but they'll be watching. In December of '07, Toyota sold 38,831 Camrys, Honda sold 31,255 Accords, and Nissan sold 25,171 Altimas. The lack of Malibu inventory makes a good marketing and perception case, but GM won't want it to go on too long. The segment -- represented by what one Autoblog commenter called the "Camcordimabu" -- is highly competitive, and those buyers don't like to be told "Try us back in a month and we'll see if we can get you one."

Analysts say that what happens over the next few months will tell the tale. But really, this is about the next few years; the Camry and Accord have been doing around a thousand units a day, each, every single day for years. The Malibu will need to show it has that kind of endurance, and this is a good way to start. Still, GM better have a plan B in place to build as many Malibus as the market demands if it has any aspirations at all of swiping the Camry's title of Best-Selling Car in the U.S.

[Source: Seattle Times]

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