A new report says General Motors has decided against producing a coupe version of the forthcoming 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. We don't know how far into the development process a two-door Malibu made it, but renderings of the car were shown to journalists last week. When queried, however, GM design chief Ed Welburn told Inside Line, "A Malibu coupe could be a pretty nice car, but it is not in the plan right now."
GM introduced the new Malibu at the 2011 New York Auto Show, and has said it intends the car to be a truly global product sold in 100 countries. Shorter and wider than the old model, the new Malibu's proportions would have certainly lent themselves to a two-door – and we'd be lying if we said it wouldn't warm our hearts to see a "Chevelle" badge on the decklid.
Alas, the coupe market isn't what it once was, and Chevy clearly has other plans for positioning the car. A 38-mile-per-gallon Eco model was also announced at the New York introduction, taking advantage of GM's eAssist mild hybrid system currently used in the Buick line to improve the Malibu's fuel economy by five mpg compared to the 2012 model.
All standard 2013 Malibu's will be powered by a new 190-horsepower, 2.5-liter, direct injection four-cylinder. This may have influenced the decision against a coupe, which would have demanded a sportier engine. Also likely playing into Chevy's thinking is an increasingly crowded brand lineup. With new nameplates like the Sonic and Spark joining the one-year-old Cruze and Volt, Chevy sales and marketing has quite a lot on its plate already.