The coronavirus is on its way to claiming another victim in the automotive world: the Chevrolet Malibu. In this case, it’s more precise to say that while it won't be directly responsible for its demise, but it could well precipitate it.
Like every other company, GM is looking for novel ways to save money. And when the axe comes out, the first victims are the models that are the least successful.As you may have guessed, the Malibu is one of them.
Not long ago, Chevrolet had decided it wanted to update the model around 2023, and retire it after the 2025 model-year. Now it appears that the axe will fall in 2022-2023 that its disappearance will take place.
Chevrolet is accelerating the cancellation of the Malibu in order to mitigate the financial devastation caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent report. And so another sedan will bite the dust.
Ending production earlier than planned will allow GM to focus on more-profitable and -popular vehicles, namely in the SUV and pickup truck formats. It will also be able to allocate more money to the development of the new generation of electric vehicles that’s on the way.
Chevrolet has not commented on the report, but generally sources cited by the GM Authority website have proven reliable.
Sales of the Malibu dropped to 131,917 units in 2019, down 8.7% from 2018. For some context, the model ended the year about 35,000 units ahead of the Ford Fusion (which is also about to retire), but comfortably ahead of the Kia Optima. Meanwhile, even the segment's guns suffered setbacks: the Honda Accord saw its sales drop by 8%, which is about equal to the segment average, while the Toyota Camry fared relatively well, suffering a decline of nearly 2%.
Given this reality, it would be surprising to see Chevrolet come out with a 10th-generation Malibu. As a rule, when a product is in the works, we hear about it. Right now, there’s radio silence regarding the Malibu, and that doesn't bode well.