GM to retire Chevrolet Malibu to make more electric vehicles

GM to retire Chevrolet Malibu to make more electric vehicles

General Motors announced Wednesday that it will stop making the Chevrolet Malibu, the last affordable sedan in its U.S. model lineup and a venerable brand introduced in the 1960s, when the company was a dominant force in the U.S. economy.

For years, American drivers have been moving toward sport utility vehicles and away from sedans, compacts and hatchbacks. GM’s two Detroit rivals, Stellantis and Ford Motor, have also largely wiped their car slates clean in the United States.

Foreign automakers such as Toyota, Honda and Hyundai still sell hundreds of thousands of sedans and compacts each year, but far fewer than in previous decades, when the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord were among the most popular vehicles. popular on American roads. Last month, Subaru, a Japanese automaker, announced that it would stop manufacturing its Legacy sedan next year.

GM produces the Malibu at a plant in Fairfax, Kansas, and will continue making the car until the end of the year, when it plans to retool the plant to make a new version of the Chevrolet Bolt, a electric car, and the Cadillac XT4. , a luxury SUV

Consumers have been moving away from cars in favor of roomier SUVs and pickup trucks for transporting children and recreational equipment like bikes and kayaks. Automakers have contributed to this trend by offering more, larger vehicles, which generate higher profits than sedans and compacts.

The Malibu was introduced in 1964 as a premium family sedan. Four years later, GM added a sporty and muscular version: the Malibu SS. GM stopped making the Malibu in 1983 as the company was forced to scale back operations in the face of growing foreign competition. It reintroduced the Malibu in 1997, but the model almost always lagged behind the Camry and Accord in sales.

Since its introduction, GM has sold more than 10 million Malibus. But sales have fallen in recent years. In 2023, GM sold 130,000 Malibus and deliveries fell 47% in the last three months of the year. A decade earlier, GM typically sold around 200,000 Malibus a year.

In 2023, GM announced it would stop production of the Chevrolet Camaro, a sports car. It continues to manufacture the Chevrolet Corvette. Its Cadillac brand makes two gas-powered sedans and plans to start selling a premium electric car this year. All other models GM makes for the US market are now trucks or SUVs.

Several years ago, Ford eliminated sedans from its lineup. The Mustang is the only car made by Ford for the American market. Chrysler owner Stellantis is now primarily focused on trucks, SUVs and minivans, although the company has announced it will begin making an electric version of its Dodge Challenger muscle car in 2025.

The Malibu could of course return one day, perhaps as an electric vehicle. Automakers have often resurrected and reused old model names, especially those fondly remembered by buyers.

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Mattie B. Jiménez

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