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Chevy Announces New Malibu - Shanghai Auto Show

April 18, 2011

If you were watching Dinah Shore or Bonanza in the early 60's, you know Chevrolet and its product are inexorably tied to the heartland of America. And its Malibu, first introduced to the US as a derivative of the midsize Chevelle, is as close to the automotive equivalent of nine innings as you'll probably find. The times, however, they are a changin' – and so is the global automotive community. If you need any further proof of same, take Chevrolet's launch of a now-global Malibu with simultaneous introductions on Monday night in both China and the United States.

With plans to market its new 2013 Malibu in almost 100 countries, this truly constitutes a worldwide debut. And with global ambitions, the new design mandates a new footprint, with a wheelbase some 4.5 inches shorter than its predecessor, while its 62-inch track (front and rear) is more than two inches wider. And that widened track will roll on a selection of 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels.

Exterior sheetmetal is one of the most aerodynamic ever offered by Chevy, coming very close to the .28 drag coefficient rating of the slippery Chevrolet Volt. And while Chevrolet claims that sheetmetal carries DNA from the Camaro and Corvette, we'll simply report the dual-port grille, more prominent badging and dual-element taillights. An integrated rear spoiler says goodbye to the unwashed masses – in either Shanghai or Shreveport.

Under the hood US customers will find an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a next-gen six-speed automatic. With twin-cam heads, direct injection and continuously variable valve timing, the engine is estimated to generate more than 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed auto is engineered to enhance efficiency at highway speeds while retaining responsiveness under hard acceleration. Notably, no other powertrains for the US were mentioned at the time of the announcement; global markets will enjoy a range of four and six cylinder engines running on gas, diesel or propane, and connected to either manual or automatic transmissions.

Inside, customers across the globe will find more room. Interior volume grows by almost four cubic feet, and that more expansive space includes more shoulder and hip room. Framed by an all-new dual cockpit design, the Malibu's interior will provide metallic, chrome or wood accents, ice blue ambient lighting, exposed ice blue contrast stitching and an assemblage of soft-touch and textured surfacing.

At the announcement, Chevrolet's vice president of marketing, Rick Scheidt, spoke to today's Malibu, as well as the newest derivative. "The current Malibu has left an award-winning impression and changed the way people think about Chevrolet. This all-new Malibu delivers on the intangibles of today's Malibu but gives customers even more style, fuel efficiency, content and features…with dynamic capabilities rivaling high-end sedans."

The 2013 Malibu will go on sale in early 2012. It will be built in multiple locations around the globe. US production will be done in both Fairfax, Kansas and Detroit, Michigan.

DAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Chevy Announces New Malibu - Shanghai Auto Show - Autotrader