start your engines
Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2012 03:02 PM
The timing would be great for Chevrolet to be pushing a hot new car. GM sales were up in August, renewing hope for a continuation of the company's recent momentum. And the Chevy Volt continues to get shellacked for high development and manufaturing costs, low sales, and desperate incentives to sell the units that do move — a critique the automaker refutes.
But according to the automotive cognescenti, the Chevy Malibu Eco just isn't up to the challenge of delivering another winning product for GM in a sequence to follow the Chevy Cruze and Sonic models, which are smaller. (Chevy is also launching a new, tiny Spark nameplate this fall.) Eco's raison d'etre appears to be a "mild hybrid" drivetrain that includes an electric motor to give mileage a boost — but which, unfortunately, doesn't deliver much by way of fuel efficiency, compared with competitors, and is accompanied by a smaller wheelbase and cramped rear seats.
So while wanting to credit GM for bringing out yet another version of a fuel-sipping hybrid, auto critics just can't bring themselves to praise the car. The Malibu several years ago was seen as one of the first hallmarks of a much-improved new-product regime at GM, so reviewers had higher hopes for a "regular" version of the new nameplate than what they feel Chevrolet delivered.
Still, it's business as usual, so GM is touting the 2013 Malibu in a new "Malibu State of Mind" TV campaign featuring brand voice Tim Allen, at top and below.