2013 Chevrolet Malibu leaked
GM briefly offered a mild hybrid Malibu in 2009 to retail customers, selling a few to fleets in 2010.
The new four-door will sport aero shutters like those in the Cruze, on a special high-fuel-economy model. The shutters block airflow when it's not needed to cool the engine; the air is managed around the vehicle to improve aerodynamics, which GM says is already a Malibu highlight.
Worldwide domination planned
The 2013 Malibu will be sold in the U.S. in three trim levels: LS, LT, and LTZ. Top versions will offer new infotainment systems, including a navigation system.
Chevy's MyLink also will be featured on the sedan. Like similar systems from Ford and Toyota, MyLink brings apps to the car's secondary systems. Audio apps like Pandora are integrated into the system so the driver's cell phone can deliver an audio stream that gives an alternative--or replaces--services like XM satellite radio.
Bluetooth audio streaming is bundled in along with those services, but GM hasn't said whether it will explore adding Twitter services to MyLink, as Ford is doing with its SYNC system.
GM has plans for worldwide growth for the Malibu name. It's committed to build the sedan in the U.S. and China, and will sell the new Malibu on every continent except for Antarctica--in 100 countries, in all.
Production for American buyers begins early in 2012 at two plants in the U.S.--at the Hamtramck, Michigan, plant where the 2011 Chevy Volt also is built, and at the GM plant in Fairfax, Kansas.
The current Chevy Malibu was named North American Car of the Year when it was introduced for the 2008 model year, and since then, it's become one of General Motors' sales pillars. Chevy sold 198,770 Malibu sedans in 2010, ranking alongside the likes of the Hyundai Sonata (196,623 sales), Ford Fusion (219,219 units), and Nissan Altima (229,263 units), though behind the sales titans among family sedans--the Toyota Camry (327,804 units) and the Honda Accord (311,381 units).