Skip to comments.GM takes aim at Toyota Camry and Honda Accord with new Malibu
Posted on 09/28/2007 6:17:37 AM PDT by vietvet67
DETROIT: General Motors solved one problem this week by reaching a deal with the United Automobile Workers. Now it hopes its new Chevrolet Malibu will help solve another - winning sales and market share back from its Japanese rivals.
For years, family sedans have been a lower priority for GM and the other Detroit automakers. They focused instead on big trucks and sport utility vehicles, which earned tidy profits, while letting Toyota and Honda dominate the less-lucrative market for cars.
But the best days for those big vehicles have passed, and GM is eager to break the Asian stranglehold on midsize sedans, with a redesigned Chevrolet Malibu set to go on sale Nov. 2 that it views as its most important vehicle in years.
The company is spending $100 million to introduce the new "Bu," as executives call it, significantly more than it has for any other car in recent memory. It has to invest heavily, experts say, in order to make a dent in the market led by the Toyota Camry, the country's best-selling car for the past seven years, and the Honda Accord.
"It's tough to get the broad American public to reconsider an American car in that price class," the vice chairman of GM, Robert Lutz, said at an industry conference in northern Michigan last month. "The Camry and the Accord have established, and justifiably so, such strong brand value, which means that you've got to have a really outstanding car."
While the Malibu may be improved, so is its competition. This month, Honda began selling a redesigned Accord sedan that is bigger, more powerful and more luxurious than previous versions. The Camry and Nissan Altima were also overhauled last year.
(Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...
Uh, the guys commenting on the styling.
The LeSabre chassis is something like 23 years old, the 3800/3.8L/231 is about 40 years old, and GM is just *now* working most of the bugs out of it?
There’s a reason (actually, many reasons) why they’re so cheap.
Meanwhile, over at Toyota, the 3.5L engine in the Camry produces 268 horsepower and gets 28mpg highway. At Nissan, their 3.5L produces 270hp in the Altima and gets about the same mileage as you do.
220hp from a 3.8L is just weak these days.
You left out engineering and design. I also own two Toyotas and will be sticking with them until Toyota gives me a reason to quit buying them.
The 1964 Malibu had an SS version with a 396ci engine which to this day is still my all time favorite muscle car. If they could take this same Malibu and have options from a 4 cylinder engine that gets over 35 mpg to a small V8 that blows everything else off the road, they might have something. Also, they might take some time and make sure it handles and feels as well as a Camry or Accord before they go too far with my ideas :)
I’m still in love with my 1965 Malibu 2 door hardtop. As far as I’m concerned, that was the best styled Malibu Chevy has ever made.
You wish. There’s two guys at the end of the Suburban/Yukon line in Arlington, TX whose entire job is to remove all the trash that the workers throw in the vehicle as it goes down the line. And I’ve personally seen new 2007 GMs that were missing parts.
Remember, at GM, the *UAW* runs quality control on the line.
I’ll consider buying a Chevrolet when the brand can be mentioned in polite conversation without snickering, snorts and guffaws or when Hell freezes over, whichever comes first. (Your mileage may vary.)
Im still in love with my 1965 Malibu 2 door hardtop. As far as Im concerned, that was the best styled Malibu Chevy has ever made.
Sales domination? Erm... not so much. IIRC, the sales leaders in that segment are still *not* the Lambda cars.
GM’s 5/60 is powertrain only. The Koreans have 10/100 Powertrain, 5/60 Bumper-to-bumper.
Chrysler has a lifetime powertrain warranty.
How about 5.7L engine failure recalls with the new Toyota Tundra truck, or catastrophic steering column failurs with the new Toyota Avalon sedan? There is a price to pay in quality, when sales volume is pursued above all else, and Toyota has been guilty of that, according to certian executives with Toyota itself. This is coming from someone who drove Toyotas for twenty years. I don't like the styling of the newest Toyota models, which ranges from bland to peculiar, especially the Tacoma. I owned and loved Tacomas for many years, but didn't care for the looks of them after the 2000 model year, the last one I purchased.
I’ve had two Malibus on lease and the only problem I ever had was that one needed new brake pads before I turned it in after three years.
Quality car, but the previous generatio of styling went to a bulky, boxy shape that wasn’t impressive. The hatchback model was even worse.
Either way, they’re quality cars.
“GM already offers a 5yr, 100,000 mile warranty.”
That’s on the powertrain only.
This is incorrect, it's 5 year, 100,000 miles. I should know, I just bought an '08 GMC model.
You are probably correct. The old standard sixes for GM cars were the 3.1L and 3.8L. IIRC, they only offered the 3.8 as an option in the Lumina for a short time because of transmission problems created by excessive stresses from the larger engine. The 3.1 was the “standard” for the Lumina.
The newer GM V-6 engines are the 3.5, 3.6, and 3.9. They would be smart to offer the 3.6 as an option in the new Malibu. We’ll see.
You made the same choice that a lot of others did. The Sonata is a great car, and a great bargain.
Who’s going to be stupid enough to buy this Mali-boooo when the Sonata’s there with a lower price, better design, and a much better warranty?
“GMs 5/60 is powertrain only.
This is incorrect, it’s 5 year, 100,000 miles. I should know, I just bought an ‘08 GMC model.”
Right, but their bumper to bumper remains at 3 years/36,000.
Mrs. riverdawg drives a Buick Park Avenue with the supercharged 3800 V-6. (I’m confident she is the youngest person in town driving a Park Avenue ... by 30 years.) This was a hand-me-down from her father. We’ve had minimal trouble with it for 7 years - new brake pads and a new driver’s-side window switch. Our daily workhorse, though, is a Toyota Highlander. When we last shopped eighteen months ago for a new vehicle, we tried to keep an open mind and looked at various GM and Nissan products. After a few test drives, we quickly narrowed the field to Toyotas and Hondas.
Oh, my LeSabre isn't the most recent version, nor does it have the most powerful 3800 that GM makes. I will grant you that the current Altima and Camry are better cars than my LeSabre, but they're not at my price point either.
And that's important, because I can't afford the Altima or the Camry.
What car-based CUV model, or models on the same platform, outsells the combined GM Lambda trio of GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave?
OK, 5/100 (mistyped that), but 5/100 is still powertrain only.
Most people won’t go 100K in five years (national average of about 10k miles per year). They will, however, do it in 10 years. Many people find it telling that GM isn’t willing to match the time period of the Korean warranties. Essentially, the message they’re sending is that after 5 years or 100K, they expect the car to fall apart.
The software “does” whatever the designers tell it to do. GM just has crappy designers, and then they filter through the concept trying to make it appeal to everyone, which means it appeals to no one. It’s like the 90’s mustangs, they were softened to appeal to women, but then women didn’t like them because they were not cool and looked like every other blob car. How many women do you see driving the more masculine new mustang? Tons.
My recently aquired 95 Jaguar XJR shipped with a better warranty than that - 4/50 bumper to bumper - in 1995.
Nothing like being accused of being ‘the lowest common denominator’ - geez!
SMART people (exponential numerator types) buy Camry’s and Accords.
“My recently aquired 95 Jaguar XJR shipped with a better warranty than that - 4/50 bumper to bumper - in 1995.”
My Mazda 3 has a 4 year/48,000 mile warranty. 3 years/36,000 miles is really outdated when cars can go 100,000 between tune ups.
Jaguar certainly needed an aggressive warranty, to overcome their rightfully acquired reputation for nightmarish quality issues, same as Hyundai.
Lexus RX/Toyota Harrier/Toyota Highlander. Sorry about that.
“Oh, I completely agree. The styling on the imports have been just as boring and uninspiring.
There have been a few American models that stand out (Ford Mustang, Ford Fusion, Chrysler 300, Cadillac STS) but, for the most part, they have all the styling of a jellybean.”
The shame of it is, GM and Ford have some pretty nice looking cars for the European market that for whatever reason they don’t sell here.
GM does as well, yet they don’t have one.
SMART people minimize their expenses on transportation, which is a cost center, not an investment. Camrys and Accords will do that, but the up-front cost is considerable. Consumer Report will tell you how to manage it at a lower price point.
No, we’re all the lowest common denominator.
I live in my home, not my car, and I prefer something efficient, reliable, safe, and comfortable for the occasional long trip. I don’t care too much about styling, though I do think the average sedan (Accord/Camry/Altima) looks nice enough.
I’m reminded of the people in high school who lived in a three-room trailer but had a pair of shiny new Trans Ams parked out front.
Do you find it "telling" that no one else offers it, either? The Korean makes have made tremendous strides in less than a decade, as far as build quality and styling, but the truth is, resale is hideous on Hyundais and Kias. It becomes absolute bargain basement, after that vaunted warranty expires. That warranty was a necessity, in order to overcome the resistance to an off-brand make, as well as the really crappy first generation Hyundais with the cardboard interior door panels.
The overall proportions are beetle like and rather doughy. There is no integration of either the tail or headlights aside from their outer edges following the adjacent fender contours.
The wide, smooth surfaces devoid of surface development are intended to appeal to a risk averse mentality, making the odd front fender bulges look all the more tacked on.
The front grille is a really inspired egg-crate affair that just reeks cutting edge, and the slight curve above the badge seems like another tacked on detail.
In fairness to Toyota, any car designed to be the best selling model in America cannot afford to take any risks. However, I would never nominate the very vanilla Camry as anything approaching a prime example of automotive design. The Altima, on the other hand, has been very well designed for a while now, lest anyone accuse me of bias against the Japanese.
“Do you find it “telling” that no one else offers it, either?”
Toyota and Honda have a reputation for quality, so they’re not under the same pressure to up their basic warranties. Like Hyundai and Kia, GM has to make strides in convincing people their cars will go the distance. So while the 100,000 mile powertrain is a step in the right direction, GM’s basic warranty of 3 year/36,000 miles is still insufficient.
I’m with you. I just bought an 84 BMW 6-series coupe for $4k, and it is so worth it. You couldn’t pay me to drive an Accord or a Camry or whatever this nondescript new Chevrolet thing is.
Not while it’s in the shop!
That particular Jag XJ model was panned in the European press, for having way too much American influence from parent company, Ford Motor Co. They particularly disliked the front end restyle, comparing it to a Mondeo (Contour in the US).
Here’s what one writer had to say:
“I happen to like vanilla ice cream. Especially those premium kinds from the companies with the fancy names. But “vanilla” has another meaning in Webster’s Dictionary. If you look it up, the word “vanilla” is also listed as an adjective with descriptions like “lacking distinction”, “plain” and “ordinary”.
Many people use that adjective to describe the Toyota Camry. It may be the quintessential family sedan, but it is also a prime example of a plain, ordinary, generic car. People who buy a Toyota Camry do so because they feel it is a safe choice. They know that it is a car that does everything right, lasts seemingly forever with only basic maintenance, and doesn’t call attention to itself. Camry owners think of themselves as sensible people with good taste who make smart buying decisions. They are generally not automotive enthusiasts and consider their car as another appliance just like their refrigerator or vacuum cleaner.”
The fact is that mass market products ARE designed for the lowest common dominator. That does not mean the car is not well designed, but simply that it is designed to be bland. Previous Camrys were just that but I think that Toyota’s designers took it one step further with the latest incarnation. it is not hideous, IMHO, but just a tad homely this time.
And these damned windshields ... ya sit up straight, all you can see is the sun visors. There's enough room from the firewall back under these slanty windshileds to put another bench seat!
Put out a $15,000 turbo diesel sedan with ABS, A/C, Rear wheel drive with a decent transmission and American cars could take back the world and raise fleet mileage to 35 mpg.
OK, Honda Accord is great car. But Mom doesn't need a $30,000 120 mph cruiser to go to COSTCO!
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