The next Chevrolet Malibu is going global. The company has just released this first teaser video and image along with news that the car will debut not in New York but at the Shanghai Motor Show on April 18.
The Malibu, previously a North American car only, will become GM’s latest global car in its eighth generation and the Chevrolet brand’s first global midsize sedan. Chevrolet says the next Malibu will be sold in 100 countries on six continents and built at multiple plants around the world. The Malibu, Chevrolet says, was designed for a global audience with “European-inspired driving characteristics,” which should mean sporty handling.
As you can see, this global influence also means sporty appearance. While you can see the evolution from the current-generation Malibu to the new car, the 2013 Malibu is less round and swoopy and more sharp and edgy. The general shape of the headlights and two-bar grille remain, but are bolder and protrude more from the body. Character lines along the hood and doors are more pronounced, as are the car’s hips and big wheels. The rear end draws clear influence from the Camaro with its squared taillights, rectangular fascia and dual exhaust tips. The car you see here is a Chinese-spec model, but Chevrolet says the differences between U.S. and Chinese cars are minimal.
Sporty as it may be, Chevrolet is quick to point out that this isn’t an M3-killer. The 2013 Malibu will come with “a global family of fuel-efficient and powerful four-cylinder engines,” a similar strategy to challengers like the Hyundai Sonata. This doesn’t necessarily rule out a V-6 option, but Chevrolet makes no mention of one. The plan also calls for six-speed transmissions, plural, but you can bet they’ll all be automatics. There’s an outside possibility, though, that the recently-discovered seven-speed dual-clutch transmission GM is working on could find its way in as well.
The Malibu is a hugely important car for Chevrolet and General Motors. The company says that the car’s intended global segment counted for nine percent of all vehicles sold globally in 2010. Here in the U.S., the admittedly aged seventh-generation Malibu sold over 200,000 copies and was both Chevrolet and General Motors’ best-selling passenger car.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will make its international debut in China on Tuesday, April 19, which to those of us nearly a day behind in the U.S., will actually be Monday, April 18, at 8:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time. If you can’t make it out to China, don’t fret. Chevrolet will also debut the car on its Facebook page at the same time and will stream the reveal live on iPad and iPhone. Anyone watching is encouraged to send questions about the car to Chevrolet’s Twitter account at #MalibuReveal or to the Malibu tab on Chevy’s Facebook page. The Malibu show car will also be on display two days later at the New York Auto Show. As a 2013 model, we expect to see the production car debut within a year and go on-sale by mid-2012.