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2008 Chevy Malibu Makes the Grade

Published Jun 25th 2008, 6:56pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

2008chevymalibu_front When Chevrolet set out to redesign the Malibu, the automaker established a huge goal for the languishing vehicle: According to General Motors Vehicle Line Executive Dave Whittaker, "we were challenged to raise the bar on ourselves and create a world-class car that could rival the imports." This was an enormous goal, especially considering that many of the buyers Chevrolet was seeking to woo haden't stepped into a domestic dealership in more than a decade.

At the time of its release, Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper proclaimed, "The 2008 Malibu rewrites Chevrolet's midsize car strategy, offering a stylish, uncompromising package that stacks up against the most popular competitors." Peper proudly announced "We know the competition is very good, and this new Malibu has the goods - both tangible and intangible - to assert a leadership position in the segment and re-affirm Chevrolet's commitment to expressive cars."

Bs_2008_chevy_maliburear_3274 Six months after its launch, it appears that Chevrolet has been quite successful in meeting these goals. And why not? The new 2008 Malibu features a refined and contemporary exterior; a spacious, upscale and quiet interior; and with a variety of trim levels and powertrains that can suit the needs of any buyer. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded the new Malibu five-star safety ratings all around, while the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety honored it with its highest safety rating as well.

2008_chevy_malibuinterior With all these excellent features, it's easy to account for the new Malibu's success, especially when measured using these important landmarks:
In the month of September 2007, 100 dealers across the nation hadn't sold even ONE Malibu; those same dealers sold more than 40 during April 2008. That's an incredible feat to jump to more than one vehicle sold per day!
* Sales of the Malibu in California have increased 186%, and 51% of those buyers were conquests over other brands.
* Sales of the Malibu have increased 125% in other key markets
* The average transaction price has increased by $4000! That's up from $16,800 for the previous model to $20,800 to the current model, which means that Chevrolet is making more sales at higher prices, to a higher-level buyer. Way to go, Chevy!

And get this: According to Peper, "the new Malibus are selling faster than we can put them on dealers' lots." Chevrolet estimated it would need to ship approximately 85,000 units, but dealers have requested nearly 200,000 units. That's awesome!

Bs_2008chevymalibu_3270 According to Chevrolet Malibu marketing manager Mike Weidman, this was the most researched vehicle (from a consumer level) of any vehicle launch, ever made by General Motors. The advertising campaign was highlighted by enormous media pushes that saturated television and internet outlets on three dates, virtually ensuring that the Malibu was truly a car that nobody could miss. Additionally, specialized campaigns with Conde Nast targeted nine women's magazines through focused advertising, mall tours, sweepstakes, and "Malibutique" shopping experiences to help present the vehicle specifically to women. Awesome! Brand awareness has been so high that more than 10 million visitors have come to the website, and traffic at has increased by nearly 50%.

In case you somehow missed the media and advertising barrage, the Malibu is available with an entry-level price of just about $20,300 and a top-of-the-line price around $27,750; engine choices include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a 3.6-liter V-6 cylinder, and a hybrid-electric combination. Chevrolet has recently made the six-speed automatic available to both engines, making the Malibu the only four-cylinder/six-speed automatic combination in the segment. And Malibu is offered in several well-equipped trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ - all with standard head-curtain side air bags and front-seat thorax air bags, OnStar Gen 7 with remote diagnostics, and XM Satellite Radio - ensuring that buyers can choose a vehicle that best suits their needs. According to Peper. "There is more style and content on the new Malibu than any other competitor in the segment."

It looks like the new Malibu has met its challenge, and has become the success story that Chevolet was hoping to achieve. Congratulations, Chevy!

Jody_devere_vs Jody DeVere

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