Chevrolet appears to have a love-hate relationship with regular passenger cars. In recent years, we've talked about the Impala, Volt, and Cruze being discontinued. Perhaps the only thing that's stopping the Malibu from being dropped were the updates made for the 2019 model.
A report by GM Authority says that the Chevy Malibu will be discontinued after the 2023 model year. The sedan was supposed to survive until 2025 through a second update, according to previous reports.
The Malibu being axed is reportedly due to the economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the car wasn't exactly the automaker's moneymaker even before the global health crisis. From 227, 881 in 2016, sales had gone down to 131,917 in 2019.
Currently, two Japanese cars dominate the mid-sized sedan: the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. But the sales of these two are expected to take a nosedive this year.
GM could take a different approach when it comes to making and selling cars. It goes without saying that the Accord and Camry have things that make them cool, while the Malibu lacks this factor despite the investments made last year.
Things were quite different when it was first introduced at the New York Auto Show in 2015 -- many were impressed with the sedan. The wheelbase has been extended by four inches, and the car is almost 300 lbs lighter. But under the hood was only a 1.5-liter turbo engine making 160 horsepower. Optionally, you could also have a 2-liter turbo making 250 horsepower. Despite promising 48mpg in the city, the Malibu Hybrid was such a slow seller that it got discontinued last year.
Another reason that contributed to the Chevy Malibu's demise is the surge of popularity of crossover SUVs and trucks in the past few years. Automakers started dropping their passenger cars like hot potatoes.
Take the Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, for example. In 2017, the company dropped both the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 from the North American lineup after just two years on the market in its second generation. In 2019, Ford dropped most of its passenger car lineup in the U.S., leaving only the Mustang and Fusion.
GM, meanwhile, axed the Volt, Cruze, and Cadillac XTS in the U.S., and in January, will stop production of the Impala, Cadillac CT6 and CT6-V, and Buick LaCrosse. As for what will become of GM's plant in Fairfax, Kansas, that's not totally clear. The plant only builds the Malibu sedan and the Cadillac XT4 crossover.