Dealer says Malibu needs marketing
Hurley on the Malibu: “There’s no doubt it’s good enough to compete.”
The redesigned Chevrolet Malibu is good enough to compete in the fierce mid-sized sedan market but needs a stronger marketing pitch, the co-chairman of Chevy's national dealer council says.
Steve Hurley, dealer principal at Stingray Chevrolet in Plant City, Fla., says the 2013 Malibu has an edge in styling and features over other stronger-selling mid-sized sedans, including the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
"There's no doubt it's good enough to compete," Hurley says. "I don't really know what the answer is in terms of what it's going to take to get us to where we want to be with that car. It's probably creating the awareness in the marketplace that we do have a good enough car to compete with Toyota and Honda."
Last spring General Motors launched a mild hybrid version of the redesigned Malibu, followed in late summer by high-volume models with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
Despite the redesign, Malibu sales trailed the overall market, rising just 3 percent to 210,951. Some press reviews have been unflattering and have criticized the car's cramped rear seat.
GM is working on an earlier-than-planned refreshing of the sedan that is expected to arrive late this year. Last month GM North America President Mark Reuss said it would include front-end styling changes and address the car's "packaging," although he didn't elaborate. Bloomberg has reported that the work would include changes to make the backseat feel roomier.
Hurley says Chevy "broke through" with the previous version of the Malibu, which was introduced in 2007 and was phased out last year. He says the redesigned car is even better, but said it takes stronger messaging to get consideration from Toyota, Honda or Nissan buyers.
"It's a tough nut to crack. It's going to be challenging," Hurley says. "But I think Chevrolet put forth their best effort when they made the new Malibu. We may not be where we need to be now, but we will be when it's all done."
You can reach Mike Colias at firstname.lastname@example.org.