DETROIT -- General Motors Co. is speeding up development of vehicles, such as the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu, that had been delayed by the company's financial troubles.
GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said last week that the redesigned Malibu now is scheduled for sale sometime in 2011 -- the same year as originally planned.
"Once we got out of the bankruptcy and started having money available, we were able to pull a lot of our programs forward," Lutz said at a Chevrolet press event. He said "a bunch" of vehicles were being pulled forward but gave no details.
The redesigned Malibu was scheduled to arrive in 2011 but was delayed a year as GM struggled to avoid Chapter 11. In August, after GM's reorganization, GM executives said the car would debut in 2012.
Lutz did not provide a more specific timetable or say how many months the Malibu was pulled forward.
The next-generation Malibu will share a front-drive platform with the 2010 Buick LaCrosse and 2011 Regal. The redesigned Malibu will be slightly shorter than the current model but will have more interior space, Lutz said.
A mockup was displayed at the preview. All of the sheet metal is new. Lutz said he is particularly fond of a chrome strip that surrounds the side glass.
"Nothing adds perceived value to a car faster than that chrome surround around the side glass because it is a hallmark of German and Japanese luxury products," Lutz said.
"If you skimp on $50 of chrome, you are reducing the customer's perceived value of the car by $500 or $600," he said.
Lutz said all of GM's future cars will have a chrome strip surrounding the side window glass. The lone exception is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze; it was too late in the product plan to make the change.