Chevrolet Malibu drives into sunset as GM makes way for electric cars

General Motors plans to stop making its Chevrolet Malibu at the end of the year as it makes room for production on more electric vehicles. 

First introduced in 1964, the Malibu was once the top-selling car in its segment in the U.S., an unwavering presence of family garages nationwide. Professional stock car racers used the Malibu body between 1973 and 1977 for NASCAR competitions, helping drivers win 25 different titles, according to Motor Trend magazine. At its height, the Malibu won Motor Trend Car of the Year 1997 because of its smooth ride, fuel economy and luxury interior. 

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The front of a 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Super Sport  

Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

But sales of the Malibu, a midsize sedan, declined in the early 2000s as Americans’ preferences turned toward SUVs and pickup trucks. Hoping to jump start sales, GM did a redesign of the Malibu in 2015-16 complete with a lighter 1.5-Liter four-cylinder engine, honeycomb grille and jeweled LED headlights. Sales rose to nearly 230,000 after a redesign for the 2016 model year, but much of those were at low profits to rental car companies. 

Last year, midsize cars made up only 8% of U.S. new vehicle sales, down from 22% in 2007, according to Americans bought 1.3 million sedans last year in a segment that’s been dominated lately by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

(Plymouth, Ma 022716) 2016 Chevrolet Malibu 2LZ Premier sedan . Staff photo by Jim Mahoney
2016 Chevrolet Malibu 2LZ Premier sedan. Sales rose to nearly 230,000 after a redesign for the 2016 model year, but much of those were at low profits to rental car companies. 

Jim Mahoney/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

GM sold just over 130,000 Malibus in 2023, 8.5% fewer than in 2022. All told, GM said it sold more than 10 million Malibus in the car’s lifetime, spanning nine generations since its debut. 

GM’s factory in Kansas City, Kansas, which now makes the Chevy Malibu will stop making the car in November. The plant will get a $390 million retooling to make a new version of the Chevrolet Bolt small electric car. The plant will begin producing the Bolt and the Cadillac XT4 on the same assembly line in late 2025, giving the plant the flexibility to respond to customer demands, the company said.

Even though the Malibu is leaving, the vehicle will remain on dealership lots probably until early 2025, Sean Tucker, senior editor at Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, said in a blog post Thursday, adding that “they may be great buying opportunities.”

The Malibu “still delivers reliable transportation in a handsome package,” Kelley Blue Book test driver Russ Heaps said in the post. “Passenger comfort ranks high on its reasons-to-buy list, as does its trunk space.”

To be sure, the Malibu wasn’t without its problems. GM recalled more than 140,000 Malibus in 2014 because a software problem in the brake control computer could disable the power brakes. The Michigan automaker recalled nearly 92,000 Malibus in 2015 because the car’s sunroof could close inadvertently.

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