General Motors is rushing a facelift for the mid-sized Chevrolet Malibu sedan on the back of slow early sales and unfavourable reviews from North American automotive media.
GM CEO Dan Akerson told US industry journal Automotive News the updated Malibu would reach showrooms late next year, just 18 months after the eighth-generation sedan's mid-2012 launch.
While “not dramatic”, Akerson said the “mid-cycle enhancement” would include a revised front end along with some other upgrades, the details of which he would not elaborate on.
The update for the North American market will come a few months after the launch of the localised Holden Malibu (above) in Australia, which is scheduled to arrive mid 2013.
The Australian-spec Malibu features its own front-end styling resembling other models in the Holden family and a unique suspension set-up tuned for local roads. The upgrades to the Chevrolet model are not expected to force tweaks to the Holden, which will be very early in its lifecycle.
The revelation from Akerson follows a similar move from Honda, which unveiled upgrades to its North American-spec Civic little more than 18 months after the launch of the ninth-generation sedan, following widespread criticism of its design.
Car makers usually introduce mid-life upgrades around three years into a vehicle’s lifecycle, which typically total five to seven years.