Consumers blame the lack of advertising, while GM claims declining sales of hybrid technology. As the company directs its attention at electric vehicle (EV) technology, industry analysts are left to wonder why Chevy chose to get rid of its hybrid sedan.
Chevy decided to discontinue the 2020 Malibu Hybrid
The ninth generation of the Chevy Malibu arrived in 2016 with a hybrid variant. Unlike the electric Chevy Volt, with which the vehicle shared powertrain components, the standard hybrid Malibu was not a plug-in hybrid model.
Standard hybrid sales have drastically declined due to the increased popularity and demand for all-electric vehicles. There is a good chance that GM is looking forward to the rapidly growing technology, hoping to gain an advantage among competitors in the EV segment.
Last year, the Volt was discontinued, with analysts predicting the Malibu was not far behind. According to GM Authority, as part of a 2018 restructuring plan, GM cut several lines, including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevy Cruze, and Chevy Impala. The Malibu was safe for the time being but clearly not far behind on the chopping block.
GM Authority recently announced that the Chevy Malibu Hybrid is being discontinued for the 2020 model year.
A bold move for Chevy
It was an interesting move for Chevy, considering the emphasis buyers are putting on fuel economy and environmental impact. The Chevy Malibu Hybrid was getting an EPA-estimated rating of 46 mpg combined, which is impressive among competitors in the same class.
The Malibu Hybrid was equipped with two electric motors and a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gas engine. The combined performance equated to 182 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. It could hit a top speed of 55 mph running solely in electric mode.
The future of the Chevy Malibu
The lackluster sales of the Chevy Malibu Hybrid led to the cancellation of the line. In a press release, GM Authority stated, “While we hate to see yet another GM sedan shuffle off to that big parking lot in the sky, it’s possible we could see a successor in the form of some all-electric model variant in the next few years.”
By 2023, GM plans to have 20 new electric vehicles on the market.
Meanwhile, with the hybrid variant gone, the 2021 Chevy Malibu will still be available in a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder powertrain that is paired with a CVT, putting out an average 163 hp. The range-topping Premier trim will have a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that can get a powerful 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.
Despite its capabilities, Car and Driver claim Chevy has not done much to improve upon the family-friendly sedan. After driving the midsize car, they said, “When compared to class leaders such as the Honda Accord and the Mazda6, the Malibu evokes an unfortunate rental-class feel.”
Did lack of advertising cause the end of the Malibu?
When GM announced the end of the Malibu Hybrid line, fans of Chevy products were not happy with the decision.
The common sentiment among consumers was that GM didn’t do a good job of advertising the Chevy Malibu Hybrid. There were very few promotional offers for the midsize sedan and a general lack of interest among consumers.
Hearing of the end of the Malibu Hybrid line, several Chevy owners were surprised to find that a vehicle that could get 46 mpg even existed in the Chevy lineup. It seems GM dropped the ball in getting the word out on the capabilities of the Chevy Malibu Hybrid. Hopefully, the distribution of information will be more efficient in the next round of Chevy electric vehicles.