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Chevy Malibu will depart in 2022, report says

The midsize sedan is an "obvious" candidate for cost cutting, says one expert.

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Midsize sedans just aren't the segment they used to be.

Andrew Krok

While we've heard whispers the writing's been on the wall for the Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan, it looks like the car could head to the chopping block sooner than expected.

GM Authority, without citing a source, reported this past weekend that the sedan will supposedly not return after the 2023 model year. That'd give it an expiration date sometime in 2022. It's been Roadshow's understanding the sedan was in for one more refresh in 2023 before it died off in the middle of this decade.

If the latest information rings true, the Malibu's planned refresh is off the table. It would certainly make sense after learning General Motors froze all new vehicle development earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision pushed future vehicle refreshes further down the road, and it's likely the Malibu's planned changes were subject to a second look. A Chevy spokesperson told Roadshow, "We are not engaging in the speculation on potential product adjustments. Malibu remains in the Chevrolet product lineup."

However, Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions, told Roadshow the Malibu is an "obvious" choice if GM wants to continue cutting costs.

"Midsized sedan sales have been hit especially hard in the demand shift toward crossovers," he said. "FCA, Ford and Nissan have already made moves to reduce production of sedans in order to shift their focus toward more profitable CUVs."

As for what will become of GM's plant in Fairfax, Kansas, that's not totally clear. The plant only builds the Malibu sedan and the Cadillac XT4 crossover.

"Removing the Malibu from those assembly lines will cause even more problems at the Kansas plant where capacity utilization is among the lowest in the US," Fiorani added.

Taking the Malibu out of Chevy's portfolio would leave it with just a single sedan: the Sonic. Chevy also sells the Sonic as a hatchback. GM previously ended production of the Cruze and Impala, two additional Chevy sedans. The Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac CT6 also ended production leaving Cadillac with just two sedans, the CT4 and CT5, and Buick with zero as it phases out the midsize Regal Sportback.

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