By Mark Kleis
Thursday, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 2:58 pm
 
When GM entered bankruptcy it understandably faced delays in vital future product development, and one car that suffered was the Chevy Malibu. Now that GM has exited bankruptcy and gained access to funding, it is speeding up development of several vehicles - like the Malibu due to go on sales in two years.



GM's current Malibu has fared reasonably well in the market, only down 11 percent this year with over 142,000 units sold - forming a solid 25 percent of Chevy's U.S. car sales volume. By contrast, the Chevy Impala has dropped 38 percent compared to last year.

The Malibu has not yet been unveiled to the public, but GM has moved up its release schedule from its August estimate by a full year - to 2012.

What is known is that the next generation Chevy Malibu will be riding on a 2010 Buick LaCrosse platform, giving it a stance the same width as the LaCrosse. GM's vice chairman Bob Lutz also said that the next Malibu will shrink slightly in terms of length compared to the current model, but that it will gain interior space.

In addition to the Malibu, Lutz said that "a bunch" of other vehicles are also being accelerated, but fell short of specifying which models were given the post-bankruptcy fast-track.

A mockup of the car was shown at a press preview, displaying the all-new sheet metal. Lutz also made a point of highlighting the chrome surround on the vehicle's side windows, as he said, "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 added, "If you skimp on $50 of chrome, you are reducing the customer's perceived value of the car by $500 to $600."

Lutz also said that all upcoming GM products will feature side window glass chrome surrounds, with the exception of the 2011 Chevy Cruze.