In December 2009, GM showed a select crowd the finished, next-generation Malibu. Sources for spy shooter Brenda Priddy say this prototype is indeed the 2012 Chevy Malibu. Originally not expected to go into U.S. production until the first quarter of 2012, the start date has been bumped up to the fourth quarter of 2011, with rumors of an even earlier start.
Much like the Chevy Cruze rollout, production of global market Malibus will start in China and Korea several months before U.S. production begins. GM will invest $257 million to get the Fairfax and Detroit Hamtramck assembly plants ready for U.S. production.
The Malibu will ride on the same short wheelbase version of the Epsilon II chassis that underpins the 2011 Buick Regal. While the overall length of the Malibu will shrink compared to the current model, insiders who saw the finished product say it's roomier on the inside. Under the hood, a 3.6L V6 should be the top-end option, with either (or maybe both) the 2.4L SIDI four-cylinder or the 2.0L, turbo-charged Ecotec four-cylinder rounding out the lineup. All will be mated to a six-speed transmission and all-wheel-drive will be optional. A hybrid version will also be available.
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