Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.
Did you know the Chevrolet Malibu is still in production? I knew the Impala had been axed due to poor sales (sign of the times for sedans in America), but I also had thought the Malibu experienced the same fate. The Malibu is Chevrolet’s only traditional sedan in the American market, which is somewhat mind-boggling considering how Chevrolet’s bread-and-butter family car was THE quintessential American car, achieving over a million in sales at its peak.
So, what does the future look like for Chevrolet’s classic Malibu sedan? GM Authority gives us a hint.
Chevrolet’s been working on an EV sedan for the Chinese market, with the spoils of this effort manifesting itself as the FNR-XE concept. The current chatter from GM president Mark Reuss is that a vehicle based on the concept car may come to America as a Malibu replacement.
“This one’s coming a little bit later, and this is a Chevrolet version of it. It’s a ‘Car-D’ primarily for the Chinese market, and we’ll see the desirability as we clinic this,” said General Motors boss Mark Reuss to Investor Day attendees. “It’s a little bit further out, but this is a pretty dramatic low-roof, sedan-like proportion that we’re just beginning to design and engineer. It’s really quite a statement from a design standpoint, but we’ll see how it goes.”
The FNR-XE concept was unveiled several weeks ago in China during GM China Tech Day 2022 in Shanghai, part of a strategy that will include 15 EVs in China by 2025. This is the first Chevrolet concept based on GM’s future Ultium Battery and Ultium Drive technology, as well as the first Chevrolet EV concept that’s a sedan.
Ultium technology is GM’s modular approach to EV development. “Our team accepted the challenge to transform product development at GM and position our company for an all-electric future,” GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra has said in the past. “What we have done is build a multi-brand, multi-segment EV strategy with economies of scale that rival our full-size truck business with much less complexity and even more flexibility.”
Currently, there are three Ultium-based vehicles in the market: the Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Hummer EV and BrightDrop Zero 600 commercial van. For 2023, we can expect more with the Chevrolet Silverado, Equinox and Blazer EVs.