Chevrolet Malibu sales jump 51.5%; dealers pleased

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"A sign of a good launch is where you go through the first 12 months, you actually end up making more money on the car 12 months out than you did in the first month, which is something we like to see."

BY TIM HIGGINS FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
A little over a year after its launch, the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu is a bright spot for troubled General Motors Corp.
When industrywide U.S. sales are down 18%, the Malibu -- which competes in the hyper-competitive midsize car market -- finished 2008 with U.S. sales up 51.5% from the year before.
A new study by J.D. Power and Associates gives GM high marks for the Malibu launch, ranking it No. 3 among other launches in 2007. (The No. 1 vehicle is another GM product, the Buick Enclave, an important model for the automaker but one that does not see as high a sales volume as the Malibu, which is one of GM's best-selling cars.)
Launching a new model is important for an automaker. After a car has been on the market a year, a company has a good indication of how successful the vehicle will be over its lifetime.
"It's absolutely critical that you get that first year right because that's where you're actually going to make a lot of your money and set the standard for the years to come," said Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power. "Something like the Malibu -- which launches very well, has very strong quality, very strong appeal and the financial metrics look very good in the first year -- one can anticipate that as the vehicle continues into its second, third and fourth year those will tend to continue."
The redesigned Malibu launched in November 2007 but, as is normally the case, took several weeks to roll out to all of Chevrolet's dealerships across the country. The new Malibu didn't hit its full stride until January 2008, according to GM.
In 2008, GM's U.S. dealerships sold 177,088 Malibu sedans -- 60,209 more than in 2007.
GM saw its overall U.S. sales drop 22.7% in 2008.
The automaker is racing to complete a plan to present to the federal government showing how it can become viable long term as part of the $13.4-billion loan-rescue plan to keep the company afloat.
"I think we had a very well-coordinated effort," said Mike Weidman, Malibu's marketing manager. "We knew going into it that we had a big social-acceptability issue to overcome. We knew that a lot of import- type buyers wouldn't trust what we had to say as the manufacturer."
Because of that, GM made a big public relations push, along with a strong effort to train dealers on how to sell the new vehicle's features.
The vehicle won several industry awards, including 2008 North American Car of the Year. Last summer, the Malibu also won the award for best initial quality among midsize cars from J.D. Power, beating the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. (Last year, Camry sales were down 7.7% and Accord sales were down 5%.)
According to GM's numbers:
# The 2008 Malibu's retail share increased 3.9 percentage points over the 2007 model.
# Its residual value, which estimates the vehicle's future resale value, increased 9 percentage points.
# Customers' opinions of the vehicle improved by 13 percentage points.
Edmunds.com estimates that GM's average incentive spending on the Malibu dropped in 2008 by $278 to $1,438 per vehicle, another sign of the vehicle's strength.
Dealers rave about how the Malibu is doing so far.
"It was a well-orchestrated introduction," said Ken Thompson, fleet and commercial manager at Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Texas. "The whole thing was timed very nicely. We didn't run out of product."
Paul Stanford, president of Les Stanford Chevrolet in Dearborn, echoed those thoughts, praising the design and quality.
"It's a great, great value vehicle," he said.
Some, however, have questioned the timing of the vehicle, suggesting the car could have done even better in a more healthy economy.
The Malibu is built in Orion Township and Kansas City, Kan. A 17-day labor strike at the Kansas plant pinched supplies of the Malibu last spring.
The new J.D. Power study, called the Vehicle Launch Index, looks at a variety of factors and measures performances against industry and segment benchmarks.
"They didn't run up a high inventory on the vehicle. They managed to keep demand and production pretty well in line," Sargent said. "In fact they added a third shift at the Orion plant to satisfy demand."
GM also did a good job holding the price the manufacturer charges the dealer for the vehicle.
"In fact, it improved over the 12 months of the launch. They weren't having to discount the vehicles to the dealers, if anything they were actually charging more," Sargent said. "A sign of a good launch is where you go through the first 12 months, you actually end up making more money on the car 12 months out than you did in the first month, which is something we like to see."
http://www.freep.com/article/20090205/BUSINESS01/902050392/1014/Chevrolet+Malibu+sales+jump+51.5+++dealers+pleased
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On Sat, 7 Feb 2009 20:00:53 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com cast forth these pearls of wisdom...:

<snip...>
Gee - no surprise that Higgins didn't re-post this news like he does everything he can find that derides GM.
--

-Mike-
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I just put this automoblie on my left shoulder.
C'Mon, Jimbo!!!!
Knock it off!!!!!!!!!!!!
I dare you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Why bother? GM-a dead horse soon to be buried.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 05:00:58 -0500, Jim Higgins

What's funny about that is it's typical politics. Since you have a hard-wired connection from anything GM to your knee-jerk mechanism, you can't respond otherwise. Doesn't matter that it looks like GM is actually restructuring, and could succeed in avoiding bankruptcy, and maybe even come roaring back. Your knees just continue to jerk. You should probably cut the wire. Another option if you are so sure would be to short GM stock. It's a sure thing, right?
--Vic
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 06:40:11 -0600, Vic Smith cast forth these pearls of wisdom...:

Higgins will piss himself and commit suicide if GM does pull through this.
--

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Mike Marlow wrote:

"IF". Unlikely.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Never buy a car where you have to remove part of the bumper and the tire in order to change a headlight bulb. I thought changing a bulb on the Accord was hard when I had to remove the battery to get to the left bulb, then remove and replace three screws by feel.
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What car needs a bumper and tire removed, Removing a battery is they way they have been for years, as a matter of fact I have to do it and am pissed, I feel like using duct tape and turning on high beams.
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ransley wrote:

2008 Chevy Malibu/Saturn Aura.
Remove the front tire and wheel assembly. Remove the front compartment sight shields. Remove the front bumper fascia upper bracket. Remove the headlamp assembly.
Replace the bulb.
Replace the headlamp assembly. Aim the headlights Replace the front bumper fascia upper bracket. Replace the front compartment sight shields. Replace the front tire and wheel assembly.
See "http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f53/removing-08-malibu-headlight-housing-62951 /"
I go on long road trips into areas with no car dealers and no parts stores. I remember being in Yosemite, and someone telling me that a headlamp was out. I went into the back, go a replacement bulb, and replaced it in about three minutes with no tools. This was on a 4Runner. A decade or so earlier, I was driving up to the Sierra's and a headlight went out on my '85 Land Cruiser. I stopped at a supermarket, bought a sealed beam, and put it in the parking lot of the store in about five minutes with a #2 Phillips screwdriver.
Whoever designed this part of the Malibu/Aura should be disciplined.
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Wish everything GM did only had this problem ...
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On Sun, 8 Feb 2009 15:16:29 -0800 (PST), "gnu / linux"

I doubt it's even a problem. Probably BS by non-mechanically inclined ricer kids putting HID bulbs in. Doesn't even make sense removing a tire unless you also remove the wheel well liner. The whole "removing the bumper" is pure BS, and the fascia bracket is removed by unscrewing 2 little bolts. But hardly any maintenance is as easy as it was 20 years ago. I'd want to see the shop manual procedure before I believed any of it. Even then there's sometimes a shortcut.
--Vic
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Vic Smith wrote:

That's why I provided the link that shows the procedure.
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wrote:

I said shop manual, not some internet bullshit with no reference to where it came from.
--Vic
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It seems to be a modern dilemma. Modern cars DO need less maintenance. But when they do, it's a "shop operation".
On my BUICK, Changing the air filter is a major operation. Cabin filter ? Can't even find it. And forget about changing sparkplugs.
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On Mon, 09 Feb 2009 09:11:02 -0700, <RJ> cast forth these pearls of wisdom...:

What year and model Buick?
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On Mon, 9 Feb 2009 12:15:21 -0500, Mike Marlow

2002 BUICK Century ( best car I've ever owned )
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A mechanic you are not. Changing the air filter - From the *owners manual*:
1. Loosen the wing nut on the air duct. 2. Lift up on the two clips located on the top of the filter assembly. 3. Then disconnect the duct and reposition it while removing the side cover. 4. Pull out the filter. 5. Replace the filter if needed. 6. Be sure to reinstall the filter and install the cover tightly when you are finished.
As for the cabin air filter: The passenger compartment air filter is located underneath your hood just below the windshield wiper arm, on the passenger's side (underneath the air inlet grille) of the vehicle.
The plugs? Pop the dog bones out, and do some reaching.
None of that sounds too difficult to me.
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On Tue, 10 Feb 2009 16:24:22 -0700, <RJ> cast forth these pearls of wisdom...:

Yeah it's a great car. But man... changing the air filter in that car is nothing. A major operation? Sorry, but I believe maybe you should leave it to others if you consider it to be a major operation. Not that that is a problem. Not everyone cares to fool with these things.
The cabin filter is on the passenger side below the wipers. Really straightforward.
Methinks maybe you really just don't want to work on your car? Fine - take her in to someone who will, but realize the tasks you've inquired about are really quite trivial.
--

-Mike-
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wrote:

<Snip bogus information>
This is from the owners manual of the 2008 Malibu: 1. Open the hood. See Hood Release on page 5-11 for more information. 2. Remove the two bolts attaching the headlamp assembly to the vehicle. 3. Remove the headlamp assembly from the vehicle by pulling it forward. Use care not to scratch either the vehicle or the lamp. 4. Remove the dust covers (A, B, or C) from the individual bulb sockets. 5. Disconnect the wiring harness, then turn the bulb socket counterclockwise to remove it. 6. Remove the bulb from the bulb socket. 7. Replace the old bulb with a new bulb. 8. Turn the bulb socket clockwise and reconnect the wiring harness to the bulb socket. 9. Return the headlamp assembly to its original position. Be sure to line up the holes in the lamp assembly to the round ends of the mounting pins. 10. Reinstall the two bolts attaching the headlamp assembly to the vehicle.
You can read it for yourself if you want: http://www.gm.com/gmownercenter /

No, whoever posts inaccurate information should be disciplined.
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