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GM will retire the Chevrolet Malibu to make more electric cars| GuyWhoKnowsThings

General Motors said Wednesday it would stop making the Chevrolet Malibu, the last affordable sedan in its U.S. model lineup and a venerable model that was introduced in the 1960s, when the company was a dominant force in the U.S. economy.

For years, American drivers have been leaning toward sport utility vehicles and away from sedans, compacts and hatchbacks. GM's two rivals in Detroit, Stellantis and Ford Motor, have also wiped the automotive slate clean in the United States.

Foreign automakers such as Toyota, Honda and Hyundai still sell hundreds of thousands of sedans and compacts each year, but far fewer than in previous decades, when the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord were among the most popular vehicles on American roads. Last month, Subaru, a Japanese automaker, said it would stop making its Legacy sedan next year.

GM produces the Malibu at a plant in Fairfax, Kansas, and will continue making the car through the end of this year, when it plans to retool the factory to make a new version of the Chevrolet Bolt, an electric car, and the Cadillac XT4. , a luxury SUV

Consumers have shifted from cars to more spacious SUVs and pickup trucks to transport children and recreational equipment such as bicycles and kayaks. Automakers have contributed to that trend by offering more such vehicles, which generate higher profits than sedans and compacts.

The Malibu was introduced in 1964 as a luxury family sedan. Four years later, GM added a sporty and powerful version: the Malibu SS. GM stopped manufacturing the Malibu in 1983 when the company was forced to downsize due to increasing foreign competition. It reintroduced the Malibu in 1997, but the model has almost always trailed the Camry and Accord in sales.

Since its introduction, GM has sold more than 10 million Malibus. But sales have fallen in recent years. In 2023, GM sold 130,000 Malibus and deliveries fell 47 percent in the last three months of the year. A decade earlier, GM typically sold about 200,000 Malibuses a year.

In 2023, GM announced that Stop production of the Chevrolet Camaro, a sports car. The Chevrolet Corvette continues to be manufactured. Its Cadillac brand makes two gasoline sedans and plans to start selling a high-end electric car this year. All other models GM makes for the US market are now trucks or SUVs.

Several years ago, Ford eliminated sedans from its lineup. The Mustang is the only car that Ford makes for the American market. Stellantis, the owner of Chrysler, now focuses primarily on trucks, SUVs and minivans, although the company has said it will begin making an electric version of its powerful Dodge Challenger in 2025.

Of course, the Malibu could return one day, perhaps as an electric vehicle. Automakers have often resurrected and reused old model names, especially those that buyers remember fondly.

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