When an existing car model gets redesigned for a new model year, automakers and dealers often offer big discounts and incentives to anyone willing to buy the outgoing model.
Usually, some car buyers choose to buy the discounted outgoing model, while others opt for the newer model, but according to Automotive News (subscription required) discounts on the outgoing 2012 Chevrolet Malibu are so high that most customers are ignoring the 2013 Malibu Eco.
Launched in March 2012, the all-new 2013 Malibu Eco was Chevrolet’s first 2013 Malibu model to hit dealer lots, months before the planned August and September launches of Chevrolet’s redesigned, non-hybrid 2013 Malibu models
Fitted with a 2.4-liter Ecotec direct-injection engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and Chevrolet’s eAssist mild hybrid system, the 2013 Malibu Eco is rated at 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.
That’s significantly better than the 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway rating of the most efficient outgoing 2012 Malibu.
2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco
2013 Chevrolet Malibu EcoEnlarge Photo
But with Chevrolet and dealers eager to make way for the 2013 non-hybrid Malibu models due later this month, discounts on the outgoing 2012 Malibu now total $6,000, making the 2013 Malibu Eco a tough sell.
“I can’t really say a whole lot about how well the Eco has taken off because all of the focus has been on pushing the ‘12s,” one Chevrolet dealer said. “There’s cash on the hood.”
Chevrolet isn’t fazed.
“So far it’s been well received and well supported by the dealers,” said Russ Clark, director of marketing for performance, mid-sized cars and crossovers at Chevrolet. “The car’s performing about where we thought it would.”
According to Clark, General Motors sold around 2,000 Malibu Ecos during June, 2 percent more than its expectations.
Even after Chevrolet has sold its remaining stock of 2012 Malibus however, the $26,095 Malibu Eco will still have a tough time competing against its non-hybrid sibling, not to mention cheaper, more fuel efficient cars like the 2013 Nissan Altima and 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid.