It’s no secret that the Chevrolet Malibu compact saloon hasn’t been received as well as GM hoped for, be that by the automotive press or the consumers.
That’s why earlier this month, GM CEO Dan Akerson admitted that the company is going following in the footsteps of Honda with the Civic and give the Malibu “a mid-cycle enhancement” just 18 months after its launch.
To avoid stockpiling inventory, GM has decided to idle its Fairfax, Kansas plant, the primary facility where the Malibu is assembled at a daily rate of 1,200 cars, for three weeks this month. It also cancelled shifts from January 2-4, when the 3,500 workers are supposed to return from their holiday break, so production will resume on January 7.
A company spokeswoman told Autonews that the plant “is taking idle time in December to make sure we are aligning our production with demand”, though she wouldn’t discuss on the time schedule.
GM issued a statement concerning the issue that reads as follows:
"We have strategically built Chevrolet Malibu stock levels based on scheduled downtime and a strengthening vehicle market. This idle time gives us an opportunity to conduct scheduled facility projects aimed at improving the plant's future competitiveness."
On December 1, Chevrolet had a huge 164-day supply inventory of the Malibu, the bulk of which concerned the 2013 model. Although sales of the compact saloon actually increased by 4 percent through October, to 199,321 units, this was mainly due to dealers massively discounting the 2012 model to make room for its replacement.
By Andrew Tsaousis