The Chevrolet Malibu made its debut in 1964, making it one of the oldest vehicles on the US auto market.
The new-age midsize sedan is nothing like the original Malibu, and it boasts modern features, including cutting-edge technology, decent storage, and a comfy interior.
In this guide, we delve into key statistics relating to the Malibu models.
You’ll get annual sales data, number of recalls, theft rates, resale values, and so on. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
How Many Chevrolet Malibus Have Been Sold in the US Per Year?
Since its reintroduction in 1997, the Chevrolet Malibu has maintained a reasonable level of sales in the United States.
Sure, Malibu sales are far lesser than similar cars like the Toyota Camry or Honda Civic—but it continues to sell well to justify continued production.
For context, the Malibu is the only sedan offered by Chevrolet in the US.
For a while after its release in 1997, GM consistently sold over 200,000 Malibus per year.
However, sales of the Malibu declined a bit during the 2006-2009 years. Then, the Malibu recorded its worst year in 2007, selling only 128,312 models that year.
Malibu sales improved in later years, with GM selling 200,000+ models annually for three consecutive years (2011-2013).
Despite this, yearly sales of the Malibu have dropped to figures seen only during the 2006-2009 era.
The recent dip in sales of the Malibu reflects the reduced demand for small cars in the US.
Large vehicles, like SUVs and pickups, have become popular, which means people are buying sedans like the Malibu in lower numbers.
Here is a table showing annual sales figures for the Chevrolet Malibu since 1997:
|Year||No. Of Models Sold|
What Year Did the Chevrolet Start the Malibu Model?
General Motors introduced the Malibu as a subseries of the Chevelle mid-size vehicle.
The Malibu later became a standalone model in 1972, coming in a rear-wheel-drive layout.
However, GM would discontinue the Malibu models in 1983. And it wasn’t until 16 years later that the Malibu re-appeared on the US market.
By then, it had undergone several changes, including getting a new front-wheel-drive layout.
At the time it debuted, the Malibu was based on the GM ‘N’ platform, then shared by the Oldsmobile Alero, Pontiac Grand Am, Buick Skylark, and Oldsmobile Achieva.
It also competed against the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, which were the bestselling midsize sedans at the time.
Since its debut in 1964, the Chevrolet has undergone nine different iterations. Here are all generations of the Malibu:
- 1st generation (1964-1967)
- 2nd generation (1968-1972)
- 3rd generation (1973-1977)
- 4th generation (1978-1983)
- 5th generation (1997-2003)
- 6th generation (2004-2007)
- 7th generation (2008-2012)
- 8th generation (2013-2016)
- 9th generation (2016-present)
How Is the Fuel Economy on Chevrolet Malibus?
There are only two engines available with the Chevrolet Malibu, and both have frugal fuel consumption.
According to the EPA, the 2.0-liter V4 engine gets 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway (26 combined mpg). Meanwhile, the 1.5-liter V4 gets 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway (32 combined mpg).
If fuel economy is a big consideration, a Malibu using the standard 1.5-liter engine is better.
However, if you want more performance with lower, albeit reasonable, fuel efficiency; the 2.0-liter engine is recommendable.
How Quickly Do Chevrolet Malibus Depreciate?
While the Malibu is a great sedan, it gets lower demand than, say, a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. This likely explains why the Malibu has a lower-than-average resale value.
Per caredge.com, the Malibu will depreciate by 56% after the first five years of use.
This means your new Malibu will retain just 44% of its value after the initial five-year period.
Low demand for the Malibu among Americans means the value of used models will often face rapid depreciation after a few years.
While this means you can buy a used Malibu cheaply, it also means you’ll make a heavy loss when reselling—especially if you buy new.
Did Chevrolet Recall Any of the Malibu Models?
GM has recalled the Malibu about 57 times since it re-introduced the model in 1997.
Within the Malibu family, the 2004 and 2006 model years are the most-recalled models—they have 9 recalls apiece. The 2016 model rounds up the list of most-recalled Malibu, with 7 recalls.
If you’ll be buying a Malibu with many recalls, you’d better ask if the owner has fixed the issues highlighted in the recalls.
Otherwise you’ll be saddled with the responsibility of carrying out expensive fixes.
This table contains NHTSA-sanctioned recalls for the Malibu over the years:
|Model Year||No. Of Recalls|
How Much Do the Malibu Models Pollute?
Given its frugal fuel consumption, it’s not surprising that the Malibu has lower-than-average levels of pollution.
It won’t win awards for “Green Car of the Year”, but it will satisfy anyone’s desire to leave a lower carbon footprint.
The Malibu with the 1.5-liter V4 engine emits just 298 grams of greenhouse gases per mile and has an emission rating of 7/10.
Malibus using the bigger 2.0-liter engine are less eco-friendly, emitting 344 grams of greenhouse gases per mile. The EPA gives the 2.0-liter-engined Malibu an average emissions rating of 5/10.
We recommend choosing the standard 1.5-liter engine if you’re concerned about environmental pollution.
This doesn’t mean the 2.0-liter-engined Malibu is a pollution monster.
It still has a better emissions rating than many bigger, fuel-thirsty SUVs and pickups.
How Much Do the Malibu Models Tow?
Before anything, you must understand that the Malibu is a sedan, not a truck or SUV.
Also, it comes with a small engine that produces limited amounts of power.
These factors lead to a natural conclusion: the Malibu isn’t a vehicle for towing heavy loads.
Based on instructions in the owner’s manual, the best a Malibu can tow is 1,000 lbs.
Tow anything above that limit, and you’re at risk of damaging your vehicle’s components—especially the transmission and engine.
If you want more towing ability, opt for a bigger model with a stronger engine.
Suggestions include a truck like the Chevrolet Silverado or an SUV like the Chevrolet Tahoe.
You will also like our article about cars with the most airbags.
How Reliable Is a Chevrolet Malibu?
For the most part, the Chevrolet Malibu is a largely reliable model.
It has minimal repair costs and better-than-average reliability ratings, which further prove its reliability.
The newest 2021 Malibu model received a 3.5 predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power and Associates. This puts it in the middle of the pack in the midsize sedan segment in terms of reliability.
Similarly, RepairPal gives the Malibu good reliability ratings. The Malibu gets a 4/5 reliability rating and ranks 9th out of 24 midsize sedan models for reliability.
It won’t cost a fortune to keep your Malibu model on the road, thanks to its average maintenance costs.
On average, you’ll spend around $532 on servicing your Malibu in a year, which is reasonable for a small sedan.
Nonetheless, reliability on the Malibu is highly dependent on the maintenance schedule.
If you maintain your vehicle properly, it will last long without developing major faults.
Please also read our article about how long the Chevrolet Malibu lasts.
How Safe Is a Chevrolet Malibu?
The Chevrolet Malibu has a plethora of safety features designed to keep you and your family safe on drives.
It also gets decent safety ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).
The 2020 Malibu got a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, which is above average.
In similar fashion, it received a ‘Good’ score on all the IIHS tests, except the passenger-side small overlap front test where it got a ‘Marginal’ grade.
Safety features on the Malibu include:
- Forward-collision warning
- Lane-departure warning
- Rear parking sensors
- High-beam headlights
- Active lane controls
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Blindspot monitors
- Automatic emergency braking
- Anti-lock braking system
What Is the Typical Buyer Demographic For this Model?
Compared to other midsize sedans, the Chevrolet Malibu has a higher number of female buyers.
Moreover, Malibu buyers are aged 59 years on average, which makes them older than the average for midsize sedan buyers (54 years).
The average annual income for most Malibu buyers is $73,000—lower than the average for midsize sedan buyers ($85,976).
In addition, the majority of Malibu buyers like buying vehicles from local companies.
Other insights about the Chevrolet Malibu’s buyer demographic include:
- Unlike other midsize sedan buyers, they are not particularly interested in reliability, quality, or fuel economy.
- Compared to midsize sedan buyers, they are not willing to pay for a vehicle that’s environmentally friendly.
Also check out our article about the Chevrolet Malibu in snow and winter driving.
Chevrolet Malibu Theft Numbers
Midsize sedans like the Chevrolet Malibu have historically been a target for thieves.
As such, thefts of the Malibu have been high—especially in the latest 90s and early 2000s.
Newer models are less likely to get stolen, thanks to better anti-theft technology. This doesn’t mean thieves aren’t stealing the Chevrolet Malibu any more.
As recent as 2014, around 317 models were stolen in the US.
It is advisable to outfit your vehicle with anti-theft technology to protect it from being stolen.
Things like steering locks, GPS trackers, and engine immobilizers will make it harder for thieves to make away with your vehicle.
Here is a table showing theft numbers for the Malibu in the US between 1997 and 2014.
|Year||No. Of Thefts|