Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technology

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Thread: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technology

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    Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technology

    Automotive News

    January 28, 2013

    Article Quotes:

    DETROIT -- Most prospective Malibu buyers at Castle Chevrolet in suburban Chicago quickly decide that they don't want to pay nearly $3,000 more for the Eco mild-hybrid version.

    "For most people, it's hard to justify the extra money based on the extra fuel economy" of a combined 3 mpg more than the base model, says Jeff Tuckman, the dealership's inventory manager. "You've got the base LS model sitting next to it that's just as nice and luxurious."

    It's a problem flagged by many Chevy dealers. They say that the Malibu Eco doesn't offer a big enough fuel economy boost to sway buyers to choose it over one of the other two engine types: a 2.5-liter engine or a 2.0-liter turbocharged version.

    That represents a broader challenge for General Motors, which is making a big bet on its mild-hybrid technology, called eAssist. GM is likely to deploy the system across much of its lineup in the next few years. The company has targeted annual global sales of 500,000 electrified vehicles by 2017; the vast majority of those would be mild hybrids.

    GM engineers are working on a next-generation eAssist system that would offer a more compelling jump in fuel economy and likely would be offered on some large vehicles, including crossovers. They won't say when it will arrive or how much additional mpg lift it might deliver.

    "We continue to work on improvements to get the efficiency up and the costs down," says Pamela Fletcher, GM's executive chief engineer for electric vehicles.

    The Malibu Eco gets 25 mpg in city driving and 37 on the highway, compared with a 22/34 rating for the 2.5-liter model.

    GM says the take rate for the Eco model is 8 percent of total Malibu sales, below GM's initial forecast of 10 percent.

    Says a New Jersey Chevy dealer who didn't want his name used: "The fuel economy difference from the other models isn't so great that buyers are saying, 'I'll choose a smaller trunk and pay more money.'" The system's battery is packaged in the trunk and takes up about 3 cubic feet.

    Dealers don't mind when customers choose a different Malibu model. More problematic for GM, analysts say, is that the Malibu Eco's fuel economy compares poorly to other options in the mid-sized sedan segment, even nonhybrids.

    Full article at link.

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    Note: Chevrolet currently has a $500 bonus incentive on the two Malibu ECO models. In December, this bonus was $1000.

    Note: Perhaps the above article should have pointed out that the 1SA ECO is better compared to the base LT model. The author seems to be conveying the opinion of the dealer based on the consumers selection, thus he does have a point.

    LS MSRP from $22,805†
    1LT MSRP from $23,995†
    Eco 1SA MSRP from $25,795†
    Eco 2SA MSRP from $27,405†
    2LT MSRP from $25,700†
    3LT MSRP from $27,410†
    1LTZ MSRP from $28,175†
    2LTZ MSRP from $30,510†

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    I'm surrised the take rate is that high.

    The car doesn't make economic sense, and a Prius is a great aternatiuve with far better mileage (and a more useable hatch) for about the same money.

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    I would say E-assist needs to be at least a 5 mpg advantage if not more just to attract attention. The Eco Malibu is a terrible failure compared to that of the Eco Cruze IMO. Cruze eco took a lot of little pieces and put them together for a nice little car without a big premium. I think GM should differentiate. E assist from Eco in branding.

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    How about make it a $1500 option?

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    Quote Originally Posted by prowlerjc View Post
    I'm surrised the take rate is that high.

    The car doesn't make economic sense, and a Prius is a great aternatiuve with far better mileage (and a more useable hatch) for about the same money.
    Agree on value for the money point, but Prius as an alternative - NO!! The Prius drives like a 1960's sedan on bias ply tires (if even that good) and is a slug in acceleration and stops like it's on ice. Ford C-Max Hybrid is more in line with how Malibu ECO drives, is priced, and has better fuel economy gains. It is a better example. Of course you can get a 2013 Altima which (in theory) betters the Malibu ECO in MPG's for $169 a month to lease and $21K to buy and it's just one non-hybrid option to beat the Malibu ECO.
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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    Wonder if the malibu's weight is par of the problem?

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    the real world gains are MUCH less than indicated by the EPA gap. for the regal the spread is closer to 4-5mpg per the EPA rating but in the real world I'm not seeing it. I got the eassist model based on an incentive being offered and the promise of better mileage but I'm barely getting 2mpg better than the standard regal. The system works well, it just doesn't yield any benefits in city driving. I would never recommend paying the premium for e-assist until the next gen comes out. It makes you wonder why they are even bothering on the Impala.

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    I wish GM would drop this half-assed hybrid approach and just come out with an Epsilon II car using the Voltec drivetrain. The ECO models aren't getting the job done. We'll have to wait and see how the Fusion Energi performs in the market, that might light a fire under GM to change their approach.
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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    1497, how are you driving your Regal? To get the most out of any hybrid powertrain, it takes some changing in driving styles. A Prius will either get awesome or so so gas mileage depending on the driver.

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    Not all of the $3000 difference between the LS and the e-asist is the e-asist only, there is a lot more standard equipment on the e-asist Malibu.

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    i finally got to check out Malibu in person at autoshow. After seeing Malibu, Altima, Fusion, Accord on same day and getting into all of them I fail to see the big deal. Malibu's rear seat room is decent but not large car worthy. Interior wise there was no big gap between the cars and I failed to be impressed by Accord or Altima interiors. Malibu interior quality is arguably the best of the four sedans. All of the interiors are lacking in some way or another, the Fusion is dull, the Accord has too much going on and the Altima looked dated already. When you inspect the cars in person it's hard to see any of them as head and shoulders above the pack in spite of what we read. The accord was the most spacious of all of the cars but at 5'10" I could sit in the rear of any of them without hitting my knees on the front seats. It is nice to see a little more daylight ahead of your knees, but when you consider these cars are primarily going to have kids in the back I do not understand the notion that you can't utilize a midsizer unless it can seat 6 footers with plenty of room to spare in the back.

    Quote Originally Posted by LONGHORN View Post
    1497, how are you driving your Regal? To get the most out of any hybrid powertrain, it takes some changing in driving styles. A Prius will either get awesome or so so gas mileage depending on the driver.
    I drive the car like a normal person would in an urban area. There is a lot of stop and go action in my daily driving. The car is not delivering any notable improvement in the city. On the highway I haven gotten 36mpg, but that was under ideal conditions. Realistically hwy mileage is around 34 I would say. This car is supposed to deliver 6 more mpg than the Regal 2.4. I haven't seen anything close to that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Car253 View Post
    Not all of the $3000 difference between the LS and the e-asist is the e-asist only, there is a lot more standard equipment on the e-asist Malibu.
    Good point, the actual price gap between ECO and comparable model is probably $2k or slightly less. The article is misleading in comparing the ECO to the base Malibu LS.
    Last edited by Titanic; 02-09-2013 at 06:26 PM. Reason: merged consecutive posts

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    Fuel economy is the Malibu's sales problems

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    I was completely underwhelmed with the current gen eAssist. Try the math: if you average 15,000 miles/year, you'd save roughly 53 gallons of gas if you got 4mpg better. At $4/g that's $212/yr. Only 14 years to reach a break-even point. My biggest surprise is that the 8% take rate is as high as it is.

    It's becoming clearer and clearer that GM 'missed the boat' on hybrids. Their eAssist system is nothing more than a weak attempt so that marketing has a something to tout while they wait for the Voltec to become profitable. They are in a tough position on this one: GM's bet is on the next-generation technology (Voltec) -- which is a generation (maybe two) away from being profitable. In the meantime, they've got nothing competitive (both cost and efficiency-wise) on the hybrid front - and if they did a 180 on things at this point, their full-hybrid product probably wouldn't reach market until the Voltec powertrain is close-to-profitability -- so why bother? They are stuck in limbo on this one. All the while gasoline hovers above $3.00+/g (and higher on the coasts). Perhaps they could reach an agreement/license hybrid tech? It's pretty sad that GM, as big as a player that they are, could misread the market on this so badly. Subaru is coming out with a hybrid - as is VW. Hyundai/Kia already have one on the market. Ford's and Toyota are on their 3rd-generation hybrid systems.

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    Re: Malibu ECO Math: $3000 - 3 Cubic Feet = 3MPG; GM Works To Improve eAssist Technol

    Quote Originally Posted by cmutt View Post
    I was completely underwhelmed with the current gen eAssist. Try the math: if you average 15,000 miles/year, you'd save roughly 53 gallons of gas if you got 4mpg better. At $4/g that's $212/yr. Only 14 years to reach a break-even point. My biggest surprise is that the 8% take rate is as high as it is.

    It's becoming clearer and clearer that GM 'missed the boat' on hybrids. Their eAssist system is nothing more than a weak attempt so that marketing has a something to tout while they wait for the Voltec to become profitable. They are in a tough position on this one: GM's bet is on the next-generation technology (Voltec) -- which is a generation (maybe two) away from being profitable. In the meantime, they've got nothing competitive (both cost and efficiency-wise) on the hybrid front - and if they did a 180 on things at this point, their full-hybrid product probably wouldn't reach market until the Voltec powertrain is close-to-profitability -- so why bother? They are stuck in limbo on this one. All the while gasoline hovers above $3.00+/g (and higher on the coasts). Perhaps they could reach an agreement/license hybrid tech? It's pretty sad that GM, as big as a player that they are, could misread the market on this so badly. Subaru is coming out with a hybrid - as is VW. Hyundai/Kia already have one on the market. Ford's and Toyota are on their 3rd-generation hybrid systems.

    GM didn't miss the boat. See: Volt. Toyota is barely making any profit on Prius, according to their own words, which means in reality they are breaking even. GM isn't looking to put a system into Malibu that causes it to barely break even. I applaud them for that. Let's get VOLTEC trickling through all models, but in the meantime, there is no point in slashing our own throats by selling it below cost in everything. eAssist is OK at what it does and most importantly the cost to adapt it to the current Malibu was probably next to nothing, all the engineering was done a long time ago. It helps a little with image and a little with sales, and that's all it was meant to do. Wait for a VOLTEC-2 equipped next gen Malibu to be a high volume seller.
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