The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Chevrolet Malibu Voted 2009 MY Car of the Year

December 2008, by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

Chevrolet again captured both Fleet Car and Fleet Truck of the Year awards, duplicating its 2007 performance when the Chevrolet Impala sedan and Silverado pickup earned top honors. This year, the Malibu and Silverado 1500 were selected.

The win is a "four-peat" for Chevrolet. The automaker previously won for the Impala three years running. Fleet professionals voted online in the Automotive Fleet-sponsored recognition.

Qualified fleet buyers chose from among 73 2009 model-year domestic and import-badged cars and 21 light-duty trucks, including pickups, vans, and SUVs. Votes were cast on

"We are thrilled the Chevy Malibu has been named the ‘Fleet Car of the Year,’ following in the footsteps of the Chevy Impala, which received the honor the past three years in a row," said Ed Peper, GM North American VP - Chevrolet. "Malibu is just a great car with its styling, quality, dependability, and fuel economy — all at a great value. We’re glad fleet customers think so, too!"

2009 Malibu Features New Changes/Better Fuel Economy

After undergoing a complete redesign in 2008, the Malibu’s 2009 model featured a few minimal changes and new features. They include an expanded offering of the fuel-saving 2.4L 6-speed automatic powertrain combination, new exterior color choices, and a new Bluetooth wireless connectivity option.

The 2009 model changes and new features include:

  • A 2.4L four-cylinder with 6-speed automatic transmission now standard on LTZ models; V-6 / 6-speed powertrain is available.
  • A 6-speed automatic transmission standard on 2LT and available on 1LT versions.
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control with brake assist and traction control standard on all models.
  • Seventeen-inch fascia spoke wheels and touring tires standard on LS and 1LT models.
  • Four new exterior colors: Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic, and Silver Moss Metallic.
  • Bluetooth connectivity available with the new OnStar 8.0 system.

The 2009 Malibu is offered in several well-equipped trim levels: LS, LT, and LTZ — all with standard head-curtain side airbags and front-seat thorax airbags, as well as available convenience features, including remote vehicle start. Also offered is the fuel-saving Malibu Hybrid model, EPA-rated at 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

"Before the launch of the all-new Chevy Malibu, we told our fleet customers they were going to like it," said Brian McVeigh, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations general manager. "And now, they are telling us that we got it right by providing the mid-size car they want to drive. We’re proud to have the Malibu join the ranks of ‘Fleet Car of the Year’ along with the fleet favorite, Chevy Impala."


Redesigned Malibu a Hit with Fleets

According to Connie Scarpelli, GM fleet & commercial marketing and product manager for passenger cars, fleet feedback on the Malibu has been extremely positive.

"From impressive styling to excellent ride and handling to superior safety features, fleet managers love the performance and value they’re getting from the Malibu," she said. "The fact that they’re getting all the capability for such a small price is exactly what our fleet customers are looking for."

Other features fleets appreciate include the performance of the vehicle’s four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines, OnStar’s vehicle diagnostics system capabilities, and fuel economy.

According to Charlie Szymanski, manager of global insurance and fleet services for PPG Industries in Pittsburgh, the fleet’s main goals for 2008 were to reduce vehicle cost and fuel consumption, both of which were achieved by utilizing the Malibu.

The company estimates the Malibu will save about 10 percent on fuel costs.

"Malibu beat everything else out there," Szymanski said.

PPG’s current fleet of 2008 and 2009 Malibus numbers about 100. As the main car on the company’s new selector list, Szymanski anticipates adding another 400 2009 Malibus to the fleet in the spring.

"We use it as a sales sedan, and our drivers are putting on about 30,000 miles per year," he said. "It is working out very well."

At left, Brian McVeigh, GM fleet and commercial operations general manager, and Ed Peper, GM North American VP - Chevrolet, display AF’s Fleet Car and Truck of the Year trophies with GM employees.

Another fleet achieving success with the Malibu is American Water in Voorhees, N.J. According to Rob Allen, corporate fleet manager, the Malibu is now affectionately called the "Bu" by company employees. "The ‘Bu’ is durable, and our engineers and supervisors love it for business travel," he said. "And the four-cylinder engine equals anything the Asian-based manufacturers put out there."

By 2010, Allen anticipates having about 150 2008 and 2009 Malibu and Malibu Hybrids in the company’s fleet, composed mainly of pickup trucks.

Utilizing the Malibu, American Water has lowered maintenance by 20 percent and increased fuel efficiency by 23 percent.

"With great gas mileage, a stylish look, and superior handling — all at a great value — the new Malibu is a significant improvement on a car we already loved," Allen said.

American Water will continue testing the Malibu Hybrid and has already received positive comments on its performance.

Brian McVeigh (l), GM Fleet & Commercial Operations general manager, accepts the Fleet Car of the Year trophy from Bob Brown, AF associate publisher.

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