General Motors plans to expand the lineup of the Malibu sedans built at the company’s Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kan., adding a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the car to production in 2007 for the 2008 model year, according to the Associated Press. The Fairfax plant, with 3,000 employees, already produces the gas-only versions of the Malibu and Malibu Maxx vehicles. While GM first announced in January it planned to build a hybrid version of the Malibu, the company had not formally said where it would be built. Detroit-based GM announced that decision on Oct 7. “It’s important to the plant. It’s important to the work force. It’s important to the community.” The Malibu will be the second hybrid vehicle coming from Kansas City-area plant. In August, Ford Motor Co. began producing a hybrid version of its Escape sport utility vehicle at its Claycomo plant. The hybrid Malibu will have a four-cylinder, 2.4-liter engine with front-wheel drive and automatic transmission. When the vehicle is traveling at less than six miles an hour, the engine shuts off and an electric-hydraulic system kicks in. GM said the vehicle will be 10 percent more fuel-efficient than its purely gas-powered counterpart. That version is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 35 miles per gallon on the highway and 24 in the city.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials