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GM Plans Major Marketing Campaign for Updated Malibu

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., less than two years after bringing out a redesigned Chevrolet Malibu, said it’s planning a marketing campaign comparable to a new vehicle introduction for the updated 2014 version.

“We’re looking at this as an all new launch,” Chris Perry, head of Chevy U.S. marketing, told reporters today in Plymouth, Michigan. The marketing campaign will include new television ads and run at least six months, Perry said.

GM announced changes for the 2014 model in May, including a sportier front end and roomier back seat intended to address criticisms of the totally redesigned sedan introduced last year. The 2014 Malibu is now arriving in showrooms.

The Malibu is rare misfire for GM as it brings out its best vehicles in a generation, including the Chevrolet Impala, which Consumer Reports gave the highest ranking among all sedans, the first time in at least 20 years that a U.S. automaker has outscored all Japanese and European competitors in that segment.

GM, based in Detroit, is bringing out 18 new or refreshed vehicles this year, transforming the automaker’s lineup into one of the newest in the industry from one of the oldest. The redesigned 2014 Silverado, which began arriving in showrooms earlier this year, also received the highest rating among all pickups from Consumer Reports.

The Malibu received middling reviews among a competitive segment dominated by Toyota Motor Corp.’s Camry, Ford Motor Co.’s Fusion and other mid-size offerings. The Malibu was “good, but not great at any single thing,” Lawrence Ulrich wrote in January in the New York Times.

U.S. sales of the Malibu fell 14 percent through September to 154,950, while deliveries of the top-selling Camry rose 1.3 percent to 318,990.

GM fell 0.1 percent to $34.16 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 18 percent this year, outpacing the 16 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Plymouth, Michigan at thiggins21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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