GM Developing Ultium-Based EV Sedan That Could Replace the Chevy Malibu

chevy fnr xe sedan concept
GM's New EV Sedan Could Replace the Chevy MalibuGM
  • GM president Mark Reuss recently revealed that an electric Chevy sedan is being developed for China, as first reported by GM Authority.

  • Ruess said the new Ultium-based EV is still early in development and suggested it might make it to the U.S. as a Malibu replacement.

  • With the Chinese debut of the Chevy FNR-XE sedan concept (shown here), we think its design could preview a Malibu EV.

As SUVs and crossovers have surged in popularity over the past decade, Chevrolet’s previously healthy sedan lineup has dwindled down to a single vehicle, the Malibu. The mid-size sedan is growing long in the tooth, having been on sale since 2016 with a light refresh in 2019. However, now there's hope for the Malibu's future, with General Motors president Mark Reuss revealing during a recent Investor Day presentation in China that Chevy is working on a “low-roof” EV that will feature sedan-like proportions, according to a report by GM Authority.

chevy fnr xe sedan concept front

The upcoming electric sedan is just entering the early stages of development, but Reuss called the design "pretty dramatic" and said the EV will occupy the same mid-size segment as the current Malibu. This possible replacement has already been confirmed for the Chinese market, where sedans are still in high demand, but Chevy may eventually offer the EV in the United States. Reuss appeared to leave the door open for U.S. availability, saying at the event, “... we’ll see the desirability as we clinic this.”

Chevy recently debuted an electric sedan concept in China called the FNR-XE (pictured above). Its design could offer a preview of the EV referenced by Reuss, and the concept is based on the Ultium battery platform. The overall shape is similar to the Honda e:N2 concept revealed for China in November, and Honda and GM are already collaborating on electric crossovers, with the Chevy Blazer EV and Honda Prologue sharing the same platform.

chevy fnr xe concept

The Malibu's potential all-electric replacement will debut for the Chinese market at the end of 2024, so U.S. sales—if GM decides to bring it here—likely wouldn’t start until at least 2025.

Although many customers have gravitated towards SUVs in recent years, the Malibu still represents a decent chunk of sales for Chevy. After a massive decline in 2021, dropping from 102,651 units sold in 2020 to just 39,376 units, the Malibu has rebounded in 2022, with nearly 80,000 units sold through the third quarter.

There is still a market for sedans in America, so an electric Malibu may end up making sense for Chevrolet to bring to our shores as the company pivots away from gas-powered vehicles.

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