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Chevrolet will build their 2013 Malibu in China and South Korea before it beings production Stateside, solidifying Chevrolet’s aims for the Malibu to be a “world car”.
South Korea will be the first country to build the Malibu, starting in late 2011. China and the United States will begin building the car in early 2012. South Korean Malibus will be built domestically in order to dodge substantial levies on imported cars, while America will get cars built in both Michigan and Kansas.
Chevrolet notably debuted the car in China in advance of the car’s American introduction, with GM touting strong sales in Asia for the car.
Designing a single car for the entire world is a tough proposition. No matter how hard engineers strive towards a unified design, concessions must usually be made, particularly with regards to engine and gearbox choices. Other instances have called for variations in size to suit regional tastes.
While the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze are technically world cars, albeit with different powertrains for different markets, Mitsubishi is forging ahead with a much more ambitious world car project.
In an interview with Autocar magazine, Mitsubishi‘s global product director, Gayu Eusegi, said that the company was limiting regional changes to its not Global Small Car “colours and interior fabrics”, and that engine variations would only be carried out in the name of meeting emissions standards.
Mitsubishi is apparently planning on using 1.0L and 1.2L gasoline engines, with a start-stop system. While such small engines are the norm in most markets, they would be considered extremely undersized for North America. Mitsubishi also plans on offering hybrid and full electric versions of the car.