Home » Chevy’s Answer To The Tesla Model 3 Looks Damn Good

Chevy’s Answer To The Tesla Model 3 Looks Damn Good

2025 Chevy Malibu

On today’s Morning Dump we’ve got Chevy’s first EV sedan concept, news that GM is servicing Teslas, a bad Ford recall, and an update on Carvana.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

This Is The Chevrolet FNR-XE Concept

Tmd Chevy Fx Nr

At its core, Globalization is the idea that the world shouldn’t be treated as a bunch of smaller markets, but as one big, mostly borderless place. A company mines bauxite in Australia and ships it to Iceland to turn it into aluminum wire and then that wire gets sent to Slovakia to make a Porsche that’s exported to Cleveland. It doesn’t make immediate geographical or logical sense but it makes economic sense and it works until it doesn’t.

Because cars are such complex objects, both in terms of production and marketing, there was a long period of history where cars were often made for specific geographies on specific platforms. Volkswagen tossed this idea out the window when it created the MQB modular platform and basically told its many sub-brands that their new small cars were going to share parts and the same general underpinnings.

Oh, time for a Seat Leon for Spain? Good news, it’s gonna be MQB. A Skoda Superb for the Czechs? Congrats, you get an MBQ. A Volkswagen Magotan for China? **OPRAH VOICE** YOU GET AN MQB!

There’s still a key piece here, though, which is that all of these cars were still very much marketed and packaged as individual cars for individual markets. Even if cars were shared across markets, they’d show up at different times. I already called out “Boundless” in the book gift guide last week, but there’s a great aside where newly-minted Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn finds out that the company was debuting cars in Japan 18 months before they debuted in the United States, by which time they were already old. Nissan’s proposed solution was to just delay the Japanese cars by 18 months, which did not go over well with the new boss.

I mention all of these because the car above is not initially described as being for the United States. This is the FNR-XE, and it debuted at Tech Day 2022 in China and previews a new car to be sold there. InsideEVs has a good write-up explaining it:

No specifications are available yet, but Chinese media speculate the FNR-XE is a Tesla Model 3-sized compact sedan closely related to the 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV. Local reports also claim that a production model for the mass segment inspired by this concept will debut in China next year.

Unsurprisingly, it’s based on the GM Ultium platform that also underpins the 2024 Chevy Equinox EV and, yeah, at that size a Model 3-ish competitor makes sense. It also makes sense from a price perspective, given that GM thinks it can sell EV Equinoxes here for $30,000 (to start at least), which means it could be competitive with NIO and BYD in China.

If this was 1998 we’d all say “Neat!” and move on because we’d know that the Chinese version would be nothing like what we’d get here. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. This is the first electric sedan from Chevy (and, arguably, from GM, given that the Cadillac Celestiq is barely a sedan).

The design language is all there. If I just lied and said this was the new Chevy Malibu (or Chevy MalEbu or whatever) would you have believed me? GM launching its next generation EVs with trucks and crossovers and the like shows that GM is listening to to customer demands (and building very profitable things first), but the success of the Model 3 can’t be ignored and sedans are great platforms for the technology.

Also, Tesla’s Model 3 has been around mostly unchanged since 2017 and, while it still looks good, it doesn’t look new. This looks new and, in my opinion, better.

In the end, the first Chevy EV sedan in the United States might look radically different, but don’t be surprised if it’s quite similar.

[Editor’s Note: I don’t agree that this looks better than modern Teslas. I do think Teslas are a bit dated, design wise, but this concept feels like it could have come from 2010. Or am I being harsh? Also, Jason wanted me to mention the Electrovair Chevrolet sedan from the 1960s. -DT]

GM’s Making Money Servicing Teslas

Tmd Mark Reuss

Building cars is hard. Servicing cars is also hard, but there’s allegedly good money in it. While Tesla has gotten better at building cars, the servicing cars part is taking a bit of time.

This is anecdotal, but people I know with Teslas have had longer-than-normal wait times for service and this is backed up by the Tesla Motors Club forum. You know who seems happy to service those cars? General Motors. There’s an interesting piece from Automotive News that outlines how this happens:

GM President Mark Reuss said this month that the company’s retailers had fixed 11,180 Teslas over the past two years. He didn’t say what types of repairs were performed, though much of it was likely routine maintenance.

Reuss attributed the business to GM’s dealership network being more convenient and more experienced than Tesla’s.

“That’s a growing business for us, I’ve got to say,” he said during a presentation at GM’s investor day event in New York. “It’s a new business, which is great. Those customers brought their vehicles to us for service because they know we know and we have the expertise to fix them. They know that we have the customer service experience that they also want. And they know that we have the service bays and the dealerships in place.”

I have crossed paths with Reuss and therefore can picture the giant smile he probably had on his face as he said this. Being able to offer a good experience to your competition’s customers as you launch cars directly targeted at them is about as good as it gets in marketing.

Let’s Check In On Carvana

Tmd Carvana StockIt’s Monday and that seems like a good time to check in on Carvana again. Between the lawsuits and the questionable securitization of its loans, the once rapidly expanding used car dealership network has hit some trouble.

The company started the month at $15.28 a share and it hit as low as $6.50 a share in regular trading. Today it opened at $8.05. Not great, but somewhere in the $7-8 range seems to be the current bottom.

We’ll check back in a week and see if the news gets better or worse.

Ford Is Recalling 634,000 Bronco Sports And Escapes Over Fire Risk

2023 Bronco Sport

If you have a 2020-2023 Ford Escape or Ford Bronco Sport with the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine you might wanna read this press release from Ford and schedule a dealer appointment ASAP.

Here’s what’s going on:

When the engine is operating, a cracked fuel injector could cause fuel and/or fuel vapor to accumulate near hot surfaces, resulting in a potential under hood fire.

[…]

Ford is taking steps to minimize the inconvenience for customers, including providing an option to arrange for free pick-up, repair and delivery, in addition to owners taking vehicles themselves to Ford dealers.

Not fun. Ford will update your engine control software so you get a warning if this happens, will install a tube that drains fuel from the cylinder head and away from hot surfaces, and will check to see if your motor smells like a bunch of fuel.

The company says you can keep driving just, you know, get this fixed as quickly as you can.

The Flush

Is it a good or a bad thing that cars are becoming global? Are you excited about the prospect of finally getting your hands on cars that were once only for foreign markets (bring us the Honda E you cowards!) or are you bummed that, even if you can’t easily access these vehicles, that they won’t exist? DEBATE!

Photos: Chevrolet, GM, Ford, Google

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit

53 Responses

  1. “Chevrolet FNR-XE”

    Looks good. And if there is another Malibu, GM could do a lot worse than putting the Malibu name on that car. Now if they do that, I’d like it if they did a Malibu MAXX hatchback/wagon version of it.

    “Is it a good or a bad thing that cars are becoming global?”

    I would say it’s neither good nor bad… it’s just a thing. And the industry has been talking about ‘global cars’ now for at least since the 1970s. It’s not a new thing. There are upsides and downsides to it.

    Yeah it can ‘save costs’. But the downside is you end up with a design not optimized to any particular market and thus, the design gets its ass kicked by the more localized competition.

    That’s what happened to the Ford Contour and VW Eurovan in North America.

    And I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of North American cars flopping in the EU and other markets for the same reason.

    1. I despise GM (fiery Cadillac, moldy Camaro, disintegrating Firebird) but nothing in GM’s line-up right now looks half as offensive as any Tesla.

      1. Oh look another opportunity for me to ask if someone has actually driven the current gen Camaro! Have you? Because compromises aside (and there are many!) that platform is absolutely amazing. I got to take a V6 for an afternoon rip on country roads and had an SS convertible as a rental on my honeymoon that I got to do some serious mountain driving in.

        It’s one of the best affordable driver’s cars out there right now. If you can live with the compromises (useless back seat, tiny trunk opening, sheer size) and get past the Camaro name/bro-ey culture and styling you really can’t do a whole lot better as far as affordable sports cars go….and it’s available as an honest to god NA V8 with a manual transmission, although I won’t knock folks for getting the 10 speed because it’s a great transmission.

        In 2022 we’re lucky to still have it around IMHO. 10 years from now when the Camaro is an electric crossover all of our favorite car blogs are going to be writing articles about how good the last ICE Camaro was and lament the fact that no one bought it.

        1. Agreed. I did test-drive a V6 with a manual a couple years back, and really liked it, but the visibility just killed it for me. I loved the V6 soundtrack, the transmission, and handling, but I was super nervous changing lanes and pulling into the parking spot at the end of the drive. Maybe I could have gotten used to it, but just couldn’t drop that much cash on something I wasn’t 100% sure about. It is amazing how far that nameplate has come since the ’90s. Kudos to those who do buy and enjoy them. It will be missed.

          1. Today I’ve encountered:

            1). Someone complaining that I was being too snarky on a sarcastic, meme friendly sports blog

            2). Someone complaining that I’ve ranted about a car too much after it was mentioned in another comment on a….car blog?

            You can’t win em all I guess. Maybe I’ll be better off just screaming into the abyss about my hobbies than talking to presumably like minded strangers on the internet about them.

  2. The fact that it took Australian production for GM to offer large V8 RWD sedans here remains astounding in hindsight. Nonetheless, as a two time Holden owner, I am grateful for that bit of globalization.

    Now that the Oz pipeline is shut off, I don’t much care what companies do to bring cars from other markets here. On average, the foreigners seem to be smaller, less powerful, and more electrified than my preferred vehicles, so they don’t really interest me in any case.

  3. Ford Is Recalling 634,000 Bronco Sports And Escapes Over Risk Of FIREY DEATH!***
    *Fixed it for you
    **Death not likely but possible, see promotional offer for details

      1. We never had this problem back in the good old days when all cars had carburetors! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go adjust my points and change my spark plugs

  4. The Model 3 is cute, but “Americans” (the stereotype, not necessarily the individuals) want the Model Y instead.

    I bet GM has no plans to sell that here. They will give us a portly lump with some cladding and bigger wheels instead.

    Which is too bad, because that sedan is a million times better looking than the awkwardly styled Model 3.

    1. I completely and absolutely disagree.

      The Model 3 is a tiny shitball of a car.. that looks EXACTLY like something my smol one would attempt — and succeed in clogging the toilet. The 3 has no redeeming design features. Nothing that looks interesting.. or even curious. Its simply a cheaper Model S = Laptop on Wheels. Its not cute. Its not good looking. It is without character. Defining it as “cute” means.. it has some “adorable” quality, which I am struggling to understand.

      The Y is for all the yahoos.. who need AWD but have all seasons.

      AS far as the lump of POO noted above… I hope to Moses, I dont have to operate that. Theres no interest, glory, satisfaction, design ethos. Its strictly a car to be bought, used, recharged and DISCHARGED. No personality.. what-so-ever.

      1. I’m going to tell you bluntly that you’re very wrong. I’m not a Tesla stan and I sorta hate Elon Musk, but one thing I do know is that Tesla nailed the exterior designs of the S, X, 3 and Y. There are a lot of little details I would change here and there, but the basics are done as good as anyone has ever done an exterior design.

        Teslas are good, attractive designs because they are minimalist. Clean. Classic. Correct. They may never look new again, but they will always look modern. They don’t need to change year to year because they’re in the same category as a Porsche 911.

        They aren’t burdened with dozens of shapes and lines and other garbage “features” that do nothing to contribute to the function of the car. Styling features are simply not features at all. They’re garbage tacked on for temporary appeal. That’s why styling features are constantly changing. They are there for temporary appeal.

        I get it. You don’t like electric cars. Fine. Hate the powertrain all you want. But the exterior is proper. Teslas are some of the greatest automotive designs ever.

        1. The exterior is just one of many issues.

          The interior.. is just plain poor. I mean, paying 50g + for a laptop with wheels on it and getting an interior with no interaction? No materials, no tactile feel… NOTHING? 50g+! When the FISKER KARMA was being sold… damn thing looked like sex on wheels. Sure it had a mouth only a boat payments to a Dentist / Doctor could fix. But the interior… had issues. Then again it was powered by two rodents err muskrats.

          Ahhhhh…. and I had High Hopes for Bob Lutz trying to sell a V8 conversion for the Karma.

          How in the world.. do ya spend 50g, 70g+ and ya get a interior.. with nothing. No color, no tactile feel, no… nothing? (Technically, this is Engineering + Cost + IoT 101. Make a thing, load it so full of “tech” and computer things that someone will want the computer things… more than the actual Object the Computer is sitting inside. Thats why people want the Android Auto / Apple bullshit… and will do anything to get it. Even drive a FIT or some other runty garbage. -=– Cause the “tech” is more important than the vehicle. — Which leads in to where the “money is”. Load up the screen with extra bs menus and save on the interior quality and finishes. = Everyone wins — sarcasm.)

        2. yes, while the designs aren’t particularly interesting, unique, or inspiring, they are at least well proportioned, and not under- or over-done. the word that comes to mind is “nice”.
          Franz Von Holzhausen has stated before that he took quite a bit of “inspiration” from the aston martin DB9, and you can see it.
          I wouldn’t call the teslas among “the greatest automotive designs ever” per se, but they certainly do avoid making the car unattractive. I think it’s more like the logical conclusion of applying product design to cars “artificial beauty”.

    2. So, an Equinox EV isn’t a Compact Utility Vehicle? And yes, we Americans do like embellishments on our cars, if not only to pick our cars out from a parking lot full of like vehicles.

    3. If by cute, you mean cute like an AM Pacer, then ok. I find them ungainly, weirdly proportioned, almost always painted white to get that early 90’s appliance look, and now with it comes with the stigma of Elon Musk. That Chevy look amazing and I have never owned a GM car. I have owned 30+ cars.

  5. Global platforms are hardly new – Honda and others have been doing global platforms for a couple of decades now, but the cars they build on those platforms are often significantly different from each other because what passes for a large sedan in Asia and Europe is barely a mid-size in the US.

  6. Global car design has worked out okay for me personally. It gave me a competitive GM small car that was light-years ahead of its predecessor.

    It can be a good thing for sourcing parts like suspension bits or other common stuff. Sometimes enthusiasts in other countries make mods that apply globally. This has happened on a few different cars I’ve had.

    1. What’s sort of funny though, is that except for the Saturn, isn’t every single small GM after the Vega a product of global car design? T and J Bodies, multiple generations of Delta, some of the Daewoo castoffs, all either the product of foreign divisions, or at least shared overseas. Unfortunately, a lot of it was passably mediocre at time of launch, and held on for way too long.

  7. Re: The Flush

    Expectation: Fun sedans, wagons, shooting brakes, convertibles, hatchbacks, fastbacks, liftbacks, kammbacks, comebacks, and babybacks from all around the world, all available here in the US!

    Reality: “We decided the premium compact crossover market wasn’t quite saturated enough yet, so here’s a rebadged Buick we’ve already been selling for the last three years in China.”

  8. 1). It looks sharp, like all of Chevy’s EVs do so far. I just pray to whatever deity is watching over us that it isn’t rebadged as a Camaro and sold here. I’d rather the Camaro name just die and be remembered fondly than see it on an electric sedan like it’s rumored for or worse…an electric crossover.

    2). Good for GM for filling the void. Tesla sucks ass at being an actual car manufacturer and this could prove to be a great opportunity for the company to get people into GM EVs. If someone’s Tesla is doing Tesla things and they bring it to a dealership where there are GM EVs sitting on the lot it will tempt people.

    3). Hahahahahahahahahahaha straight to hell with your scam

    4). I swear I’d this had happened at, say, Hyundai or VW there’d be 9,000 different articles and videos about HOW TERRIBLE THEY ARE AND HOW YOU HAVE TO STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS but to my eyes it more or less seems like recalls come and go for some companies without much fanfare. Am I off base here or do other people see the same pattern?

    The flush: this is a complicated one. I think there are benefits to globalization but I agree with the sentiment here that in our context here it’s been absolutely dreadful for enthusiast cars and honestly I think it’s been bad for cars in general. This is why we have 10,000 different but indistinguishable SUVs….I also think MQB is a great example for critique as well because making cars on these hyper modular platforms often spreads problems throughout entire lineups of vehicles.

    Take a look at any of the MQB car forums if you have any further questions….but anecdotally my sister and I each bought MQB cars in the summer of 2020 that we got rid of mainly due to all the gremlins we ran into….and whenever we’d take them to VW to get looked at the techs would always respond with “yeah, this a problem these cars have across the board. We can’t do anything about it unless it gets to recall level, just live with it”.

    Um….excuse me? Leave it to VW to find a way to give you standardized gremlins lol.

    1. I’ve owned a Model 3 for three and a half years and have never had trouble when it needed servicing from Tesla. Both the service centers and their mobile service have been great experiences.

      1. “Mine is fine” doesn’t mean that there aren’t widespread problems. Every car blog is loaded to the brim with Tesla horror stories and there’s clearly a big enough need on this front that a competitor is stepping in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad yours has been fine and you’re allowed to like what you like.

        But personal experience doesn’t trump what the numbers say. My Hyundai has been completely problem free and the dealership I bought it from was super nice to me…but that doesn’t mean the brand doesn’t have reliability and dealership network issues, because they absolutely do and the information on them is everywhere.

        1. Car enthusiast websites are particularly awash in Tesla hatred — providing knee-jerk comments about terrible experiences and quality — and almost entirely from people who have never owned a Tesla. Most of them have largely been in the “Tesla = bad” echo chamber for so long that they’ve been totally programmed by all the fud. I think it’s important for actual owners to give feedback.

          My math was pre-coffee in my previous comment. I’ve owned my car for 4.5 years and have been to more than one service location and have had more than one mobile servicing. None of the experiences suggested anything like what you had commented. I think my input is worth considering.

          FWIW, at one point Tesla’s rooftop solar offerings became so competitively inexpensive that I signed up for installation. I had a terrible experience with that and will gladly give an honest perspective on how sucky it was. I’m not just speaking as some blind Tesla yes-person.

  9. Chevy’s had a thing for quite a while now reusing old names, and I don’t think this is going to be an exception.
    I doubt they’d use “Malibu”, as any memory of the old A-body barges is long gone in favour of forgettable plastic rental cars.
    “Corvair” works, being a futuristic “rear-engined” midsize sedan, but that’s almost too obvious.
    Hyundai has shown that retro-80s-shitboxes are all the rage these days, perhaps “Celebrit-E”?
    Given the possible positioning adjacent to the Malibu, maybe “MontE-Carlo” or “ChEVelle”?
    Or, remember the “Chevy II”? what if they throw a curveball and call this the “Chevy III”?

    Other than those “deluxe” seems a bit too generic now, and anything based on “BA Confederate” probably wouldn’t go down too well, so that’s probably all the options.

  10. Of course GM won’t bring this car over here. All real Americans have 3 children involved in sports and/or the school band, have a dog that they have to cart everywhere and do lots of projects throughout the year. A sedan simply won’t hold all of that American-ness. They’re more than happy to concede the sedan/smaller car market to the “foreign” brands, because they know there’s always going to be that core demographic that’ll eat up whatever yes-to-excess-bigger-is-better toxic masculinity-inspired jumbomobiles they put out, simply because it’s made by an American brand.

    -Signed, someone who won’t be fooled again after the Chevrolet Code 130R/Tru 140 and Buick Avista concepts failed to materialize as production models

  11. To address a few ideas;
    1. The NWO (New World Order) idea looks good in principal it always fails because someone tries to capitolize by screwing someone else.
    2. Teslas being dated. Yes they are. And every car journalist and enthusiasts knows this. I wonder if the other 98% of the population knows or even cares.
    3. Cheverolet servicing Teslas is good for GM and Tesla and Tesla customers. But after reading todays shitcan marketplace and realizing the Ford and Chevy despite decades of time, dozens of different brands and cars including RVs and HD equipment didnt have diversity in manpower or engines/transmissions so a little less experience than thought.
    4. Carvana, yes improved stock price due to owner who has made $81 million off of stock sales buying $1 million. Buying worthless stock $1 million. Setting up an excuse to not go to jail while pocketing $80 million priceless.

  12. “Ford will update your engine control software so you get a warning if this happens, will install a tube that drains fuel from the cylinder head and away from hot surfaces, and will check to see if your motor smells like a bunch of fuel.”

    That’s all well and good, but what about just fixing the injectors that are cracking within the warranty period? This isn’t a fix, it’s a band-aid, much like their solution to the Maverick (I think) engine leaking oil was to punch holes in the underbody aero so the oil could leak out instead of potentially igniting. Honestly, if I had one of those engines I’d probably just as soon have it start on fire so I could get something that wouldn’t leak copious amounts of important fluids.

    1. An additional bit of info. An earlier article I read stated the excess fuel would just be dumped on the ground. Nothing like worse fuel economy and getting the tree huggers upset to get additional press.

  13. Not that interested in global cars. Either in terms of distribution or in terms of construction/manufacturing.

    I get why both are a thing, but I disagree that they should be happening at the level that they are

  14. I think global cars suck because when world trade basically gets shut down you can’t build any cars for your market unless all of your parts for said cars are domestically sourced as well as the raw materials and the refining of said raw materials.

    That being said I love manual transmissions and the US seemingly hates them. I also like small automobiles and the US seemingly hates them.

    So I’m a big fan of foreign cars.

  15. Globalization and platform sharing has been going on for awhile and it is great for the manufacturers. The benefit is a little more questionable for consumers. How much of the cost savings is passed onto to us? How much better could the sedan, coupe, or wagon be dynamically if it were not sitting on a universal platform also used to make big CUVs? Of course, the people buying CUVs don’t care about driving dynamics so much, and they are the vast majority. Likely enthusiasts are the only ones suffering and they are a small portion of sales, so makers don’t care.

  16. The model S is the only good looking Tesla, and they made that even worse with the refresh. The other models are just a baby bear, mama bear, and papa bear of the same squeezed out turd.

    1. Agreed. The worst thing about all of the Teslas (exterior, anyway) is the front end. They lopped off the quite-attractive front end of the S and then copied that to all later models. This Chevy basically looks (to me) like a 3, but with a better face, so a major improvement. Here’s hoping they bring it to market, but with actual door handles

  17. Teslas aren’t ugly or dated so much as they are sort of generic now. There are so many Teslas (mainly 3s and S’s, maybe the odd Y, rarely see the X anymore) in Austin that my brain barely registers them. The 3 in particular is like the new Honda Accord or Toyota Camry of the 90s – ubiquitous, and thus plain as a paper bag.

    This new Chevy actually looks pretty good to my eyes. I would notice it driving down the road.

    1. I also think the Model S design language just never scaled up successfully to crossovers, the X and Y just sort of seem a little bloated and a bit “off” in a sort of nonspecific way. The 3 somehow seems a bit stubby or squished, but it still works generally pretty well. The same sausage/different lengths design strategy works well enough for cars, but doing it for both cars and light trucks simultaneously might have been a step too far

      1. The thing that looks off (to me anyways) about the X and Y is that they don’t really offer any more ground clearance, maybe 1/2 to 1 inch, than the S and 3. They sort of look like a sedan that was stretched along the vertical axis.

  18. Sorry DT, but this looks 100% better to my eyes than anything Elon the electric turd has ever produced. Including his flamethrowers and children…YMMV, but Jesus his cars look like shit to me every time my eyes are exposed to one of them. It burns.

    1. Well my eyes don’t burn, but my design stomach churns, except for the S. Proportions are spot on, it looks like an expensive sedan in the AUDI mold, but like Audi, the drivers are all (ok 90%) on your bumper move over plebeian a wholes.

  19. I’m all for global designs if that means we get the better-looking products instead of some of the substandard designs manufacturers think Americans deserve.

  20. We need to join on to the UNECE standards. The US FMVSS was made to be different, not better. A non-tariff trade barrier coupled with the stupid 25-year shit, which would also become moot if we accept the international standards.

    Mexico accepts both FMVSS and UNECE.

    1. Since US traffic design and vehicle mix both make the increased side impact protection seem reasonable to me, I think that there should be a harmonized specification that includes some of each but is *one damn standard* for both. Simply adopting the EU standard for use here isn’t reasonable.

Leave a Reply