Home » The Last Affordable Gas-Powered American Sedan Dies This Year

The Last Affordable Gas-Powered American Sedan Dies This Year

Tmd Malibu 2
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Americans didn’t invent the car, we just made the car better, just like we did with cinema, basketball, and buffets. Henry Ford democratized car ownership with the Model T, and this country experienced a long run of great, gas-powered sedans. That’s over, as GM will finally end production of the last actual internal combustion sedan sold in America by any American car brand.

That’s right, the Chevy Malibu–the 5th best thing you can rent from any Enterprise in the Phoenix area–will see its long production run come to an end this year. Why? To make room for electric crossovers. Welcome to the future.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The future is arguably worse in England, as Ford is threatening to limit the number of gas-powered cars because of EV mandates and a desire to be profitable. That’s still better than the prospect for Chinese cars in the United States, where the government is bandying around the idea of a ban. And, finally, Uncle Sam is looking into Tesla for all matter of serious crimes.

RIP Malibu

2024 Malibu
Source: GM

I was tempted to write that the death of the Malibu this year marked the death of the gas-powered American car, but there are American cars. Chevy is still building Corvettes, Ford is still building Mustangs, and… oh, actually, that’s it. Huh.

Did you even know the Malibu was still in production? I sort of forgot until I saw a story in the Detroit Free Press pointing this out:

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General Motors (GM.N), said Wednesday it will end production of its gasoline-powered Chevrolet Malibu car later this year in order to produce new electric vehicles.

GM has sold more than 10 million Malibus since 1964 worldwide and will end production in November. The Detroit automaker is investing $390 million at its Kansas assembly plant to build next-generation Chevrolet Bolt EVs. GM halted production of the prior generation Bolt in December.

That’s it. No more affordable sedans for the moment. Ford’s abandoned the Focus, Fusion, and Taurus. Buick’s lineup is all crossover. Lincoln’s lineup is all crossover. Stellantis ended production of the Charger and 300C. There’s the Tesla, but the company has unfortunately abandoned its V8-powered Model S-X and that’s hardly affordable. This will make the Cadillac CT4 the most affordable American-built, gas-powered sedan, but at $35k starting it’s $10k more than the starting price of the Malibu.

If you want a reasonably affordable sedan the 2024 Chevy Malibu is it! The car was updated in 2024 and the little graphic really gives away why the car was built at all:

2024 Malibu Build Info

You get a new color and you get rear park assist for “non-fleet models.” How many non-fleet human beings bought a Malibu?

If you miss sedans you don’t need to worry too much because this shall only be but a brief lacuna, a pause, a temporary void. Next year you’ll get the 2025 Dodge Charger, which is an American sedan (well, it’s a fastback type thing). Otherwise, your only options will be electric cars like the Cadillac Celestiq and the Tesla Model S.

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Of course, non-American automakers will happily sell you a sedan. So if you can’t get a new Malibu you can console yourself with a 2025 Toyota Camry.

Ford Would Rather Sell Fewer Gas Cars Than Lose Money

Ft Conf
Source: Martin Sander

Ford Europe came out swinging yesterday amidst the confusing, contradictory signals it’s getting from the UK government.

Here’s what Martin Sander, GM Ford Model e Europe/CEO Ford Werke GmbH, told the Financial Times during a summit they hosted this week:

He told a Financial Times summit that weak sales meant the company’s only option to avoid crippling fines under the UK’s new electric vehicle quota rules was to divert sales to other countries.

“We can’t push EVs into the market against demand. We’re not going to pay penalties. We are not going to sell EVs at huge losses just to buy compliance. The only alternative is to take our shipments of [engine] vehicles to the UK down and sell these vehicles somewhere else,” he told the FT’s Future of the Car Summit in London.

He added: “I don’t know if consumers in the UK would like seeing [engine vehicle] prices going up.”

The current government is a little wishy-washy on the EV thing, but it’s not clear how long this government will be in place. Currently, automakers in England have to sell a certain percentage of EVs (22% this year) or pay a penalty. Rather than sell more EVs, it sounds like Ford is considering just selling fewer gas-powered cars to make up the difference.

Is this an idle threat or a real thing? I’m not sure, but Ford is dramatically reducing its gas-powered offerings in the UK so it does make some sense. The quickest way to get a numerator to do what you want is to change the denominator.

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That being said, Sander did say that he still thinks EVs are the end goal, even if it’s going to take a little longer. Or, as Sander put it in a LinkedIn post:

My optimistic message might surprise some: Ford has been in the market for 120 years, and we plan to be in the market in 120 years. So we have to compete and become ever more efficient. Uncertainty is part of the business now. We have to embrace it and enjoy it!

Uncertainty! A thing all business owners enjoy.

No American Government Is Going To Let Chinese Cars Happen

Byd Dealer 6
Source: Tycho/The Autopian

Americans have been buying and driving Chinese-built cars for a while. Chinese parts seep into everything. But a Chinese brand? That is a bridge too far, apparently.

The Trump Administration put in a 27.5% tariff on Chinese cars and President Joe Biden was happy to keep that going. Back in February, the Biden Administration doubled down on the growing anti-Chinese car sentiment by saying it would do, uh, something.

Courtesy of Reuters, we’ve got a slightly better idea of what that might mean:

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The U.S. could take “extreme action” and ban Chinese connected vehicles or impose restrictions on them, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday, in the first indication a ban could be on the table after a national security investigation.

The Commerce Department is reviewing public comments that were due by April 30, Raimondo told Reuters, on a probe the Biden administration launched in February into whether Chinese vehicle imports pose national security risks.

“We have to digest all the data and then figure out what action that we want to take,” Raimondo said without detailing a timeline. “We could take extreme action, which is to say no Chinese connected vehicles in the United States or look for mitigation” including safeguards, guardrails or other requirements.

There’s a bit of realpolitik here as we’ve already seen with Chinese-made cars in Europe. America’s relationship with China isn’t great at the moment, but it’s not terrible, and I could see a Biden administration merely putting in ‘guardrails’ in exchange for some help isolating Russia.

Federal Prosecutors Looking Into Whether Or Not Tesla Did A Wire Fraud

221026151430 Elon Musk Entering Twitter Hq 1026 Screenshot
Screenshot: CNN

Even I get a little mixed up over the various legal actions that Tesla is mixed up in at any moment. The company’s got more probes than a ’90s Ford dealer.

This time it’s the Justice Department looking into whether or not Tesla “committed wire fraud, which involves deception in interstate communications, by misleading consumers about its driver-assistance systems, the sources said. They are also examining whether Tesla committed securities fraud by deceiving investors, two of the sources said.”

In case you were curious, the Justice Department’s investigation shouldn’t be confused with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation over similar issues.

What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

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This game on the radio this morning and I got to explain The Blue Album to my daughter, which was fun. Also, fun fact, drummer Patrick Wilson is a car guy!

The Big Question

What was the last American sedan you owned? Would you buy another one? If you’ve never owned an American sedan have you owned… any sedan?

 

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2manybikes
2manybikes
1 month ago

Last sedan I owned was a Caddy DTS. Felt like you could land a helicopter on it. Smooth fast and comfortable.

Beasy Mist
Beasy Mist
1 month ago

I had a Malibu for 2 weeks while my Volt got its BECM fixed and overall I thought it was a really nice car – but I hated the CVT transmission. It felt like launching from a stop was either too slow or way too fast. There was no happy medium with throttle tip-in. The ride, handling, and engine were great though so it was extra disappointing to hate the transmission the way I did.

Baja_Engineer
Baja_Engineer
1 month ago

Yes I’ve owned my fair share of sedans but other than my 1st car back in HS (a 2000 Dodge Stratus) I can’t think about any other American car made by an American company that I had owned.
Do a NUMMI made Corolla and Ohio made Accord count?

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

I am going to assume you mean American branded sedan, because otherwise, my current DD Honda Accord would qualify. I’ve had exactly 1 American brand sedan, my 1961 Oldsmobile 98 (first car). I wouldn’t necessarily mind another of that car specifically in excellent condition (which mine wasn’t). There are a few US sedans I could definitely talk myself into. Cadillac STS-V (last 2 model years only) or if I’m feeling posh, the last Lincoln Continental.

Kasey
Kasey
1 month ago

Too bad GM already discontinued the two more compelling Malibu variants; the hybrid and the 2.0t. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a hybrid Malibu as a secondary/replacement car.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
1 month ago

Last American sedan I owned was a late 90’s Mercury Grand Marquis inherited from my grandpa (who REALLY should not have been driving anything at the time…)

It was exactly as you expect, just a comfy couch that I would nail through potholes in and around the NYC area.

Would I own another sedan? Nope, because of two reasons:

  1. I like getting in/out of vehicles I use regularly where I don’t have to feel like I’m falling in to them or climbing out of them. My knees don’t like it anymore.
  2. Hatches make more sense than trunks
Strangek
Strangek
1 month ago

I think my last “American” sedan was a Chevy Corsica I had in the 90s. My current Subaru Legacy was built in Indiana, which is in America last I checked.

Will Leavitt
Will Leavitt
1 month ago

My last (and current) American sedan is also my first American car: a 2018 Tesla Model 3 midrange. 105K miles and it still feels like its from the future; literally makes me proud to own an American car. For the last 40 years my friends and I have only bought imports: VW, BMW, Audi, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru… It feels good to see American engineering be world-class again.

Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
1 month ago

Luckily my girls (14, 8) figured out the Blue Album themselves, so all I have to do is play it.

Last American sedan? 2013 Passat TDI. North American specific car, built in Chattanooga.

Last edited 1 month ago by Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
1 month ago

I have not had any American sedans yet,but I have had a Ford Granada,Audi 100 and a Mercedes S 280. I really liked all of them and I would certainly buy another sedan again,but I find that wagons are the best compromise with carrying dogs and stuff.

MDMK
MDMK
1 month ago

Automakers are on a trajectory of transforming sedans into the next station wagon: a niche luxury vehicle primarily serving as an ultra-affluent household’s second vehicle.

By 2030, there will likely be only Camrys and Accords available as every other automaker is either discontinuing or considering discontinuing their mid-sized mass market ICE sedans. The best case scenario for the sedan’s future is as a BEV, spurred by Gen Z/Gen Alpha consumers with CUV fatigue who prioritize EV range and efficiency with balanced utility.

The Dude
The Dude
1 month ago

The last American sedan I owned?

I guess technically a 2013 Optima since I believe it was made in Georgia. The only other sedan I’ve owned was a TSX but that was built in Japan.

Otherwise my car ownership history includes minivans (2), coupes (1), pickup truck (1), hatchbacks (2), wagon (1), and a convertible (1).

All Japanese companies except for the three Kias that I’ve owned.

I think the only type of car I’ve never owned is an SUV. I’m not against owning one if it’s a 4Runn or the like, but I actively avoid the car based SUV things.

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
1 month ago
Reply to  The Dude

So the Acura,which is an American brand was made in Japan and the Nissan was made in the US? Makes sense.

The Dude
The Dude
1 month ago
Reply to  67 Oldsmobile

It was a Kia, but yes haha.

I did own a Nissan Leaf for a while but I don’t remember where they were built.

lastwraith
lastwraith
1 month ago
Reply to  67 Oldsmobile

Acura is an American brand? It was established here, but it’s still Honda, no?

Last edited 1 month ago by lastwraith
Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 month ago

You mean it won’t be around for a couple more years as the fleet-only Malibu Classic? 😛

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
1 month ago

Saturn SL2

Last edited 1 month ago by DONALD FOLEY
DaChicken
DaChicken
1 month ago

My one and only sedan is a ’12 Lincoln MKZ (tarted up Fusion). Pretty sure it was made in Mexico so it’s an “Americas” sedan. Overall, a decent car. MPG isn’t great (V6, AWD) but it’s a comfortable cruiser that’s peppy enough.

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago

I had two sedans, both because the better/other options weren’t available: ’83 Subaru GL (prefer it were a coupe, wagon, or BRAT, though better than the hatch) and ’08 Camry when I needed any car for cheap at the end of ’21 and that was the best thing I could find that wasn’t outrageously overpriced or retired meth lab. It was available because of the high mileage and 5MT. Had planned to keep it as a second car/beater, but I hated driving it so much that I sold it on. The Subaru died from half a tree that fell on it while driving down the road and too much rust to bother repairing (fender, hood, radiator, radiator fans, maybe something else). Sedans were generally my least favorite body style—uglier than a coupe and (usually) the wagon without the practicality of the latter—until CUVs emerged from the slime of Tromaville.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
1 month ago

Last American sedan I had? Well, that was my SVT Contour, unless you count my Made in the USA Mazda6.

Radiant13
Radiant13
1 month ago

I still have the 99 Buick Park Avenue I bought from my parents 10 years ago when my mom got a new car. Got it at about 185K miles and it just tipped over 300K on my drive from Vegas to Idaho for a family funeral. Since I have had it- Major repairs done at a shop were – new coils plug and wires, new water pump. My now 20 year-old son has been driving it for the past 4 years. In order to teach him some repair and maintenance skills, we have replaced one front hub, new front and rear rotors and brake pads, O2 sensor, door handle that broke. Expect to keep that a few more years until something major breaks. He is saving money for a new to him car. Right now it still soaks up highway miles and gets 26-28 MPG on road trips.
I had a 99 Camry that I replaced with a BMW i3 last year when the transmission went out on the Camry and cost to replace didn’t make sense.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 month ago

I drove a Malibu for 10 years. Sold it last year. It was a good car, solid all around if you could get over the squeaks and rattles it developed later in life.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 month ago

btw, before that it was a Grand Am and before that a Cavalier. Before that I drove a Century, before that a Regal.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago

So GM is the same it was in the 90’s when I last had a GM vehicle?

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
1 month ago

I’ve never thought about this question. The only sedans I have owned was a 5-year old Galant out of college, then a turbo Vovlo 740 for a bit in Colorado. Don’t miss either.

Foobajoob
Foobajoob
1 month ago

Had a 2004 Dodge Neon SRT-4 for several years. It was super fun, definitely miss it at times. Shopped the Pontiac G8 GXP and the Chevy SS a few times since, but never pulled the trigger for various reasons. Now I’m very happy with my garage of a 2022 Volvo V60 Recharge and a 2002 Honda S2000. Don’t think I’d shop for a sedan again even though I’m sad to see them disappear.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago
Reply to  Foobajoob

Any issues with the V60? I really love the idea of those cars, but Geely + Complexity does not give me a lot of confidence.

Albert Ferrer
Albert Ferrer
1 month ago

Never an American saloon (or car actually), but my first car was a saloon, a 1994 Audi 80 2.8E. It was compact, smooth, agreeable to drive and fairly brisk.

I also ordered a Mercedes-Benz C300 last year, but due to unforseen circumstances it ended in my uncle’s hands.

Regarding Ford EV and UK. I wouldn’t completely bet against being relaxation on 2030 EU ICE-cars sales ban. The infrastructure simply isn’t there to support the change (at least yet).

DadBod
DadBod
1 month ago

I’m disappointed you didn’t pick a band recorded by Steve Albini, may he rest in peace.

Der Foo
Der Foo
1 month ago

The last American sedan (4 door + hatch) was a Chevy Citation. That thing killed any desire I had for owning most things domestic. I almost stopped drinking domestic beer. I started dating Asian women. I tried to learn a foreign language. You get my drift.

My family did have an ’89 Celebrity. That was marginally better, but had collapsing front seats and tragically weak brakes. Of the 3 ’88-’89 Celebrity cars my extended family had. 2 of 3 died due to insufficient or nonexistent braking power.

I did consider the US version of a Holden Commodore, but I don’t think that counts even if it wore the golden bowtie. Plus, the price was too high.

Robn
Robn
1 month ago

My first, last, and only sedan was a glorious 1998 Mercedes e300 turbo diesel that I owned for a short period from around 2005-2007. I bought it on eBay from Florida after purchasing a 1-way ticket from Detroit and flying down to drive it back up. Under 40k miles. No Sunroof. White over grey MBTex interior. A rare German taxi cab special.

And now after typing that, I’m falling back in love with it all over again…

Last edited 1 month ago by Robn
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