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GM pins midsize hopes on quick Malibu revamp

DETROIT — General Motors is hoping that a hurry-up makeover of the Chevrolet Malibu will move it from also-ran to a top performer in the key midsize car segment.

The company unveiled the 2014 version of the car Friday, hoping it will catch on in the heart of the US auto market now dominated by Toyota’s Camry, Honda’s Accord, and Ford’s Fusion.

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The rapid revamp comes just a year after the current version of the Malibu reached US showrooms. But it shows how increasing competition is forcing automakers to quickly make changes if their cars don’t catch on. In midsize cars, the largest piece of the US auto market, the Malibu looks old when compared with new versions of the Fusion and Accord.

Sales of the 2013 Malibu are down 12 percent through April, while Accord and Fusion sales have risen more than 25 percent.

The 2014 Malibu will feature a new engine in the base model that boosts gas mileage, more back-seat legroom, a restyled front end, an updated interior, and suspension changes that will improve the car’s handling, GM said .

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