General Motors' midsize car intended to compete against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima is 3 inches longer than the current model, with a 6-inch-longer wheelbase, The Detroit Free Press reported.
Ford Motor Co. launched its Fusion in 2005 and the Chrysler Group redesigned the Chrysler Sebring in 2006 to compete in the same midsize sector.
Through November, U.S. sales of the Malibu, including the sedan and Maxx hatchback versions, fell 19 percent to 152,447, Autodata said.
The new Malibu is "much more attractive than its predecessor," analyst Erich Merkle of IRN Inc. says. "I think that really means something for GM, especially as they try to recapture sales in the midsize sedan segment."