Chevrolet's First New Malibu Made in Korea

SEOUL, South Korea TheStreet) -- The Chevrolet Malibu is one of the most popular cars in U.S. history, but to see the first copies of the next model Malibu the place to be is Seoul.

General Motors ( GM) said the first eighth-generation Malibu rolled off the assembly line at its Bupyeong #2 plant in Incheon, the port of Seoul, on Tuesday. Sales of Chevrolet's first global midsize sedan will start next month in Korea, the product's initial market.

"The new Malibu is our most important product introduction of the year," said GM Korea president Mike Arcamone, in a prepared statement. "It will play a significant role in enabling us to attain our goals in the domestic market while ensuring that GM Korea becomes an important part of Chevrolet's success in its second century."

The next-generation Malibu will not be introduced in the U.S. until the first half of 2012. Chevrolet has produced more than 8.5 million Malibus in the U.S. since the car's 1964 debut.

The model being built in Korea is intended for domestic consumption and regional export, and is not impacted by the U.S.-Korean free trade agreement that was signed last week, a spokesman said.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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