How GM's Women Shaped the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

By Joel Arellano | May 02, 2012
Women compose more than half the car buyers in the U.S., and wield over 75-percent of the decision-making power when purchasing the family car. Thank goodness, really. Otherwise, we'd all be strapping the little ones in the back of the 'stang, passenger seat of the 'vette or, heaven help us, a Miata. To avoid such pitfalls, General Motors employed a number of women during the development of the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. Kara Gordon is a lead acoustic noise engineer for General Motors, and she made sure interior sound in the Chevy Malibu was minimized as much as possible, if not outright eliminated. Sound control in a car is important to Gordon, as she points out in a real-world example. Relates Gordon, "We were about to get on the freeway and my younger son was mumbling something I couldn't hear. I kept asking him over and over what he was saying and my older son finally yelled, 'His seat belt isn't buckled.' So I pulled over—luckily—before we actually got on the highway." There's no missing Suzanne "Suzy" Cody with her "GM blue" tinted black hair. An aerodynamics engineer for GM, Cody contributed to the Malibu's wind drag coefficient, which nearly matches the slippery Chevrolet Volt, and adds up to nearly 3 mpg to the sedan's already impressive fuel economy. Such gas savings is important to Cody, who says, "I'm a single mom, and every dollar I spend on gasoline is a dollar I'm not investing in my boys' futures." Tracy Mack-Askew is a busy woman. Not only does she have an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, she has a master's degree from Purdue, is a master's candidate from Harvard, married and has two small children. Wearing such multiple hats helps her as the Chevy Malibu's vehicle line manager where she is responsible for its development and launch. Child safety technical lead engineer Julie Kleinert is responsible for passenger safety systems on the Chevrolet Malibu, and other and GM vehicles. She has personal interest in her job: Not only is she a mother, but a grandmother as well. Says Kleinert, "Now that one of my sons has two children, I put my child passenger safety training to good use by teaching him and my daughter-in-law how to properly install car seats in their vehicles." The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu goes on sale in the U.S. this year, with the Eco already available, and the standard 2.5-liter Ecotec model and the Malibu turbo to follow this summer and fall, respectively. Pricing for the full-line up has not yet been released, though it's known the upper range Chevrolet Malibu Eco starts around $25,995. Source: General Motors/Chevrolet