General Motors has axed the slow-selling hybrid-electric version of its Chevrolet Malibu sedan for the 2010 model year and is unlikely to resume production for retail buyers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company would continue to make Malibu hybrids for fleet buyers.

Honda axed a hybrid version of its similar sized Accord sedan model in the US several years ago.

A California dealer told the Journal the hybrid Malibu only gets marginally better fuel economy yet costs US$4,000 more than a $22,300 base four cylinder version. Both achieve 34 miles per gallon in highway driving, according to GM.

The hybrid was launched when the Malibu was redesigned for the 2008 model year.