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What's Wrong With Chevy Volt Ads & How To Fix Them Page 2

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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We don't entirely agree, but the fact that the Volt has had five -- yes, five -- U.S. marketing managers over the course of its short life hasn't helped matters. 

Bottom line

Chevrolet will continue having problems explaining the Volt, that much is certain.

Because of its forward-thinking technology, the Volt is going to remain a vehicle for early adopters -- the kind who were pissed off by the tagline on the first Volt campaign, "More car than electric", which made it look as if GM were trying to downplay the Volt's electric powertrain.

However, there are signs that the GM is making progress in thinking about how to explain the car in a way that average consumers can understand.

The two "Gas Station" ads that debuted last fall do a great job of telling the public how the Volt works without getting distracted by nitty-gritty details. And as an added bonus, by injecting humor into the ad scenario, they also build an emotional connection between consumers and the car.

Have a look at the first of those clips and let us know what you think If you knew nothing about the Volt, would this want to make you know more? Or does it leave you saying "meh"?.

If you knew nothing about the Volt, would this make you want to know more? Or does it leave you saying "meh"?

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Comments (13)
  1. As a volt owner for over a year now, plus the EV1 for 3 years, and a veteran promo editor during the Fred Silverman years at NBC I can market the Volt with my eyes closed. Just give me the job. I'll do it for a dollar.
     
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  2. There's a challenge Jeff. Show us what you can do -- but we can't pay! :)
     
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  3. Considering the amount of pre-production press coverage received by the Volt, no one can blame the God-awful sales figures on any lack of public knowledge. GM failed on many counts : 1) the car looks nothing like the original concept, which generated tons of enthusiasm from prospective buyers, myself included, only to evaporate when GM restyled the car, which they had to do to enable a 40 mile target, since they apparently didn't know much about aero effects and its effect on driving range. 2) they quoted a price of "under $30K" which turned out to be nowhere near the final figure. 3) they promised a 10 year warranty on the battery pack. The technology is pure Rube Goldberg and more or less obsolete at this point.
     
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  4. Lutz is a synonym for blunder.
     
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  5. "Because of its forward-thinking technology..."

    20 years from now we'll be laughing at the idea of a car with 2 different motors in it. It's not forward thinking, it's an inefficient stopgap measure on the way to something simpler, more effective, and cheaper (both to manufacture and to maintain).

    The Volt's technological complexity is not an asset, it's a liability.

    And the name is terrible. :-)
     
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  6. "The Volt's technological complexity is not an asset, it's a liability."

    That's it in a nutshell, really.
     
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  7. Inefficient? Really, I'd say the actual car owners might disagree. You know, the ones who average 400 MPG since they can drive mostly in EV mode. As for the complexity, I know Americans aren't known for our brilliance, but having a vehicle switch seamlessly between EV and ICE modes doesn't seem that baffling now, does it?

    As for the price, only purchase price matters, right? $41k-$7.5k for tax credits sounds like $33.5k to me, already cheaper than my A4. Add in roughly $7k-$8k in fuel savings from an 80/20 EV/ICE mix and based on $4/gallon fuel costs and 15k miles and my local off-peak hour electrcity rates... Yeah, that $26k-$27k for new technology is ridiculous, isn't it...? Prius-like, but better styling to me. & more EV range, too.
     
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  8. The problem with Volt sales is it's a Chevy. Imagine if the same specs were offered by Toyota - the car would be sold out. The initial buyers of EVs are high-tech, green consumers and would never want to be caught driving in a Chevy.

    Remember the Volkswagen Phaeton, one of the best luxury sedans ever built (seriously rivaling the Maybach)? The problem with it was no buyer would ever spend $100k on a Volkswagen.
     
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  9. I've posted this elsewhere. Volt marketing is easy. You have real Volt customers explain why they love their Volt. "Last month I got 238 MPG in my Volt! I can really crank up my music without all that engine noise! I've only filled the tank once since I owned it and I've driven 4650 miles!" That will tell the public what real people are experiencing with their Volts and get them into the showroom with questions. A commercial doesn't sell a car it just gets people into the showroom to try one. The saleperson can go through the complexities of the car.
     
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  10. No question they have made a lot of mistakes. I think many of these have stemmed from complicated machinations to avoid using the term hybrid. Granted they had reasons to avoid the term, they were not seen as leaders in hybrid tech and they had made statements about the Prius as a "Geek-Mobile". However, I think they could have avoided a lot of confusion if they had just called it "a better hybrid; one that you can plug-in". The Hybrid term has public understanding/acceptance, they could leverage this. The techies will still dig in to understand the details of "voltec" and the average joes can get the simple message "electric for 35 miles, then gas."

    "Plug-in anywhere, Drive anywhere" was their best one IMHO.
     
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  11. Just say it's a pure electric car until you need to drive more than 40 miles....than the gas engine kicks in... that takes about 5 seconds to say. Just say it.

    MrEnergyCzar
     
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  12. Forget about explaining technology and what the car can or can't do. If you have 30 sec. just sell the Volt like ANY OTHER CAR in the market. Period. no need to explain why the battery does this or that, leave the explanations for when the potential buyer makes the emotional connection and starts doing some more research. Something like "lease the exceptionally fuel efficient Chevy Volt for less than $300 a month" should suffice. And show it in every ad where different Chevy models are offered. Why isn't the Volt shown when they show the Cruze next to the Malibu and the Silverado? Stop making it a "special" car (although this is more than a great car) and make it look more like a regular car (although it isn't) to push sales.
     
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  13. I have to say that I was a skeptic but recently purchased a Volt - 2013. As a Toyota Camry Hybrid owner I know a little about gas saving vehicles and the Toyota brand as well. I test drove cars from all makes and models prior to making the call. After one month of Volt ownership, I have to say that the Chevy Volt is a great car and I made the right call. I think that the idea of having Volt owners give short testimonials on their experience would do it. 1050 miles on 1.5 gal of gas for my 44-50 mile daily commute is amazing. If I plug in on 110v (Normal US outlet) at my employer I don't have to burn any gas at all for the commute to an from work. Searching out charge stations in Austin Texas is also an interesting / fun side benefit.
     
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