To say the Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car has become a political punching bag would be to understate the obvious.
Now, GM is slowly, carefully trying to get the facts about the Volt out to the public at large, hoping to win hearts and minds in a larger battle involving electric cars, image, and politics.
A new ad appeared today, entitled "Just the Facts".
The ad starts out, "There's been a lot of talk about the Chevy Volt lately."
Yep. Sure has.
The voiceover efficiently covers the awards the Volt has won, the 395,000 hours of testing GM put into developing its lithium-ion battery pack, and--"most importantly"--the Volt's top safety ratings from both the NHTSA and the IIHS.
"The extended-range, electric Chevy Volt," it finishes. "Hard to argue with the facts."
On the screen is a sentence saying, "Gas-powered generator provides electric range," in type small enough that we suspect many viewers will miss it.
2011 Chevrolet Volt charging portEnlarge Photo
The Volt has been called a sales failure (we think it's too early to make that call), the car Obama forced GM to build (absolutely false), and useless because it has only 25 to 40 miles of battery range (which is correct--but ignores the fact that the car switches on its gasoline generator to provide 300 more miles of range).
With the U.S. government still owning a substantial portion of the reconstituted General Motors [NYSE: GM], the company may feel it cannot directly attack its most vociferous and fact-free critics.
And doing so could run the risk of simply giving further exposure to their arguments, however disconnected from reality they may be.
But many electric-car advocates have criticized the marketing of the Chevy Volt, and suggested ways to fix it. A revolving door of no fewer than five marketing managers hasn't helped the car either.
What do you think? Will this ad help the Volt's public image? Does it go far enough?
Or should Chevy work to counter the criticisms of the Volt more aggressively?
Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.