The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a tour de force of engineering, a substantial step forward over its predecessor (see our cover story in the current issue of Charged). However, some EV industry observers fear that unless GM follows up on the technical improvements with some meaningful marketing, an area in which EV-makers have fallen short so far, sales will continue to be modest.
Chevrolet disappointed some when it delayed the nationwide rollout of the new Volt. It has already begun shipping the second-gen Volt to dealers in California and 10 other states. The rest of the US will have to wait until early 2016, when Chevy will launch the new PHEV nationally as a 2017 model, spokesman Randy Fox told Automotive News.
Now GM has announced that it will take a page from Lexus’s book, and launch a campaign of negative ads that aim to present the Volt’s PHEV system as superior to other forms of electrification. The new ads, which Chevrolet shared with auto writers at the new Volt’s recent press launch, will debut in long form on the internet, and later be shortened and broadcast on TV.
The first ad attacks the Nissan LEAF, showing people stuck between floors in an elevator, and drawing an analogy to what could happen if a pure EV such as the LEAF (or the Chevrolet Spark EV or Bolt) runs out of charge.
The second ad cracks on the Toyota Prius (which has sold over 8 million units worldwide), comparing its nickel metal hydride battery technology to the more modern lithium-ion batteries used in the Volt, and implying that the former present some sort of disadvantage for consumers.
“We’re going to go head-to-head with Leaf and Prius,” said Chevrolet Global Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney. “The ads allow Chevrolet to talk in one way and they allow Chevrolet’s personality to come through. We’re going to be taking more risks,” he said.
Sources: Chevrolet via Automotive News