It’s been a year, and now I am (and the rest of you out there are, too) a part-owner of General Motors. Wish there were better news for the future, but it looks like they still don’t get it. Today’s New York Times reports that for “consistency” we will now have to refrain from calling anything Chevrolet a “Chevy.” The marketing people are behind this mandate which they see as a brand-strengthening move.
Last year I made it pretty clear (in Kick as Kick Can and Auto Rants (2)) that the problem with Chevrolet as a brand isn’t that people use a diminutive and endearing term once promoted by GM (Dinah Shore sang it long before they were driven to the levee). The problem is that Chevrolet doesn’t refer to anything identifiable but rather to an incredible range of vehicles that start with a Chevrolet-branded Daewoo manufactured in Korea and proceed upward in size and power through the Corvette and a series of heavy-duty trucks.
Bob Lutz is gone from the hallways of General Motors, but this latest brain-dead solution to GM’s branding problems is a case of thinking ‘way down deep within the same old box. As Ford is in the process of recognizing with the proposed elimination of the Mercury brand, re-badging vehicles with multiple brands is counter-productive in today’s market. Ford would compete in the US market with *gasp* only two brands.