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green shoots

Volt Owners Show the Most Love, But Toyota, Ford Get Green Plaudits Too

Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 05:11 PM

General Motors is out in full force at the LA Auto Show this week, where it's not only showcasing 2013 models, but the futuristic Volt Squad, described as "a new electric vehicle system to meet the challenge of a highway system now brimming with cutting edge technologies."

If the current love for its Chevrolet Volt brand persists, GM should be sitting pretty by the time these concept cars hit the highway. Chevy Volt may not have caught on with the American general public as initially hoped, but its manufacturer can take solace in one very important attribute of the Volt brand: The people who buy the car really love it and would make the same purchase again. Now if only there were a cutting edge technology to create more fierce brand loyalists.Continue reading...

automotive

"Chevy Runs Deep" Tagline Faces Being Deep-Sixed by GM

Posted by Dale Buss on November 2, 2012 12:59 PM

Chevrolet has been coming up with one spiffy new car model after another. Its Cruze, Sonic and now Spark small cars have been big hits; its Equinox crossover continues to sell well; the Volt plug-in now is reaching nearly 3,000 sales a month; and the Chevy Silverado continues to sell strong.

Yet for October, GM's monthly sales tally showed that Chevrolet had the lowest sales uptick of any of the four GM brands, just 2.7 percent, while Chevy's overall sales rose by 4.7 percent over a year earlier. For the entire year to date, Chevy did outperform each of its siblling brands.

But the question remains: Is there some reason Chevy isn't doing better as a brand amid ever-rising gas prices that favor its largely fuel-economic fleet?Continue reading...

Camaro Wants You to Take Life-Size Hot Wheels for a Spin

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 29, 2012 02:05 PM

The Chevy Camaro hit America’s streets in 1967 and has been getting the nation’s hearts racing ever since, appearing in a ton of films and television shows as the ultimate in cool and, of course, being forever inked onto the musical landscape in the Dead Milkmen’s famed “Bitchin’ Camaro.”

Perhaps a little better known than the Dead Milkmen’s ode to the car’s coolness, though, is the Hot Wheels version of the car. When the first 16 Hot Wheels cars hit the streets (and family rooms) of America back in 1968, a tiny Camaro was one of the mix (and is now one of its most collected).

Last year, the folks at Chevy decided to pay tribute to Hot Wheels and made a life-size version of the car to show off at the Specialty Equipment Market Association auto show in Vegas. In the first few hours the show was open, the car attracted heavy crowds and Chevy knew it had a hit, USA Today reports.Continue reading...

brand collaborators

Isaac Mizrahi Woos Women to Wear, Then Drive, the 2013 Chevy Malibu

Posted by Dale Buss on October 18, 2012 05:52 PM

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney aren't the only ones who want the votes of women this fall: Chevrolet is also pursuing women for the new Malibu, and so the brand has enlisted designer Isaac Mizrahi to get some fashion-forward attention for a vehicle that hasn't been known for being on the cutting edge of couture.

Mizrahi has designed a preppy collection (in patriotic colors of red, white and blue) of Chevy Malibu-inspired clothing, Malibu Style. It's exclusively being sold on the LivingSocial deals website, with its six pieces ranging from a bright blue totebag to an oversized watch, at prices ranging from $78 to $298.

The New York-based Mizrahi has colllaborated in the past with the likes of Target and QVC, but this collaboration aims at getting women to take a closer look at a nameplate that otherwise might not get their attention.Continue reading...

automotive

Chevrolet Jolts Volt Sales as CMO Defends Incentives

Posted by Dale Buss on October 4, 2012 03:03 PM

"Lightning rod" no longer suffices to suffice to describe the platform for controversy that the Chevrolet Volt has become in its two-year history on the market. Maybe someday Volt will simply serve as its own metaphor for a brilliant but troubled car — like "DeLorean."

That's not to say that it's not successful — indeed, the Volt has expanded its lead, as Bloomberg reports, "as the top-selling U.S. rechargeable car this year as Toyota expanded plug-in Prius deliveries and Nissan said it's working to boost electric Leaf sales." Chevy sold 2,851 Volts in September; Nissan sold 984 Leafs; it wasn't clear how many of Toyota's mearly 19,000 Prius sales were plug-ins, but certainly it was a small percentage.

Even so, Chevrolet CMO Chris Perry is having to defend the recent ramping up of sales incentives that the brand is using to entice consumers and dealers into moving more units of the plug-in hybrid nameplate.Continue reading...

automotive

Toyota Essentially Pulls Plug on EVs As Company Doubles Down on Hybrids

Posted by Dale Buss on September 24, 2012 02:17 PM

When it comes to hybrids, Toyota is saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And if it's a winning formula, don't alter it — double down.

That's why Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday announced (in a press conference and release titled: "TMC Announces Status of Its Environmental Technology Development, Future Plans") a drastic scaling back, close to an abandonment, of its all-electric vehicles — the iQ and eQ EV models — in favor of a dramatic ramping up of its plans for developing and producing new hybrids.

"Toyota’s engineers have been involved in Electric Vehicle (EV) research and development for over 40 years, since 1971," Toyota's press site notes. "Developed in parallel with the company’s pioneering full Hybrid (HV), Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and Fuel Cell (FCV) vehicles, the EV represents Toyota’s long-term vision for short range sustainable mobility."

It turns out that long-term vision was more short-term than anticipated when it comes to EVs.Continue reading...

start your engines

Chevy Ignores Bad Reviews for 2013 Malibu with Tim Allen's Dulcet Tones

Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2012 03:02 PM

The timing would be great for Chevrolet to be pushing a hot new car. GM sales were up in August, renewing hope for a continuation of the company's recent momentum. And the Chevy Volt continues to get shellacked for high development and manufaturing costs, low sales, and desperate incentives to sell the units that do move — a critique the automaker refutes.

But according to the automotive cognescenti, the Chevy Malibu Eco just isn't up to the challenge of delivering another winning product for GM in a sequence to follow the Chevy Cruze and Sonic models, which are smaller. (Chevy is also launching a new, tiny Spark nameplate this fall.) Eco's raison d'etre appears to be a "mild hybrid" drivetrain that includes an electric motor to give mileage a boost — but which, unfortunately, doesn't deliver much by way of fuel efficiency, compared with competitors, and is accompanied by a smaller wheelbase and cramped rear seats.Continue reading...

automotive

Spotlight Turns to Manchester United IPO and GM Lawsuits Post-Ewanick

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2012 12:59 PM

General Motors is scrutinized daily by thousands of automotive and business journalists as well as investors and U.S.-government policymakers and a whole host of other people, and yet there remains a mystery about exactly why GM CMO Joel Ewanick became persona non grata so abruptly on July 29th. The latest disclosures, via Bloomberg News, paint a picture of a relationship betweeen Ewanick and his CEO that unraveled in part over lack of decorum.Continue reading...

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