CES 2015: 5 Questions with Chevrolet CMO Tim Mahoney


The Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas is all about the connected car, from in-car infotainment systems to cutting-edge tech innovations that make driving a vital part of the #Mecosystem—the connected ecosystem of integrated brand experiences that reorganize and reorient themselves around individuals. 

As Global Chief Marketing Officer for Chevrolet and Global GM and Marketing Operations Leader at General Motors, Tim Mahoney is on the forefront of that evolution. GM and Chevy are at CES 2015 to highlight a host of intelligent features coming to select 2016 models.

Leveraging 4G connectivity, for example, the new OnStar Driver Assurance will predict and flag potential problems with engine parts before there’s an issue, marking a much-needed evolution of the “check engine” warning light. brandchannel contributor Jonathan Redman asked Mahoney for details on how Chevrolet is already planning to continue innovating into 2016.[more]

brandchannel: Your “Find New Roads” platform is all about performance, design and technology. How do all three of those pillars come into play when you think about the role of the Chevrolet brand at CES? 

Tim Mahoney: CES is the ultimate showcase of innovation and innovation is what drives everything we do at Chevrolet. To us, “Find New Roads” is more than a slogan or tagline: It embraces the spirit of ingenuity that has been part of Chevrolet’s DNA since the beginning. It guides every aspect of our business, in every place we do business, all around the globe. What that means for the customer is a promise to deliver engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat and easy-to-use technology across the entire lineup—all delivered with outstanding value.

brandchannel: All of Chevy’s 2015 cars, trucks and crossovers are available with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi. Was this in response to customer demand, or a move to put Chevrolet ahead of the pack?

Mahoney: We all live such connected lives today, with our smart phones and tablets within arms-length at all times, so offering Chevrolet customers OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi was the right technology to deliver across the Chevrolet lineup. We certainly intend to lead with smart technology solutions across the widest array of products for the most customers. While others might come later with connectivity, we offer the additional customer benefit of OnStar services. They won’t have that. 

brandchannel: The brand joked about #technologyandstuff, but in all seriousness, what tech features are your mobile, connected customers asking for—and how are connected cars transforming the overall experience of the Chevrolet brand? 

Mahoney: Yes, we had a little bit of fun with “technology and stuff” around the launch of our new midsize pickup, the Chevrolet Colorado—but it only worked because the Colorado is packed with technologies that deliver active and passive safety, fuel efficiency, comfort and convenience in addition to the connectivity that customers want.

Earlier this week we introduced a new way to monitor the health of major vehicle components. Using our OnStar 4G LTE connectivity platform, we can actively monitor vehicle health and notify our customers if their vehicle needs attention. That will give Chevrolet drivers peace of mind that nobody else in the industry can offer. This service will be available on properly equipped 2016 model year Chevrolet vehicles later this year.

brandchannel: How are your connectivity partners, like AT&T, instrumental in moving from an auto-centric model to a mobility-centric one?

Mahoney: The auto industry has always been about mobility, true mobility that is moving you and your family and stuff. We partner with AT&T and others to help us deliver meaningful connected experiences to our customers. 

We are making integrated telematics and infotainment systems seamless and easy for drivers to use and delivering new connected applications for them. Our connectivity partners help enable us to provide purposeful technology solutions that make our customers lives easier to connect and get the information and content they desire with no interruptions.

The customer remains at the center of everything we do, which is why Chevrolet has rolled out 4G LTE into 16 models in a matter of months. And it’s even standard equipment on a $12,000 Spark, because this technology is universal. People get it and want it, regardless of how much they are spending on a vehicle.

brandchannel: The Detroit Auto Show is on the heels of CES. Are the two starting to blur together?

Mahoney: CES is certainly becoming an important forum to highlight major technology advancements while the Detroit Auto Show remains the premier event for the automotive industry. I expect that both will continue to be intertwined and have a strong role in how Chevrolet will showcase our advancements. 

—Jonathan Redman is Senior Director, Client Services, at Interbrand San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @ibsfjr