Chevrolet Bolt was just named North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show, an accolade that follows being named Motor Trend‘s 2017 car of the year, and will begin showing up on streets across more parts of America after a limited launch in Western states before the end of 2016.
Besides industry honors, the all-electric offering from GM has lots going for it. Its 238-mile battery range removes the “range anxiety” concern from the minds of people who worry about electric cars running out of juice. And its price point—at around $30,000 after US federal tax credits—makes Bolt a mainstream offering.
— EV WORLD.COM (@evworldeditor) January 9, 2017
Plus, Bolt beat its biggest potential rival, the Tesla Model 3, to market by more than a year.
All of that gives Kathy Beslic, at GM for 20 years, plenty to work with as the marketing manager for Chevrolet Bolt. The Bolt brings Chevy and the industry closer to figuring out whether they really can make a mass market proposition out of all-electric vehicles.
“It’s no small job,” Beslic allowed. “It’s a great product and a great design at an affordable price. New consumers are willing to look at an EV more than before. Bolt is a new option.”
Beslic spoke with brandchannel at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit:
bc: How do you view the challenge, and opportunity, of marketing Bolt in 2017?
Kathy Beslic: We’re proud to come to market first. We’re going to stick with key messages, such as the 238-mile range and affordable price. We’re staying highly engaged with the social communities and will continue to learn. We launched in California and Oregon but we’re still working on our marketing campaign. I can tell you that you’ll see Bolt EV in quality TV commercials.
bc: How big a role will social media play in launching Bolt?
Beslic: Electric vehicle owners are highly vocal and highly engaged, and we’re getting lots of comments and lots of feedback from them. It’s good to stay close to them and understand what they’re saying. We saw with the [original plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt] that these consumers are very dedicated.
bc: Where do you think Bolt’s on-schedule launch leaves the Tesla Model 3?
Beslic: We can’t comment on a vehicle not in production yet.
bc: What key messages besides affordability will you be hitting?
Beslic: There is a lot of innovation that’s new to Chevy in the car, including a 10.2-inch navigation screen and new safety features. Also, we’ll be highlighting the generous interior space in Bolt—a lot of people don’t expect that when they looked at the car. We’re emphasizing that Bolt could be an everyday vehicle because you can go nearly 40 miles a day for a week without having to recharge.
bc: So a key message is that EV buyers won’t have to worry about range anxiety any more?
Beslic: Well, 238 miles can take you a long way. People don’t realize their driving behavior until they are driving an EV. We also provide them with information on public charging stations, though most people will charge at home or at work. It can be an everyday vehicle but you won’t have to plug it in every night.