As GM starts rolling out the Chevolet Spark EV, starting in eco-friendly California and Oregon, Automotive News has a look at the marketing challenges the newest electrified car from America’s largest car company. AN raises the issue of GM’s electrification strategy, which is focused on battery electrics, not conventional hybrids, and the sui generis Chevy Volt. While hybrid sales this year are up, EV sales continue to be lukewarm which has resulted in significant price cuts on cars that run on batteries: $4,000 off the price of the Ford Focus Electric, $6,400 off the price of a Nissan Leaf, and GM itself started offering a cash rebate of $4,000 last month on 2013 Chevy Volts.
Analysts consider the Spark EV to be a “compliance car”, built and sold solely to meet California’s environmental laws, which require automakers to make zero emissions vehicles. GM denies that, but the company also said that initial production numbers of the Spark EV, built in Korea, would be modest and the automaker would not cite specific projections, and as mentioned, the Spark EV is currently only available in California and Oregon.
Interestingly, it looks like GM will not be marketing the Spark EV on its environmental credentials, but rather as fun to drive. The electrified Spark can get to 60 in 7.6 seconds and Chevy is even running ads touting the fact that the Spark EV’s 400 lbs/ft of torque is not just the most in its class, it’s more than the Ferrari 458 Italia puts ou.