GM "Breaks Up" With Big Oil

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
gm breaks up with big oil

Breaking up is hard to do. It's even harder when you aren't even ready to move on. Automotive News [sub] reports that GM is "breaking up" with "Big Oil" in a series of new advertisements set to debut in June. "Dear Oil," begins the McCann-Erickson spot. "We've had this great relationship for many years. We think we will both be a lot happier and healthier if we see less of each other." GM's corporate marketing director Katherine Benoit says the ad "addresses the oil-price issue head-on, albeit with a tongue-in-cheek twist." By which she clearly means not at all. You see, GM has been attempting the hugely popular "green branding" approach for some time. The only problem being GM has basically nothing particularly green to market. GM has tried to conceal this discrepancy by touting its E85 FlexFuel vehicles. But with food prices up and ethanol enduring a much-deserved run of bad press, GM is back to square one. And so GM simply asserts it's "done with oil." Benoit thinks that someone will take the "break-up" seriously, saying "You have to make sure that the story you tell plays out." Sadly for this misguided marketing attempt, the GM-Oil relationship has less of a boyfriend-girlfriend dynamic than a junkie-heroin vibe. The [still] truck=heavy manufacturer doesn't need a break-up; it needs a 12-step program.

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  • Kevin Kevin on Jun 11, 2008

    Yes but we know how it really is. In the quiet lonely hours of the night GM is still dreaming of $2.00 gas and Hummers and Escalades. GM would go back in a heartbeat if only they could.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jun 11, 2008

    Let's see - GM owned the patents for the NiMH batteries that powered the better EV1-2nd gen and the RAV4-EV. Then they sold them to Chevron indirectly. Now I hear they want them back b/c GM could power the Volt or another EV1 design from those batteries. Chevron even sued Toyota and Panasonic over those batteries trying to force Toy and Pan to quit making and using them. Panasonic batteries powered the 2nd version of the EV1. Those batteries could put the Volt on the road NOW with a range better than 40 miles. You know all the hydrogen hype GM wants us to buy into? How hydrogen is the fuel of the future? Well it's not a fuel but an energy carrier like steam. Where will the hydrogen come from in massive quantities? you guessed it - BIG OIL... Same players in a different costume soaking up my dollars. These are reasons I want an EV - to get those people out of my life and out of my budget. Of course we get alot of FUD telling us that electric cars won't work for a laundry list of reasons even if the average person doesn't face those obstacles. An EV is no less practical than a small coupe or sports car and plenty of folks buy those - as primary, secondary or tertiary vehicles. I'll believe GM is changing it's ways and moving away from big oil when they've done it and stayed away for decade or so. GM has lied time after time after time to the American consumer. And why is it that I would want to be one of their customer? The other guys might be liars too but I haven't caught them - yet...

  • The Luigiian The Luigiian on Jun 11, 2008

    By the way, I'm serious about the mild hybrid thing. GM, if you have any guts whatsoever (and if you're serious about "breaking up" with Big Oil) you will put that hybrid system into more vehicles. It upped the economy on the Vue from 22 to 28 mpg for the 2008 model year, while only making a $4120 increase in vehicle price! After the federal tax credit of $1550, that's a $2570 increase over a base Vue. At $594 a year fuel savings, the hybrid would be paid off in economy in around four years. It would continue to save the owner money after that. GM should put that hybrid system into several vehicles. The first one that comes to mind for me is the four-banger Colorado. With improved transmission, the thing would deliver a big improvement in economy. The only thing I don't understand is why the Vue gets so much better fuel economy from its hybrid than the Aura does, and that's the only reason I wonder if the hybrid system would deliver considerable economy benefits from the Colorado. I figure it's because the Vue has more engine power lost to heat during braking because of the vehicle's increased mass, which would make it good for a heavier pickup like the Colorado, but I'm not sure. Any thoughts?

  • Amac Amac on Jun 12, 2008

    More marketing rubbish. If the big three spent as much on innovation as they did on marketing they might not be in this mess. This so-called breakup is bullshit. If oil prices come back down they'll go straight back to making behemoth gas-guzzlers, after all, it's what Americans REALLY want.