Off The Rack Shopping And Other Chevrolet Insights

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

GM’s PR efforts have a kind of spastic, bipolar quality to them. Months of near-silence are punctuated by spasms of oversharing and an avalanche of hype, none of which typically addresses the underlying concerns which prompted the orchestrated campaign. Bouncing off of today’s 90-day report card today, Chevrolet’s Brent Dewar hosted a Fastlane livechat in which we were given yet another chance to learn more than we ever wanted about the people running Chevrolet. And next to nothing about the future of the bowtie brand.

“Do you wear custom suits?” The question seemed like just the kind of fluff to keep the tough questions at bay. It was also the perfect opportunity to give GM’s biggest brand a human face.

Nope….I have some cool suits but lucky to be off the rack. I am simple eco enthusiast, car guy… to wear jeans too….also a runner…

Too bad the answer was just as bland and eager-to-please as the bowtie itself. But then came the follow-up. “Custom suits are the way to go though! It’s the greenest way to shop. Think about it, no wasted materials.” Dewar’s answer provides a fantastic insight into how GM sees these livechats: an opportunity to agree with everyone.

I am green guy, so if that is the case, I will definitely go there. I am literally off the rack….no adjustments at all…..

Blue and green collars? Gosh, is this Dewar fellow single? Sadly, there were “real issues” to distract from the personal posturing. Like the damn Caprice cop car. Will Chevy ever make a civilian version of the RWD prowler?

The announcement for the Caprice is currently only as a police patrol cruiser. It will be RWD with a 6.0L V8. We have not made any firm plans yet on a retail version of the Caprice. That said, we are working on a nextgen Impala that come in abover the Malibu. More to come….

Huh. See, Mr Dewar, the problem with teasing people with “in a galazy far, far away” future product plans is that they eventually ask when the last next big thing is going to show up. Like the Cruze. How long are we going to have to wait for that piece of months-old hype?

Not really waiting, just the timing of the roll out around the world. Part of my job as Global Chevy is to bring vehicles to market quickly. I have been a big advocate of smaller fuel efficient cars and the time is right for America.

Leaving that non-answer dangling for a moment, will you explain why the previous last next big thing, the Malibu, still hasn’t substantively outsold the old-and-embarassing Impala?

I would not agree that Impala is behind Malibu in popularity. We have taken a two model strategy to address the market vs one alpha car for the others. Our goal going forward will be to separate further Malibu from Impala. It is about timing. Stay tuned.

OK, let’s get back to the list of next big things. How about the mother of all next big things, the Volt? “I just read your comment about the Q4 2010 release of the Volt, weren’t these originally supposed to be released in the spring of 2010″

Volt is not risky. It is an amazing breakthrough in technology. We think the volume will be right for our first generation units. We think the world will be excited about the product once they realize that it is not a hybrid or an EV with range anxiety… Voltec technology has great volume potential for the future. We have some teaching to do…

Methinks the executive doth protest too much. Nobody asked about the Volt’s risk factor, but… thanks for the insight? Moving on to the Aveo…

We are totally geeked about the nextgen Aveo. It will be well positioned in the segment. Performance, packing and fuel economy will be impressive. Great design for accessories and some performance models. We think there should be a little bit of Corvette in every Chevy we make. It is in our DNA.

Oh sweet heaven. We aren’t even sure yet that the next Aveo is going to be utter rubbish and you’re already talking about how it has a little Corvette in it. Well, there goes the suspense.

Once again, GM wastes another opportunity to shoot straight about its place in the public consciousness. As long as GM approaches new media as if it were exactly the same as old media, only with a “new” in front of it it seems we’re doomed to more faux-sincerity and doublespeak. Blogosphere to General Motors: it’s the message, not the medium. If you have the same old one-way, talking-point-led conversation with Twitter or an online livechat, it’s no different than the same old conversation with the same old dinosaur publications. And considering your business relies on consumers as well as the public as shareolders, it’s time time to make that change.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Oct 08, 2009

    No, ChristyGarwood, definitely a Chevrolet...maybe I should have said "crossover" instead of "station wagon"...?

  • Accs Accs on Oct 14, 2009

    Maybe its the pessimist in me.. or I just don't believe a single LICK of what this guy said. No one over at GM could do a subcompact like a Fit or a compact with styling like the Civic if their lives depend on it. And trying to do a HATCH that is respectable and can stand on its own.. not on their mothers grave. Now... Take the average gutless, top heavy hatch (SUV / CUV)... strip about 1500lbs, the awd unit, drop about 6"-1' in height... And ya might have something.. but at GM.. its just not.

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  • Yuda EVs in general are a scam LMAO I'm not surprised
  • Lou_BC "In 2007, 85% of Americans drove themselves to work and 6% rode with someone else. But by 2018, while the 6% of Americans who carpool has remained constant, there has been a decrease in the percentage of those who drive themselves to work, edging down to 77%." .................. If people can't recharge at home, it would be logical to set up charging infrastructure at workplace parking lots. That would cover 77% of the population. An 8 hour workday should be adequate to keep an EV charged.
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