In the age of Prius and Tesla, can the Chevy Volt succeed? We ask GM. — CNET

28 Янв 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
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In the age of Prius and Tesla, can the Chevy succeed? We ask GM.

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My local dealer — Rydell — in Los Angeles is one of the largest dealers in the US. Brooke Crothers/CNET

The Volt is a good car, marketing challenges. I asked GM those challenges as it approaches the units-sold mark.

Let me preface the with a brief explanation of the and my own experience with the car .

The Volt, introduced in December 2010, is a hybrid (or can be more technically as an electric car with a range gasoline powered generator) can go between 30 and 40 miles on battery. that, a range-extender gas engine in and adds another 300 to 350 miles.

I a 2013 Volt, which I relatively inexpensively (for a month). I’ve had it for a little than a year. It’s the most impressive vehicle ever driven. Mostly it’s changed the way I think of the Miles are not measured out in gallons of gas but in consumed — and gained.

Let me a quick example.

Recently, I up into the Hollywood Hills. my house, it’s about a 15 drive to the base of the hills mountains, really) and another ten to the top.

In battery mode, the and speed the Volt delivers silent) going up the steep is competitive with that by the (ear-piercing) Ferraris some folk drive. Point: in mode, this car is not slow.

But if one goes up, one must come This is the beauty of the Volt. back down the hills to the I gained about 5 miles of power (because the car can regenerate Then on the freeway it was battery all the way back to my home.

This ceases to amaze me.

But my positive experience aside, I worry the Volt. Would GM — the thought — pull the (pun intended) on the Volt of meager sales? After three years, it’s just under 60,000 I think it’s safe to say not a ton of units.

My concern is markets than Los Angeles. In the small I live in, there are probably a Volts including mine. And — as far as electric vehicles go are pretty common when around the city.

But go to other like suburban Philadelphia or towns outside of Los Angeles, and the pulls a disappearing act. And in Los Angeles these days more likely to see a (much expensive) all-electric Tesla. And in like Philadelphia (as in many markets), the Toyota Prius is with virtually no Volts to see on the

Now, I realize that the Prius is different from the But it’s the mind share that worries me.

And about Los Angeles. Teslas S) are multiplying like crazy In places like Beverly for example, the Tesla is replacing the Panamera as the vehicle of choice. And becoming more common in the city, as I said above.

these concerns in mind, I Dora Norwicki, Volt manager at GM, and Randy Fox, a for GM Electric Vehicle Technology, the company’s marketing strategy forward.

Q: Do you have different strategies for different regions?

In general, yes and no. Not every dealer is to sell Volts. Only of Chevrolet dealers sell — because of the electrical and the tools required; and the special of the service. The dealer would to make a conscious decision to opt in. So, the only way they would allocation of the car.

The fact of the is, the State of California is the most in pursuing clean air and emissions and have legislated quite And [California] incents their to purchase cars of this For example: the tax rebate that you get with the federal tax credits are favorable compared to other of the country that have to the car. [Editor’s note: will cut you a check for $1,500 if you buy or a Volt.]

So, I would say that is one of the key as to why you see so many in California. And the infrastructure is developed with regard to stations.

Does weather have to do with marketing? Maybe that affects East sales, for example? Because life can be adversely affected by weather?

Norwicki: There is a of impact based on weather. But the controls what sells and doesn’t sell. What’s’ prevalent on the East Coast is the of diesel engines and vehicles as to electrics or hybrids — would be their alternative vehicle of choice.

No different full-size pickups selling in They (pickups) don’t particularly well in New York

What are the biggest markets for the outside of California?

Norwicki: Illinois. And New York and New Jersey are big markets. The Washington, DC-Baltimore the i95 corridor. And then you have in Florida and Texas.

Is there a to Volt sales in the sense not everyone understands fully the Volt is? In other words, people who may be casually considering a or electric car may not know that different from a Prius for example. And they may think just an expensive take on the The Volt starts at about So, I’m talking about average consumer, who may not know much about hybrids, hybrids, and electric cars.

It’s an extended-range electric It’s a unique car in that That fact that people may not be familiar with the technology is a function of whether were interested in alternative-fuel available to them. If you’re not in you’re not likely to pay attention. Is it a confusing to people? Perhaps.

My 2013 Chevrolet Volt in the desert. Few, if any, to see on the road outside of Los Angeles. Crothers/CNET

But how can you get a simple, easy-to-understand to consumers about what the is?

Norwicki: One of our key messages is that our — and we track them extensively — on average go 900 between each fill-up. is an attention-getter and stops people in tracks when they about [that statement]. of our owners have told us they spend very time driving on gas. The of their travel on the Volt is in mode. So, to them, it is an electric

Fox: The situation that describing is exactly the challenge we have. In order to communicate the on how the Volt works, you can do that on the Web but if you look at a 30-second commercial, where it’s challenging. And you’ve been in the market looking at the Volt, the awareness is something that we’re on.

What about TV ads? I see Volt TV ads these days.

Generally speaking, the category advertised on TV. You go where the target for your vehicle is. And oftentimes that are drawn to specific of cars, alternative-fuel vehicles in — those people do not TV. They are online. They’re in media. But they are not typical TV So just because you don’t see us on TV mean we’re not advertising and in social media.

If you advertise on TV, you’ll increase but that doesn’t necessarily you’ll increase consideration. So, by we can more efficiently use our marketing

Is the Prius a Volt competitor?

The Prius plug-in would be the appropriate competitor. The original the hybrid, not so much. And you have to put in context. The Prius has been in the for 10 years. And it’s predominately if I have my facts correct, in So, you have people who are more because it’s been in the longer. The Prius plug-in is a recent addition to their [Editor’s note: The Prius has a range of 10-15 miles on power; the Volt has between 30 and 40

Certainly, [Toyota has] the versus Volt, of brand So, unless you spend considerable of money to get name awareness, it time.

What about the and the hold it has on the media mind right now?

Norwicki: that helps the category is The enthusiast population is well of the difference in price points the less expensive Volt and Tesla]. Definitely, it’s on the luxury side of the market.

Do you the Volt has been successful on the numbers?

Norwicki: 58,000 Volts to date. That means outsold [individually] the [Nissan] the Prius Plug-in, the Toyota Rav 4 EV, The C-MAX Energi, The [Ford] Energi, The Focus EV, and the Telsa S. So, I in context, it is a lot. In the alternative-fuel it’s at the top, and we have there for some time. need to be set. This is new and it’s going to take for people to understand that vehicle could be for them. California has embraced it and we’re appreciative of that. And good the customer enthusiasm for this car is And it’s been on top of the pile in all of the Reports owner satisfaction And we’re beginning to see consumers in their first Volts and a second one. And that’s how it

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