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Discussion Starter #1
I've been thinking about how GM is going to market the Volt. Clearly they will advance the fact that NOTHING else offered by anyone is similar, particularly for the price. The benefits of the E-Flex chassis, the flexibility, etc... "The Volt is the beginning of a revolution!", I can hear them saying already.

BUT, it will be to the other makers advantage to try to muddy the waters a little; Toyota, for example, will claim the Volt is GM's equivalent to the Prius, argue cost benefits especially if the Prius at the time is cheaper, etc.... Others may just say its nothing more than another hybrid, no big deal.

The general press is so clueless about this car (at least now) that they could report almost anything. The car mags, particularly the rag CR, have never really treated GM well, so I'm not sure they are willing to give them much credit either.

Will the general public be willing to learn about the technology and see the Volt for what it is, or will they be too lazy to differentiate it from anything else? Who's line will they take? Who will they believe in the marketing wars? GM needs to consider how to make those who do not venture to this website excited about how different the Volt really is.

It seems to me that the answer to this question it critical to the acceptance of the car, particularity if it is slightly more expensive than some other "hybrids". Anybody have any thought on this?
 

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The marketing push has already started. It'll really hit a high a few months after the Volt is released I think. Toyota had a huge campaign planned for the Prius II...but hardly aired any of it b/c it was such a huge success they couldn't build them fast enough to meet the pre-release demand.

I think word of mouth will be huge and the press will pick up on the enthusiasm.

One phrase that needs to come into the common vernacular... "I GET to plug it in!" So many people, to this day, still ask me "Do you have to plug it in?". I hate that I can't.
 

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Agreed, I'm stuned now with my Camry Hybrid how many people ask me if I HAVE to plug it in, like it would be a bad thing. I have used the line.... "OMG, I wish I could, it would save me so much more $$$ in gas, but it's a few years down the road". Then I use the opertunity to tell them about the Volt. :D

The public in general is WAY behing the learning curve on any car with a big battery, much less with the Volt. And the media in general isn't much beter, they can't seem get the facts straight either. :(

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #7
MetrologyFirst

Should GM come out eventually in their advertising and directly make the econmical gas saving argument? I'm not sure this is a good path to go down; you, in effect, open the door for the Hyundai's of the world to say just spend 12K for the car and put the rest in the bank.

I think they should (within about 4 months of release) market the Volt's style over the competition, its advantages over the common hybrid cars but not denegrate them, the fact that "you too, can be part of automotive history in the making, the mass electrification of the car". Telling people that their grandchildren will read about this time as a positive step in world history might actually get their attention. Everyone, not only a president, wants a positive legacy. I think the arguments need to be larger than GM.

I like the phrase, "The World is watching".
 

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The World is watching....take responsibilty? You GET to plug it in when you WANT, plus you can use gas IF you need it.
Chevy Volt

I agree that GM should lead with all of the other features and benefits to the E-Rev and Volt design, but don't punt on the running cost issue. Hyundai buyers, used car only buyers, etc won't be swayed until lifetime costs are obviously in the Volt's favour. People that feel reducing gasoline usage is a priority will pay more and costs won't matter as much. Costs will be important for the people that are interested in saving gas and insuring themselves against future gas prices, but it isn't a high priority. These potential compact to mid-size car buyers that appreciate design and some performance will want to know what the premium is. Without GM stepping into the frey, their impressions of costs will come from the Media, Toyota, or other not necessarily accurate sources.

I think the ultimate seccess of the GM's E-Rev concept lies more in the level of their commitment than public perception. There is enough of the public willing to give this platform a chance so there will be plenty of real world experiences. It will be a very similar sales dynamic to the early Prius models. Even though I believe GM will have no difficulty finding a market for the Volt under $38K, it may take a couple of years to build momentum to support hundreds of thousands of vehicle sales per year. The Volt does have an advancing technology advantage over the Prius dynamic while also having significantly more of the gas saving advantages. Also, the Volt the design and proposed performance has been very well received.

Realistically, as long as GM has a strong commitment to this project there appears to me little risk of failure.
 

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I agree that GM should lead with all of the other features and benefits to the E-Rev and Volt design, but don't punt on the running cost issue. Hyundai buyers, used car only buyers, etc won't be swayed until lifetime costs are obviously in the Volt's favour. People that feel reducing gasoline usage is a priority will pay more and costs won't matter as much. Costs will be important for the people that are interested in saving gas and insuring themselves against future gas prices, but it isn't a high priority.
I think the cost issue needs to be handled with kid gloves as for every ad they post talking about cost some reporter will publish an article stacked with cost comparisons to a hybrid like the Prius II or even conventional gas cars showing it'll take 25 years at $5/gallon or 13 years at $10/gallon to recoup the costs.

I think ads on the order of:
"86% of drivers will never need to buy drop of gas for their daily driving." would work fine. But on a cost analysis basis it won't be a good selling point. That's why I like the "isn't it time to do your part" ad puts the pressure on the buyer to pay the little extra to do the right thing.

I posted a thread that apparently nobody thought was interesting a couple days ago about bundling or selling for cost a solar panel adequate for a daily charge of the Volt. Include something like that and they can say:
"Most drivers will never need to spend a dime for gas OR electricity for their daily driving."

I think that would get folks attention...buy the car bundled with a solar panel to mount on your roof and tie to the grid to offset the electrical use and now you're driving for zero cost.
 

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I think the are going to be hit with cost comparisions regradless, especially by Toyota. It is happening already and will get much more prevelent as production approaches regardless or GM's approach. This is the only issue, that has any basis in reality, that the competition can come at them with unless they have their own AER vehicles available (other than 4 seats).
 

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How about just show people the following Josh Tickell's (Veggi Van Guy) video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOsQILZFJE8

Then after that hand them a card that simply reads:

Welcome to the Volt - even better than grease

That's one powerful video. If you don't want to reduce your gasoline usage after watching that I don't know what it would take. ;)
 

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GM will have to wait for the response from Big Oil. I would say chances are good that gas prices will drop to whatever level is needed to kill off the interest in the Volt. If that happens then GM needs to tell the public that as consumers they have no control over the price of gas but they do have control over the cost of electricity by purchasing solar panals and a grid intertie inverter.
 

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Volt

I just hope that GM does not screw this up like they did with the EV1. In fact I'm not waiting for 2010 for the volt. I'm on the list for an All electric SUV that Phoenix Motors will be selling next year. This vehicle goes 95 mph and gets about 120 miles per charge. They also build a pickup. I am also looking to see what ZENN Motors is coming out with in the fall of 2009. I know it's a EV sedan that travels up to 80 mph and gets ( this is the best part ) 250 mile on a charge. WOW! Hope this is true. If this is the case, GM do alot more than 40 miles to a charge. :)
 

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A cost/benefit analysis would be a nightmare

For one I really hope GM does not try to sell the Volt as a cost savings tool, unless the Volt costs less than $20K they won't win that debate.

I can buy a $10K used Hyundai and save a lot of money and gas. But that's not the point of the Volt as we all know.

The electrification of the automobile is inevitable as Mr Lutz indicated. I only hate that GM can't use Nikola Tesla in their ads without getting confused with the Tesla Motor Company, because Mr. Telsa had the right idea so long ago. The Volt is just returning automobiles back to what they should have been all along.
 

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GM has already accomplished the single greatest marketing move they needed - they dubbed the vehicle an E-REV. They explain that it runs purely on electricity from the grid for the first 40 miles, then a gasoline generator kicks in to recharge the batteries. Everyone gets that.

I've seen REEV, E-REV and range extender nomenclature in many, many articles, and have seen both Tesla Motors and Aptera begin to offer a range extender for their electric vehicles.

First 40 miles - no gas. People have already gotten that concept, which is why the sign-up list vaulted to 10,000 people in no time flat.
 
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