Chevrolet To Turn To Current Volt Owners To Advocate For And Market Next-Gen 2016 Volt

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 15

Three Chevy Volt Family - This Family Would Be Ideal Advocates For Next-Gen Volt

Three Chevy Volt Family – This Family Would Be Ideal Advocates For Next-Gen Volt

Erick Belmer, owner of the highest mileage Volt in the world (pictured), would surely make for a stellar next-gen Volt advocate.

Erick Belmer, owner of the highest mileage Volt in the world (pictured), would surely make for a stellar next-gen Volt advocate.

Current Chevrolet Volt owners seem to be among the most passionate of auto owners out there.

General Motors has recognized this high level of passion and, as such, will look to overhaul its marketing for the next-gen 2016 Volt by turning to existing Volt owners who will become EVangelists.

Per Automotive News:

“Chevrolet will overhaul its marketing plan for the Chevy Volt when it launches the second-generation in 2015, using existing Volt owners as product evangelists focusing marketing efforts regionally.”

“Speaking to Automotive News on the sidelines of the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars, Chevrolet global marketing chief Tim Mahoney said the second-generation Volt already has something that the first-generation didn’t: existing owners.”

“He said Chevrolet will use Volt owners, especially in social media, to advocate for the extended-range battery-electric sedan.”

Nissan already does this with its LEAF owners website, so it’s not like General Motors is breaking any new ground here, but it’ll be interesting to see how well Volt owners can “market” a vehicle as complex as the Volt.

GM’s recent marketing effort for the Volt can be summed up with one word: nonexistent.

Any marketing is an improvement over none at all and we’re certain that Volt owners will be able to connect with potential next-gen Volt buyers in ways that GM can’t.

Automotive News adds:

“Mahoney said marketing efforts for the next generation Volt will be regionally focused, in areas where populations are denser.”

Mahoney said that while Volt “is a halo product for the brand and one that sort of points to what is possible at Chevrolet, there are clearly pieces of geography where it makes sense. So you’ll see a focus on fishing where the fish are.”

So, current Volt owners will be responsible for quite of bit of the marketing, but most of the marketing effort will be regional, not national.  This would seem to imply that GM predicts low sales volume for the next-gen Volt.

Source: Automotive News

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15 responses to "Chevrolet To Turn To Current Volt Owners To Advocate For And Market Next-Gen 2016 Volt"

  1. pjwood says:

    If they wanted to move the car, wouldn’t they “find new commercials”.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      I see what you did there. 🙂

  2. James says:

    Mahoney Baloney!

    There, I said it. This is the same “genius” that told a crowd of folks the other night that Volt was a niche vehicle akin to Corvette, that primarily appeals to people on the west coast and parts of the northeast…

    Mahoney couldn’t sell a Volt if a potential customer handed him their checkbook and a pen to seal the deal! If Volt marketing people don’t get the car or it’s potential market – how do they expect to sell them? Only the past Volt ad campaigns support my point explicitly.

    TIP: COMPARE PRIUS/PHV AND GEN II VOLT(S) SIDE-BY-SIDE! — Hellooo ohhh?

    Volt was intended to “leapfrog” Prius by the two guys who inspired it. As a 4 seater with 36-ish MPG in CS mode for $44,000, they missed that target “by THAT much!”…

    Gen. 2 seems to have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. They say it’ll be lighter, seat 5 and come in 2 flavors ( price points and electric ranges ). This is exactly what GM needed to do to target Prius, PHV and Ford’s c-Max hybrid and Energi. Fusion PHEV seems like it’ll soldier ahead priced out of the
    battle, destined to stay niche material.

    THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!

    Mahoney has no clue, and if they place Volt’s future in his incapable hands – it’s done before it ever gets started. His expectations for Volt are so low – it just pains me to watch this slow train wreck.

    They tried the “ask the man/woman who owns one” before ( see YouTube ) and that campaign was mildly successful compared to the dumb aliens, robotic dogs, Tim Allen “more car than electric”, and burger jockeys and convenience store dumbos trying to figure out how Volt works!

    It’s not HOW VOLT WORKS – that seems to be a mental block many have – It’s WHAT VOLT BRINGS YOU COMPARED TO IT’S MAIN RIVAL – PRIUS. Last I looked, Prius sold over 109,000 copies so far this year…

    1. GeorgeS says:

      I had some choice words for this and that fat ass Mahoney but James already said it all.

      Extol away James!!

    2. Stan says:

      If you’re upset now, wait till you’ll find out the bonus Mahoney will get for coming up with this non-idea 🙂

    3. Chris B says:

      You are right on the money James. There are two camps of EV shoppers now:

      1. Those that already own an EV and are looking for their “next” one.

      2. Those who don’t own an EV.

      Most of us are in group #1, but it is group #2 that need to be convinced and the Prius comparison is the best place to start. The good news is that Toyota has done all the hard work. Even people who don’t like Priuses have a rudimentary understanding that “it is a car that gets good gas mileage and will save me money…and somehow it uses magic lectrics to do it”. The play is simple – with the rebates a Volt can save you folks out there money…more money than a Prius even. Once they buy into that, then things like “being green”, “reduced dependence on oil”, “electric driving just feels nicer”, “buying American feels good”, will all come.

      Until then, all EVs are Niche cars…

    4. Luke Warm says:

      Months ago, I coined Gawdawful Marketing for GM.

      I’m a two Volt guy here in Texas “who gets it” and I’m loosing count of how many times people have said to me “Nice looking car, what is it?” And when I say “A Volt.” It is deflating to hear them reply, “What’s a Volt?” A surgeon driving a Prius was gassing his car when I came in to gas my pickup and I remarked that I had rented a Prius a couple of years ago in San Francisco and was impressed at how much driving I had done on 5 gallons of gas. I told the surgeon that I decided though to buy a Volt, and this educated man looks at me as he is hanging the pump up and says, “I thought they quit making the Volt?” And I’ve actually heard this from a person who works at the Chevrolet dealership where I’ve purchased two Volts.

      Mary Barra has terminated some people at GM (thank God Mary has come to “fix” a broken company and I appreciate her leadership) and I hope she terminates the guy who refuses to market and advertise the Volt. If he thinks they can only sell Volts in California he is an idiot. I have two ranches here in Texas, live in a very rural area and my first Volt went 27,000 miles and only used 42 gallons of gasoline. If a Volt can work in the sticks, like both of my Volts, GM needs to get busy advertising and marketing this car in the Heartland where it really-REALLY can shine. My Volts get much better range than GM ever suggested, mainly because I drive on rural highways and although GM suggests the Volt works best for city commuters, it “shines” for a goat rancher here in Texas and exceeds my expectations.

  3. ClarksonCote says:

    This is nothing new. When the Volt first came out, GM had all those “Owner testimonial” stories. So when Leaf did this, they weren’t breaking new ground either. In fact, neither was GM I’m pretty sure. 😉

  4. Anon says:

    “We don’t know how to sell it, so we’re turning it over to our rabid owners… ”

    You go, GM. You go.

  5. hvacman says:

    Mahoney and GM had a great crew of Volt evangelists for years and blew it. We were out there crowing, only to be continuously disappointed by GM’s “professional” marketing efforts/non-efforts, combined with generally-inept dealership sales staff (where the sales actually happen) that screwed up most of our sales “leads”.

    I love the Volt. GM still has the world’s best automotive engineers and will never stop praising the Volt’s design and build, but I’m tired of covering GM’s marketing @$$.

  6. Taser54 says:

    Isn’t this a similar approach to the marketing used for Saturn? They had a core of hundreds of thousands of loyal customers.

  7. ModernMarvelFan says:

    GM has one of the worst marketing team on the planet.

    And GM is run by marketing people, NOT by engineers. That is its core problem.

    Mary Barra is the first CEO of GM in recent history to even have an engineering back ground. But with the recent issues, I think she might NOT have the bandwidths to even deal with this Volt 2.0 launch.

  8. James says:

    Bob Lutz is in his 70s and has a sharp marketing mind. I’ll cut him slack on the ELR, and more slack on his recent revelation – phrased as a premonition, that “GM’s mistake was to build Volt first and not an EREV pickup truck”….WOOOSH!….BRILLIANT! Hindsight is 20/20, eh, big guy!

    I still love the guy – he’s one of my auto heroes. He is on the right track today with VIA Motors and GM should hire him back as a special Volt v.2 marketing consultant. He and John Laukner knew Volt was a moonshot to
    show Toyota American engineers still had it. They understand that ELR vs. Tesla ( elsewhere today in InsideEVs.com ) promotions are sophomoric, and Volt vs. Prius advertisements would open people’s eyes to what Volt can do for them.

    This current marketing idea by GM is akin to a dog chasing it’s own tail. They’re completely clueless to what giant pool of potential buyers are out there looking for A BETTER PRIUS. AND IT’S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEM – SOON TO BE PRIUS-PRICED AND SEAT FIVE!!!! GM marketing is still stuck on – Gee, Volt owners and focus groups surveys still tell us that the public doesn’t know how Volt works! GET OVER IT, ALREADY – NEITHER DO THEY! 1/2 of auto ads online show dealers still list Volt MPG as: “40 MPG” and it’s transmission as “CVT” or “Automatic”!!!

    Most Toyota salespersons don’t know how Prius works either, but they’re excited about selling them and getting their commissions!

    Chris B is 120% right on the money – Folks don’t sit around pondering how a hybrid works…they do have budgets and want to get off of expensive regular maintenance and parts, and smelly, expensive gas. Since they know Prius – just plainly explain the advantages of Volt!

    What’s the saying? “Build a better Prius and people will beat a path to your dealership”?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Sorry James, I have to point this out because its kinda significant…Lutz actually turned 82 this year. The man just keeps going and goin – that is how you know he really is a car guy, lol.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Again, I thank Bob Lutz for putting a minimally decent battery in the VOLT. If it was any smaller than it was I would not have purchased one.

        One pet peave that both GM and Tesla are guilty of is that you cannot under any circumstances talk to the engineering depts. Tesla would have saved, so, so much money on my Roadster warranty repairs if they would just answer a few simple questions from time to time, but hey GM has equivalent Geniuses that will only talk to dealers.

        I could have saved GM money also.

        I feel it is important enough of an issue that the first auto company that behaves more humanly will get my business. I have a back door approach through the Tesla service dudes who warm up to me, but its not something that I’d like to rely on in the future.