Video: GM Misfires in Attempt to Counter Elon Musk’s Criticism of Chevy Volt

4 years ago by Electric CarsTV 31

 

Chevrolet Volt marketing product manager, Darin Gesse, is no Elon Musk.

Chevrolet Volt Marketing Product Manager Darin Gesse is Not Elon Musk

Chevrolet Volt Marketing Product Manager Darin Gesse is Not Elon Musk…Not Even Close

Elon Musk seems capable of selling a Tesla Model S to just about anybody that will listen to him.Β  Rightly or wrongly, Musk is in that rare league of individuals who is listened to whenever he speaks and followed by legions of people.

There’s just something Musk has that Darin Gesse (who’s responding here to some Volt criticism from Musk) doesn’t. We can’t quite put our finger on it though.

Maybe it’s Gesse’s lack of knowledge of the product he’s responsible for marketing?Β  Maybe…

You’d think Gesse should be able to answer some of those simple Volt questions in a way that oozes at least a drop of enthusiasm.Β  But nope, Gesse comes off as stiff and bored.

Note to Gesse: This is not how you pitch/sell/market the technological marvel that is the Chevy Volt.

And yes, we’re frustrated by Gesse’s inability to make the Volt shine here.

Source: Hybrid Cars

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31 responses to "Video: GM Misfires in Attempt to Counter Elon Musk’s Criticism of Chevy Volt"

  1. Mark H says:

    embarrassing

  2. Well it wasn’t as bad as I expected from the headline. He’s not as charismatic and confident as Elon when he speaks and that makes him sound a bit soft. It would have been interesting if Lutz was around hand he came on to respond. I think the results would have been a bit better.

  3. Steve T says:

    He clearly was nervous and appeared on his heels fielding questions. I found myself coming up with better answers myself as I was watching. The Volt was always intended to be a blend of technologies, but based on an electric drivetrain. This was done to keep the cost down for the average consumer, due to high battery costs, and to eliminate range anxiety. He should have stressed this is a $35,000 car, not an $80,000 car.

    Just by the fact that GM has to ‘defend’ the Volts technology against Tesla shows you just how miraculous Elon’s creation is. Who would have thought this would be the case 3 or 4 years ago? Elon really moved the ball forward with the Model S. That said, it’s still a car that the average consumer can’t afford. This was the Volt’s intent from the very beginning.

    1. Chris O says:

      GM isn’t the only one that sounds defensive when it comes to Tesla. Audi and BMW have shown signs of blinking too in this automotive showdown.

      1. Bonaire says:

        Doesn’t sound too far off from a regular Chevy salesman on the showroom floor. Just before they say “hey, let me show you this Cruze. It’s cheaper”.

  4. Sam says:

    Maybe it’s not the messenger but the car. Just maybe…

    1. EM says:

      You think he’s an effective messenger? I hope you aren’t in marketing!

      He should have thanked the interviewer if she was seriously comparing the Volt to a car twice as expensive. Complement the Model S but remind them the Volt will allow them to drive the vast majority of their miles electric, yet won’t leave them stranded if there is a bad storm or natural disaster knocks your power out for the night, or longer..

      When asked who should buy a Volt he should answer anyone looking for a car, and especially anyone considering a Prius or Leaf.

      Lower cost of ownership than Toyota’s most affordable Prius:
      http://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/volt/2013/tco.html
      http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/prius-c/2012/tco.html
      Besides having a lower ownership cost for many people, it is faster and handles better, and doesn’t look half as bad.

      Or, mention 5 star crash test ratings:
      http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/5-Star+Safety+Ratings/2011-Newer+Vehicles/Search-Results?searchtype=model&make=CHEVROLET&model=VOLT&year=2013

      Vs. Prius C and LEAF 4 star:
      http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/5-Star+Safety+Ratings/2011-Newer+Vehicles/Search-Results?searchtype=model&make=TOYOTA&model=PRIUS+C&year=2013
      http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/5-Star+Safety+Ratings/2011-Newer+Vehicles/Search-Results?searchtype=model&make=NISSAN&model=LEAF&year=2013

      If he didn’t want to show a little more class than his competitor, and not make direct comparisons, he could remind the interviewer of some of the many awards the Volt has one, such as:

      Consumer Reports highest owner satisfaction, multiple years:
      http://www.autoblog.com/2012/11/29/chevy-volt-again-tops-consumer-reports-owner-satisfacti/

      consumer guide best buy:
      http://www.chevrolet.com/culture/article/chevy-volt-and-sonic-win-best-buy-award.html

      JD Power APEAL award, 3 years in a row, only plug in to ever win:
      http://insideevs.com/chevy-volt-wins-j-d-power-apeal-award-for-3rd-consecutive-year-volt-is-still-only-plug-in-to-ever-win/

      http://www.torquenews.com/106/2013-chevrolet-volt-review-best-ev-america-keeps-getting-better

      1. David Stone says:

        “yet won’t leave them stranded if there is a bad storm or natural disaster knocks your power out for the night, or longer.. ”

        Stranded because of longer range of gas tank and ease of refueling, okay, but because of power outage?
        Gas pumps run on electricity; no power, no gas.

        1. VoltOwner says:

          A Volt most likely would have gas in it already, unless the owner was planning on buying on the day of the outage, same with gas cars.
          A one day outage would only affect a small percentage of gas cars, probably about the same percentage of EV’s .
          It really depends on when the outage occurs. If you are on the way home with a nearly depleted battery when it goes out overnight, you are hoofing it the next day, or at least taking a different car, unless you have a Volt.

          I keep the same gas in my Volt for a year until it’s deemed “going stale” and I have to use it.

          An enterprising gas station owner will have a small gas generator to run his pumps when the power is out…

        2. EM says:

          Ever pour gas from a gas can before, or see AAA bring gas out to someone who needs it? No power needed necessarily.

          Often times a storm can knock out power in some locations and not all. Utility crews can prioritize things key to infrastructure as needed. In the unlikely event that ALL the gas stations in a city are down, it will be a priority to get some back up to keep things moving. We had a weird snow/ice storm late in the spring, after the trees had already had their leaves. The weight of the snow and ice on the leaves caused a lot of tree damage which of course caused a lot of power outages. My area was without power for 4 days, while many neighborhoods were back up around a day later.

          Chances are though most people with a Tesla have a second car that runs on gas. Every owner I’ve met so far has an ICE car as well. When people talk about their Tesla’s online they talk how great they are because it is 100% electric, and everything that isn’t is from the stone age. Yet, their driving is not 100% electric because they need an ICE car for certain situations.

  5. Rick Danger says:

    He looked like he was in a cross between the Spanish Inquisition, and having to get up in class to recite what he remembered from Chapter 6, which he just read last night.

    No enthusiasm, no personality, and as Steve says, he could have had better answers.

    Elon Musk must sit in his office and laugh his ass off.

    I’m not a Volt hater by any means, but Musk and Tesla are free to chart a new course in automotive transportation for the 21st century, and all the others are still stuck in 20th century thinking and technology.

  6. Chris O says:

    He reminds me of that Southpark character: “Don’t do drugs mkay”.

    It’s odd that such an uninspiring type should be in charge of marketing the Volt. How serious is GM with this vehicle anyway?

  7. Vin says:

    Wow, a marketing product manager that apparently doesn’t know his market nor his product. If he did, he would have been able to answer these questions with confidence. If he knew his competition, he would have been able to plant some digs at Tesla and Elon without even mentioning their names,

    Opportunity missed for GM.

  8. Ocean Railroader says:

    I really think the major car companies view anything that doesn’t go to a gas station as a burden on them.

    I think this positive creative energy that Elon Musk and the people around him are what is driving the company in that when someone is happy and motivated about what they care about they are much better to listen too. On top of this he has the aggression and motivation to come out with a mass produced EV while GM views EV’s as a burden or a complacence car.

  9. Bill Shell says:

    He may have not been the best at selling the Volt, but that woman interviewing was hard to listen to and had little or no skills in that interview to ask questions correctly. He may have been thrown off by her vocal off-putting valley girl speaking style.

  10. Bennyd says:

    The Chevy volt is a transitional vehicle, simple as that…

    1. evnow says:

      Exactly. Not sure why people won’t embrace that.

      1. vdiv says:

        Uhm, because every vehicle/technology is temporal and transitional to a newer one?! πŸ™‚

  11. Mike says:

    GM just doesn’t get it. I have a Volt because charging infrastructure sucks in 80-85% of the country. It has sufficient electric range so I can go for months commuting around town, but I don’t have to hassle with trying to find a charging station when I need to go out of town.

    Get this, I went to Boulder CO last week and there wasn’t even an available outlet I could find in the vicinity to add some level 1 charge. If you can’t do that in a progressive town like Boulder image the hassle in cities and towns with worse charging infrastructure.

    Why can’t GM figure that out and communicate that to potential customers.

  12. Bill Howland says:

    No real story here, other than ElectricCarsTV is in Love with Musk.

  13. Future Leaf Driver says:

    GM there is a new report coming in from the DTF team.

    Please review and correct marketing strategy!

  14. Electric! says:

    lol that guy is lame Elon is the best

  15. Electric! says:

    the truth hurts

  16. vdiv says:

    Darin Goose is a sweetheart. Leave the poor guy alone! πŸ˜‰

    He just simply and finally came out of the woodwork and illuminated GM’s tragic inability to sell the best car they have ever made. That’s all.

  17. Spec says:

    Uh . . . GM sells more Volts than Tesla sells Model S cars.

    And jeez, could this article have more of a crush on Musk? Get a room.

    1. David Stone says:

      They sell more because it is cheaper and GM has the capacity to mass produce.

      There may be a crush, but this was simply a comparison between the most visible spokesperson for one car with this person put forward to speak for the other.

      And it seemed to me it was less about how good Musk is, not even so much how bad this guy is, but how GM could have a marketing product manager, and then let him go on tv, without the basics needed for either situation:
      knowledge of market and product, properly prepared answers, enthusiasm and a somewhat extrovert personality.

  18. VoltOwner says:

    GM’s marketing strategy is a little bit of a long game, most people miss that.

    Imagine if they had started brilliant ads that totally explained every aspect of the Volt, and actually made people want to rush out and buy one, from day one, in heavy rotation. Do you think for a minute they could not have sold 100K in a year? (Imagine they went on the attack over the smears as well…) So that in 2 years the tax credit started going away?

    How do you think that sudden loss of the credit would affect sales when it happened before they were ready for it?

    It takes time to “take the costs out” as they say, and they are just beginning to do that now.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Yes, but they still need to be smarter about it: if they didn’t want to sell it in numbers, they can say that the car’s really good but they’re working on lowering costs to appeal to more consumers: basically say “Hey it’s expensive, so if you want to wait go ahead!”

  19. TSLA says:

    LOL FAIL volt sucks compared to model s its only “alright” GM is horrible too

  20. A2B Velociti says:

    This nice gentleman is in “marketing” about as much as the scary “marketing” ads GM put out for the EV1 back in the 90’s.
    Goes right along with their efforts to get the California CARB to pull the zero emissions mandate around Y2k.
    Or the systematic buying up and destruction of public EV transportation systems of major cities in the middle of the 20th century to replace it with diesel bus service.
    Much of GM’s business model is based on years of expected parts and service for every vehicle they sell. After all, weren’t they the ones who came up with engineering planned obsolescence into vehicles back in the late 50’s?
    Like manufacturers selling their printers cheap… the real money stream is on the ink sales.
    Resource depletion, city air pollution, climate change all WAY down the priority list relative to quartlerly profits after decisions make it through all the GM VP’s and P’s. Just part of business right? πŸ˜‰

  21. A2B Velociti says:

    Just listen to how Mr. Gesse’s tone (@1:40), instead of sounding upbeat, actually drops down an octave when he’s says “…the Chevrolet Spark EV”.
    Priceless. He’s in marketing alright. For the all the ICE vehicles GM sells which is…all but one.
    Saving grace is that each GM Volt instantly creates it’s own positive marketing manager- out of its owner πŸ™‚