Which would you rather have, a 2016 Chevy Volt or a Toyota Prius or Nissan Leaf?
While we’re curious, the question is really Chevrolet’s as its new attack ads have gone live online and reportedly will appear on TV as well.
According to Steve Majoros, Chevrolet director of car marketing, the automaker will be advertising the Volt in markets as it rolls the car out. In other words, promotional activity will follow states in which it will be launched, namely California, and potentially 10 states that are also getting the 2016 model year.
Thirty nine other non-CARB states will get a 2017 model year early next spring, so ads should follow in these too.
The ads use a focus group, an approach that has been favored by Chevrolet in recent months. Maybe they are thought to seem more real, and believable?
That they are scripted on the automaker’s side, and then carefully edited by the automaker is plain, but the people forming the focus group are said to be not paid actors.
The idea behind the ads is to get people to think about the new Volt which has escaped that privilege by many Americans since launch for the 2011 model year.
Its best sales years were 2012, and 2013 hovering just over 23,000 sales each year. Globally, Nissan has sold two Leafs for every Volt or Volt-based Ampera during the same time on the market, and the Prius sells 120,000-145,000 units per year.
Chevrolet is now saying generation-two proves it is committed to the car, if there were ever any doubt expressed by critics.
And truly, the 53-mile EV range Volt could work for many more people than have thus far discovered it. A gas engine backs up that range when batteries exhaust, and 420 miles total potential means “no range anxiety.”
That said, the focus groups position the 2016 Volt against 2015 model year competitors, not the new 2016 replacements for the Toyota and Nissan which will also be improved. That is, the 2016 Prius while still equipped with a NiMh battery for the base level, is otherwise all new, and the 2016 Leaf will have as much as 107 miles range, and 84 will be only for the base model.
In response to this observation about the Leaf in particular, we were told “What can you buy now?” by a GM media rep this week in San Francisco at a Volt drive event.
In 11 states he may have a point, but the ads have a shelf date. The new Prius and Leaf will be here soon enough, but the ads are a first start.
And, as others have positively observed, the ads are targeting mainstream Americans, and designed to make them open their minds. Details that may make others sniff may matter very little to certain buyers. If that is achieved, the ads will be effective.
How do they work for you?