Compared to the 2016 Chevy Volt, a Nissan Leaf could leave you stranded, and it’s at least far from range-anxiety free. Similarly, the 2016 Toyota Prius uses 1990s tech in its NiMh battery.
These assertions are not ours, however, but the gist of new attack advertisements Chevrolet has in store to wake people up to the new 53-mile EV range Volt. The ads are set to debut online this fall, and also on TV.
“We’re going to go head-to-head with Leaf and Prius,” said Chevrolet’s global chief marketing officer, Tim Mahoney in a report by Ad Age. “The ads allow Chevrolet to talk in one way and they allow Chevrolet’s personality to come through. We’re going to be taking more risks.”
This revelation was given to journalists in San Francisco as the automaker has begun shipping first units to California and 10 other states following California emissions rules, and where Mahoney says it has sold the best.
2016 will be a short model year, the rest if the U.S. will get a 2017 model year beginning next spring, but meanwhile the offensive is on.
The Volt, launched its first generation in 2011 and was nearly hidden in plain sight. The car came on te heels of a bankruptcy, bailout, restructuring, and the Volt was a poster child for Republican election hopefuls because Obama backed it.
Chevrolet caught lots of criticism for not marketing it effectively nationwide, and even seemed to tuck its tail between its legs, revealing in January 2014 it has ceased advertising Volt outside California and tech fairs where people could comprehend its value.
Despite that, the Volt was, when objectively examined, actually disruptive and now ads themselves will be disruptive for generation two in a mildly confrontational sort of way.
This psychology will include a scene with Leaf drivers stuck between floors in an elevator, an unnerving experience, to get the point across of an EV being stuck. Getting caught out of juice in a world oriented toward gasoline is no fun – especially when recharging takes a while for the Leaf unless you run out coincidentally at one of the few level 3 quick chargers out there.
What was not reported is the new 2016 Leaf will offer as much as 107 miles range – no doubt to counter the upgraded Volt and as Leaf sales have begin to fade compared to last year.
And the new 2016 Prius will soon be shown in a higher-efficienct “Eco” version which may have li-ion battery pioneered since 2012 in the plug-in Prius – and it will have superior fuel economy.
But the extended-range electric Volt is unique with ability to run on electricity then seamlessly switch to its 1.5-liter gas engine for hybrid mode.
Those who get it, well, they get it. But Chevrolet is trying to get past a public with apparent Volt blindness to see whether it can beat analysts predictions on tepid sales.
Mahoney said the attack ad idea is part of a “shattering perceptions” strategy that has increased brand perception by 3 percent.
The base Volt starts at $33,995, about $1,115 less than last year while delivering significantly longer EV range, and better mileage in gas operation at 42 mpg.