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Politically Incorrect: Chevy versus Chevrolet

GM scrambles to clarify a “poorly worded” internal memo.

by on Jun.10, 2010

"We love Chevy." So do we.

A couple of days ago an internal GM memo was sent to Chevrolet employees asking them to remember the importance of “consistency” while communicating the popular brand, which is deeply embedded in the U.S. car culture.

However, it’s also global branding issue since Chevy has annual sales of more than 3.5 million vehicles in 130 countries. Yes, see the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet describes where most of the sales occur.

A brouhaha arose when the memo leaked in the New York Times, and the web world erupted in its full non-thinking way.

The memo said in part that it is important “whether you’re talking to a dealer, reviewing dealer advertising, or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet moving forward.”

The entirely sensible plea was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the GM division’s vice president for marketing.

GM has now issued a clarification:

“Today’s emotional debate over a poorly worded memo on our use of the Chevrolet brand is a good reminder of how passionately people feel about Chevrolet. It is a passion we share and one we do not take for granted.

“We love Chevy. In no way are we discouraging customers or fans from using the name. We deeply appreciate the emotional connections that millions of people have for Chevrolet and its products.

“In global markets, we are establishing a significant presence for Chevrolet, and need to move toward a consistent brand name for advertising and marketing purposes. The memo in question was one step in that process.

“We hope people around the world will continue to fall in love with Chevrolets and smile when they call their favorite car, truck or crossover  ‘Chevy,’ ” the statement says.

Okay, so Chevy’s okay.

Everybody should go back to work now.

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2 Responses to “Politically Incorrect: Chevy versus Chevrolet”

  1. Chevy owns the autoblogs and watercoolers today, hmmm…. what’s that about word of mouth? sometimes people aren’t as dumb as they might appear.

    If only an internal memo could give the brand stature and consistency… no big deal, too bad it was leaked. If a backdoor, grassroots strategy to get people talking Chevy… genius!

    It’s a Bow Tie kind of day.

  2. Ken Zino says:

    James: Reflecting on it, I don’t think this was planned. Otherwise you would not put your top two execs’ names on the memo.

    Rumor has it that this happened because of an off-hand remark that Mark Reuss made during a meeting about using Chevrolet, which then took on larger than life status inside GM, which resulted in the memo.