Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on September 25, 2007
I definitely like where Chevy’s going with their new ad campaign, Gas-Friendly To Gas-Free, but I’ve been duped by a good ad campaigns in the past (think New Coke). So let’s take a deeper look at what Chevy is really selling us this time around, beyond the shiny green layout in the middle of Vanity Fair and other magazines.
Chevy unfolds their new green thinking in a five-part plan, but really, there’s only one part of the plan that’s selling cars now: their Fuel Efficiency category. Chevy is hyping their bio-friendliness saying eight of their 2007 models get 30 miles per gallon or better on the highway. None of which, of course, are their super popular trucks and SUVs. But they get to that, as the ad claims to offer the best V8 fuel economy of any full-size pick-up truck (that’s right, they use V8 and fuel economy in the same sentence). However, the fine print says it’s only for the two-wheel drive variety, which isn’t nearly as popular as the four-wheel drive variety, and it still only gets 22 miles per gallon on the highway. And what about the ever-popular Tahoe, the symbol of American over-compensation? Well, they spin that by saying it gets better standard highway fuel economy than 12 smaller SUVs with an estimated 21 miles per gallon highway. I’m sure there’s a lot more than 12 smaller SUVs on the market for one thing. Plus, isn’t 40 the new 20?
I admit, Chevy is trying. The rest of the ad campaign lays out Chevy’s efforts in other arenas, but to me it doesn’t look like any of these alternatives are alternatives for the now. Their claim that they have more cars on the road offering E85 ethanol capability may be correct, but finding a service station that provides the mostly renewable fuel source just isn’t practical at this point. There just aren’t enough pumps. And that’s not their fault, but they certainly know the reality. They’re also launching a test fleet of 100 hydrogen powered fuel cell SUVs, but that’s not going to change the dependency on gas in America today. And they’re working on an electric car that uses a High-Energy Battery and a range-extending multi-fuel onboard power source, but unfortunately, that’s still a concept car.
The most immediate impact of Chevy’s new gas-friendly thinking (though likely not available at dealerships until the winter) will be their release of two new hybrids, the Malibu and the Tahoe. According to Chevy, the Tahoe Hybrid will be the first full-size hybrid SUV. Granted, any SUV of such size will remain overkill, but if we must continue our super-sizing ways, at least we can do it with 25% less calories.
Making people think they’re actually doing something good for the environment by driving their cars, Chevy wins without actually putting cars on the road that are going to make a difference. Who knows, hopefully they will roll out a fleet of bio-friendly vehicles, but that’s not true for today. Chevy has called itself An American Revolution for long enough, it’s time to back that up, not with experimentation and plans for the future, but by changing the way we drive today.