No matter how much GM marketers try to spin this latest news release, the net result is a loss of full agreement by consumers. I seriously think General Motors (NYSE: GM) should reconsider their marketing approach with this one.
It seems the question is, Are we to assume the GM knows what’s best for us, and we, the public, are simply too ignorant to realize it? For one, I didn’t go bankrupt (at least yet); but GM did. I didn't get a government bailout, but GM did. So, where's the moral high ground. Point is, very little, at least on this issue.
For the record, my Sunday article, "Gas mileage debate clouded by latest auto marketing stretches" , had plenty of Facebook and Twitter comments, because it stated "Chevy was using a marketing stretch to push for less weight just to claim better gas mileage. It frankly comes at the expense of safety."
Jason Brown stated it best on Facebook when he wrote me direct: "I don't know about you, but when I'm driving I-696 and I get a flat, it's usually cuz something shredded my tire. No pump is gonna fix that, and I keep a giant crowbar and I'm licensed to carry to help keep me safe in unsavory situations. I bet in the long haul removing the spare only gets you an extra 200 feet, if that. Next they'll recommend we tape up all the seams on our cars for decreased wind resistance!"
After further investigation into other’s comments, Jason later wrote: "Wow there was some interesting comments, when it comes down to it. Honestly lets throw these morons in a car, jam a knife into the side of one of their tires and lets do it at about 1 am on the south east side of Detroit on 75 and see how useful the air pump is. I guess you could throw it at the guys who are going to rob you!"
Peruse the Facebook comments on GM for yourself. Jason is not alone in that view. Many point toward the safety issue especially total blowouts when the sidewall of the tire are involved, and especially in bad areas.
However, my own take on the matter extends beyond the inflator. Again, I take issue with the blowing smoke at the consumer and using MPG as the only rationale for all decisions,
In fact, with regard to MPG, this reporter still believes automotive marketing has taken a new twist: using all the available tech information to tout little things at the expense of the greater things.
How does a company like GM and in this case Chevrolet justify itself by touting losing the spare tire to get better mileage, but then only use the highway value as the front number, because the public may not notice the city driving figure is anemic at best at 28 mpg?
Don’t get me wrong. I like the Chevy Cruze, but enough is enough. I hate being treated like a mindless imbecile, especially by corporate marketers who still do not understand the public wants open honesty, not BS (Blatant Smoke).
See, while we’re mesmerized by the marketing of the news release which forces you and me to believe the inflator as a replacement for the spare tire sheds enough weight so your mileage can be improved, there is a more subtle message.
In other words, the ploy of the Chevy Cruze marketing machine is to have you concentrate on the technical gains made for the sake of better mileage, and so much on 42 highway mpg, you will notice less the meager 28 mpg for city driving.
The message is obvious: See, Chevy wants to blow its horn about safety, being weight conscious and ultimately has your back when it comes to gas mileage. See how they care about you, Mr. and Mrs. Consumer?
Truth is, you have to give up a spare tire and risk your safety so GM can tout better gas mileage, which is better than the Cobalt which it replaced, but still far from the needs of consumers with $3.70 - $4 per gallon gasoline, especially for city driving.
Where is the GM HCCI engine technology. Where are the turbo-diesels? Where are the split-cycle air hybrids? Where is the electrification with eAssist technology or ultra-capacitors for better city driving mileage of small cars? Where is the natural-gas option? Honda has a nat-gas model!
Point is, MPG at GM is not going up except perhaps the Volt ; and, even there, that model has not used 40 miles as the electric driving range anymore. When did that happen? It was so subtle until I wrote about it few weeks ago.
So, this issue of automotive marketing messages goes way beyond an inflator which is not a bad idea; it’s just not the only or the best idea for everyone. Furthermore, safety is once again played to lose in favor of gas mileage; and not for anything great in city driving which is the real shame.
Tell me what you think right here at Torque News. We welcome your comments below, as other TN readers want to know as well becuase they may not be Facebook followers.
[Image Source: media.gm.com]
About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures, and writes articles, books and ebooks via authorfrank.com. He may be contacted here by email: [email protected]
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