Everyone is sick of hearing about gas prices, but the truth is that the rise in gas prices has had a significant impact on the automotive industry as a whole. Some manufacturers have cut or stopped production altogether, while others have delayed new vehicle launches, closed plants, and placed historically high amounts of cash on the hood, all in an effort to avoid total destruction. In an attempt to survive, many have gotten into the hybrid game; developing entirely new vehicles or modifying existing models. Hybrid no longer means sub-compact, now consumers can get their Silverados, Tahoes and Escalades in hybrid form. More recently, some manufactures have announced the release of fuel cell or battery powered vehicles that contain no gasoline whatsoever to power the engine.
The newest player to enter this game is Chevrolet, with the Volt. The Volt is a lithium-ion battery powered vehicle set to launch by the end of 2010. Today, on their 100th anniversary, GM plans to debut the production version of the Volt. With this debut comes a key question, can the Volt change the consumer’s mind of GM from "˜gas guzzler’ to "˜fuel sipper’? To-date the ball is certainly rolling in that direction, with roughly 40,000 people signing up on the unofficial waiting list at www.gm-volt.com, a site developed by New Yorker Lyle Dennis. A sort of micro-site, it’s an enthusiast site without any official ties back to GM. But apparently, Dennis isn’t the only one who’s interested in the Volt, nearly 100,000 unique visitors went to the site in August.
At Compete, we also looked at what online buzz, if any, the Volt was generating. To do this we looked at the number of search terms containing "Chevrolet Volt" or "Chevy Volt" in July and August. We found the most significant impact following the commercial spot during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on 8/8/08, with a 171% increase week-over-week.
Early indicators show that GM appears to be headed in the right direction with the Volt, thanks to timely ad spots and online buzz. With Hummer’s future in constant question it would seem the Volt is ready to take over as the image of GM. Only time will tell what the true impact will be, but I bet I can guess what GM will be wishing for as they blow out the birthday candles today.
At Compete, Leif Cefalo is a Sales Director. Leif is responsible for Inside Sales for Compete PRO Enterprise at Compete. Before Leif joined the Compete Team he worked in Client Services for a company intelligence database start up. His career aspiration is to lead a successful sales team with a start up environment. Connect with Leif on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?id=436617&trk=tab_pro