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June 11, 2010 • Autos, Editorials

Chevy vs. Chevrolet: Social media schools GM

Call it a simple misunderstanding or an experiment in the power of the new social media, but General Motors quickly found out yesterday just how fast and wide a wildfire of emotion can spread electronically.

No sooner did word come out from the General that anyone with corporate connections needs to shy away from using the nickname “Chevy” than the interwebs heated up to a frenzy level calling this decision anywhere from a bad choice to downright un-American.

Wow, Chrysler did not get this much guff when they told everyone last year they had to start calling their pickup a Ram instead of a Dodge. I guess the next memo will notify us to cease and desist on the acronym “GM” in place of General Motors.

“Chevy” is just too strong for the automaker to make the mistake of being misunderstood on.
I did a quick hit on and it took me immediately to the consumer website for Chevrolet so apparently the powers that be (or were) know just how important the accidental brand “Chevy” truly is.

As to the reasoning behind the original communication concerning the use of the term Chevy, perhaps as the U.S. market prepares for the “Chinese invasion” GM (sorry, General Motors) was worried “Chevy” is too similar to the Asian brand Chery that will be arriving in the not-too-distant future.

Who knows, and perhaps who cares, but if I slip every once in a while in my musings and use the term Chevy, please understand it is a term of endearment and, hey, as a current stockholder in the company (as a U.S. taxpayer), I can call it any darned thing I want to.

Here is the response from General Motors following yesterday’s outpouring of opinions on Chevy vs. Chevrolet:

DETROIT — 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.”

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