Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

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Thread: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

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    Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Here DeLorenzo's AE rant of the week www.autoextremist.com

    Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    By Peter M. De Lorenzo

    (Posted 1/22, 5:30 p.m.) Detroit. Now that the smoke has cleared (somewhat) from the frenzy of the Detroit Auto Show – and the big bang debut of the new Corvette – it’s time to take a hard look at Corvette from a brand image and marketing point of view.

    As I’ve said repeatedly in this column, there are only two cars (and car names) in modern American automotive history that qualify as true icons in this business, the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang. Around for 60 and 50 years, respectively, the Corvette and the Mustang transcend all others because of their evocative imagery and indisputable status as America’s two brightest automotive lights. The true test? Even non-car people know what a Mustang and a Corvette are. Even more, they can conjure these two cars in their own historical image banks and can instantly remember an experience when they saw one for the first time or rode in one in their formative years.

    But dealing with that kind of iconic status isn’t easy for Ford and GM. Half the battle revolves around knowing what you have and understanding its place in the automotive universe. That might sound simple but believe me it isn’t. Executives with – ahem – varying degrees of competence who have been given the marketing reins for these cars have come and gone over the years, and battles have ensued and mistakes have been made, but the ball more or less has kept moving forward for these two icons despite the occasional egregious missteps. It can't be overstated that it has taken tremendous effort by the True Believers involved in order to maintain the focused consistency that these nameplates deserve.

    In Ford’s case, the F-150 may be The Franchise, but the Mustang is the heart and soul of the company. And I can assure you that as much time is spent on not screwing it up or sending it down the wrong path as there is time spent on marketing the car. Or thinking about the next Mustang that’s in the works.

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    double-truck newspaper spread ads in every major newspaper in the country.
    Newspaper Ads?

    Golly Gee wilickers Mr. Delorenzo, you're a freaking genius.

    Newpaper Ads!!!!

    Really?

    I cant read this guy anymore, he's stuck in 1960 forever, and the picture of his vision of what aCorvette should look like? Gag....awful, just awful.

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Oh, for God's sake - what drivel. First, Ford knows how to use the Mustang to it's fullest extent? Ford, the perfect angel? Bull-crap. Can I remind him that the Ford Probe was supposed to be the Mustang? And then Ford was going to cancel the Mustang all together? Nor do I see any Ford advertising saying that "there is a little Mustang in every vehicle". You know why Ford doesn't do that? Because the average consumer knows it's not true. Same as with the Vette - everyone knows the only similarities between the Cruze and the Vette is that they both have 4 tires. As for making the Vette it's own line-up? Nonsense. Why make another division. Corvette is a Chevy. Period. If GM wants to do high end sports cars they should be Cadillac's, muscle cars, and cheaper sports cars should be Chevy's. GM needs another division like it needs a hole in its head.

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    The Camaro has more resonance in the public zeitgeist than the Mustang, namely due to Bumblebee, the Camaro's superior styling, and the Mustangs slower evolution. The next generation will be telling.

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Not to mention that Ford throws V6 Mustang convertibles to Hertz and Avis as if it was free candy on Halloween.

    Oh, yeah if GM is going to make something with a mid engine and 800hp and $175K price tag, it better have a wreath and crest on it.

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Delorenzo used to really support GM and I think he still loves the company, but he has really turned negative toward them in the last year or so. I can barely read his columns anymore.

    I think he's way off about the 2014 Corvette. It's a homerun IMO. I do believe he makes a valid point about GM not promoting the success of the Corvette racing program.

    For some bizarre reason, GM sports cars get tagged with negative images in pop culture. We've all heard the stupid, endlessly repeated associations between Camaros, Trans Am, rednecks, mullets, etc. It's nowhere near as bad with the Corvette, but there are some negative associations there as well, painting the car as the choice of the "successful plummer" and not someone a truly discerning driver would strive for. Maybe if GM did a better job at advertising just how world class the Corvette is, taking on and beating all comers at prestigious world events like Lemans, the image of the car would improve.

    Just an aside regarding the Camaro-redneck-mullet thing. There are few things more annoying in life than having to listen or read things from unfunny people who think they're really funny, smart, and clever. This applies to the entire staff over at thetruthaboutcars.com. Most of the people who still insist on repeating the redneck stuff over and over fall into that category as well. And even things that were funny once become less so when they're repeated over and over and over....
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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Quote Originally Posted by free_energy0 View Post
    The Camaro has more resonance in the public zeitgeist than the Mustang, namely due to Bumblebee, the Camaro's superior styling, and the Mustangs slower evolution. The next generation will be telling.

    I don't know about that. No doubt the Camaro has a big fan base, but Mustangs really are engrained in the culture. There have been a lot of years where the Camaro and Firebird were both better performers and they've nearly always had more dramatic syling, yet the Mustang nearly always was the bigger seller. The non-car people that get it in their heads that they want a "sports car" tend to have "Mustang" on the tip of their tongues, even if what they buy ends up being an underpowered V6.
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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    I think having Corvette as a brand is a great idea. But those Corvettes in that article, ewwwwww.

    If GM wants to ensure that nothing is ever faster than a Corvette, then building a mid-engine Cien as a Corvette would make everyone happy. Make Corvette a premium brand that only focuses on 2-door sports cars and I'd be happy as I'm sure most other folks would be.

    A $35-40k Stingray price point would be sweet. But at that price I see a lot of kids wrapped around trees.
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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Peters on a rant. I respectfully disagree. Ridiculous investment with little financial return.

    Reality is GM can not invest that heavily in so little a financal return.

    We are lucky we have the cool and very fast c7 as well as it's future iterations.

    Peters pandering IMO

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    The Corvette brand story is something that is always great to bring up. It makes sense and something that could possibly work out, but man...that would be a lot of money spent on a bunch of niche vehicles. Could it rival Porsche, all the way up to Ferrari? Issue is the depletion of funds from everyone else, namely Cadillac.
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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Is he ranting for his readers or based on his own ideas?

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    PDL is an arrogant know-it-all, who happens to have worked for GM in the marketing division and who knows a lot about advertising.
    That doesn't make him an expert on Corvette or what should be done.
    I do, however, agree with him that GM needs to leverage Corvette's racing success into more sales by reminding us that it is race-proved, race-bred, and race-successful. And a damned good looking car to go along with it. Press the advantage of America's best Sports Car!!!!

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Well, like it or not - and who of good heart and purpose does...... something is going to have to be done - eventually.

    The world.... the US car market, the USA as a Nation.... have just gotten out of kilter with regard to the Corvette and sports cars in general. And I do mean it as written and in that order.


    The Corvette in the main did not screw up - everything else that matters did.

    And it's likely never to be the same for Sports Cars as a group who have been a dying breed at an ever increasing clip since the '80s.

    The whole situation amongst the youth - eh.

    The group that make it thru and then among that - actually want something different 'in a car' are more likely to want a 'sporty' CUV 'Corvette' down the road.

    Most won't make the first cut never mind the second - and third.
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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    The notion of a Corvette brand has been floated numerous times. Trouble is, there are very few sports-car only makers anymore. Porsche builds sedans and SUVs for a reason: selling low volume high tech sports cars is a difficult way to make money. Even Ferrari has the larger Fiat to share costs with, particularly Maserati, which essentially gives it a sedan.

    Rather than the Corvette as a brand, I'd rather see Chevy embody the Corvette ethos - not of performance, but of value and excellence. The Corvette takes some rather simple bits (a pushrod 'truck' motor, a front-engined chassis) and develops the heck out of them to provide world beating performance at a surprisingly low price. Every Chevy should aim to be the Corvette of its competitive set. Imagine if the Malibu sold for today's price but drove like a car $10K more expensive. The Corvette isn't just about being a fast car -- it's also about how a small, passionate team can make a world-beating car using relatively humble bits (and, yes, I recognize some of the bits, like the shocks, really are leading edge) and sell it for a shocking low price. Who doesn't like affordable excellence?

    The other bits -- the ultimate mid engined car, for example, really are needed at Cadillac. If GM wants to do a smaller sports car, it could be a Chevy or even a Buick. That said, three two-seaters is an awful lot for one company, given the global volume for sports cars.

    Really, with the Corvette, Camaro and SS, Chevy has a coupe, sedan and sports car that all offer surprising bang-for-buck. Add a small cheaper coupe (Code 130 or and AWD rally sedan) and you'd already have a great performance line up.

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    Re: Autoextremist #686:Marketing the Corvette: What GM doesn’t get.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tone View Post
    The notion of a Corvette brand has been floated numerous times. Trouble is, there are very few sports-car only makers anymore. Porsche builds sedans and SUVs for a reason: selling low volume high tech sports cars is a difficult way to make money. Even Ferrari has the larger Fiat to share costs with, particularly Maserati, which essentially gives it a sedan.

    Rather than the Corvette as a brand, I'd rather see Chevy embody the Corvette ethos - not of performance, but of value and excellence. The Corvette takes some rather simple bits (a pushrod 'truck' motor, a front-engined chassis) and develops the heck out of them to provide world beating performance at a surprisingly low price. Every Chevy should aim to be the Corvette of its competitive set. Imagine if the Malibu sold for today's price but drove like a car $10K more expensive. The Corvette isn't just about being a fast car -- it's also about how a small, passionate team can make a world-beating car using relatively humble bits (and, yes, I recognize some of the bits, like the shocks, really are leading edge) and sell it for a shocking low price. Who doesn't like affordable excellence?

    The other bits -- the ultimate mid engined car, for example, really are needed at Cadillac. If GM wants to do a smaller sports car, it could be a Chevy or even a Buick. That said, three two-seaters is an awful lot for one company, given the global volume for sports cars.

    Really, with the Corvette, Camaro and SS, Chevy has a coupe, sedan and sports car that all offer surprising bang-for-buck. Add a small cheaper coupe (Code 130 or and AWD rally sedan) and you'd already have a great performance line up.
    This post is written in a quite exemplary manner that really shows an understanding of the marketing message that Chevrolet should have. The term you used " affordable excellence " precisely embodies the message that should be shouted from the rooftops by Chevrolet marketing. The Corvette is the ultimate expression of " affordable excellence " because it is a vehicle with relatively plebeian roots that does not take a back seat to exotics some that require an investment of over $100, 000 more. This halo effect is what makes the Corvette possible, and as its own brand I believe it would simply not make sense. We of course can easily forget just how many " luxury " (based on price) cars that Chevrolet sales each year, and the Corvette providing a halo to those Silverados, Tahoes, and Suburbans is invaluable in many ways.

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