Back in October, General Motors began airing a series of commercials based around the Chevrolet Volt's then-new tagline: "More Car Than Electric." The choice of this slogan immediately generated some controversy. The commercials that later aired for Chevy's plug-in took a subtle dig at pure electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, while attempting to explain the benefits of range-extended technology.
Well, Nissan never really reacted to GM's slightly misleading advertising campaign. That is, until Carlos Tavares, the automaker's executive vice-president of the Americas, spoke at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit last week. Tavares held a muffler and tailpipe in the air and uttered these words:
Of course, the Volt is equipped with a gasoline-burning engine and thus is fitted with a muffler and a tailpipe, so Tavares, through his not-so-subtle tailpipe lifting approach, is implying that GM has misled customers by combining the words Volt and electric in its communications to the public. We're sure GM is fine with this.As automakers, we have a duty to communicate with clarity to help customers understand today's technology. If you're calling your car electric, and it has one of these, you're only muddling the message.