Report: Chevy called out for reliability claim, pulls commercial

Chevrolet says ad was taken down for new marketing opportunities

A Chevrolet ad is again causing a ruckus, but this time it's less about style than about substance. According to a report from the Detroit News, Chevy pulled a national commercial at the same time the legitimacy of the statements made in the advertisement were questioned. The spot claimed Chevrolet had better reliability than Ford, Honda and Toyota.

Chevrolet has pulled the ad but says it did so due to a new marketing direction focusing on the Silverado.

The dispute regards a new version of the "Real People, Not Actors" ad (you know the ones) titled "Chevy Surprises Competitive Owners When It Comes To Reliability." The description of the video read, "See what happens when competitive vehicle owners find out about Chevrolet reliability." It was posted to YouTube on Jan. 1, 2019, and ran on both national and local channels.

The video, which racked up tens of thousands of views and received more thumbs down than up, has since been taken down (a shell of the page can still be seen here). According to the report, the national commercial has also been removed from programming, with the local ads also coming down in following weeks.

In the video, the host brings people who are supposedly Ford, Honda and Toyota owners into a room with car-branded sheets covering numerous vehicles. The host "tricks" the owners by leading them to believe their cars are the most reliable vehicles on the road before pulling off sheets to reveal Chevrolet automobiles. The owners are surprised, with one remarking, "You had me bragging."

But the manufacturers in the video, Ford, Toyota and Honda, all pride themselves on their dependability and did not take the claims lightly. The report details that all three manufacturers reached out to Chevrolet to challenge the commercial to various degrees.

For the purposes of this commercial and these claims, Chevrolet commissioned independent research company Ipsos to conduct a survey. The details specify that reliability is defined as "the percentage of vehicle owners who reported they have not repaired or replaced any vehicle components in the past 12 months (excluding fluids, filters and those related to accident/collision)."

The survey sent out 840,979 letters to 2015 model-year vehicle owners, with time in service starting December 2014 through June 2015. Overall, Ipsos received 48,679 responses from Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ram, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo owners. Full details on the survey can be found here.

According to the Detroit News, Chevrolet is denying that their recall of the commercials has anything to do with the dispute. You can see Chevy's statement and the full report here.

In a statement to Autoblog, a Chevy spokesperson said, "Chevrolet stands by the reliability claim and the ad remains in the brand's toolbox but we have decided to take it out of the regular rotation at this time to launch new Silverado creative. We have not altered our marketing campaign because of any concerns with the accuracy of our ad content."

Chevy added, "We will not comment on conversations with other manufacturers."

In the most recent Consumer Reports brand reliability rankings, based on feedback from 640,000 vehicles owners, Honda ranked ninth, Toyota 10th, Ford 20th and Chevrolet 23rd. Beyond the matter of reliability, the Chevy Bolt and Impala did make CR's overall recommendations list of top 10 vehicles by category.

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