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General Motors To Make Chevy Green

Topics:  Chevrolet

General Motors To Make Chevy Green

Anthony Fontanelle
November 15, 2007

At the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show, General Motors Corp. will showcase a green Chevrolet by launching the gas-electric Silverado, the nation's first hybrid pickup. This is GM’s effort to make its best-selling brand, the center of an urgent attempt to cast the automaker as a progressive, environmentally friendly company to consumers around the globe.

The largest American automaker is battling with the industry’s craving for a greener image to improve mileage and at the same time respond to environmental issues.

"In the past, we haven't told our story as well as we could," said Larry Burns, GM's vice president of research and development. "And this is a competitive game." The approach will involve a massive, worldwide marketing campaign and a lineup of vehicles that uses a variety of fuel-saving technologies - including some that have yet to be created.

As part of GM’s announcement, the automaker will also introduce the iconic Silverado. The Detroit-based automaker is under pressure to beat a less-than-stellar reputation when it comes to the environment, and trying to do so minus the legendary Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius hybrid. Just like Bilstein, the automaker is expected to exude efficiency with sacrificing flexibility.

Toyota's success with the Prius has boosted the brand synonymous with environmental consciousness, an image that has propelled the Japanese automaker's success worldwide, said The Detroit News. "That bought them an image every other automaker would die for," GM's Burns said.

On the contrary, the new strategy for the Chevy brand intends to take a portfolio of complex technologies, some that exist and some yet to be realized, and transform it into something marketable and digestible to American shoppers.

The marketing piece of the strategy will tout Chevrolet's five "Fuel Solutions:" more efficient internal combustion engines; biofuels such as E85 ethanol; gas-electric hybrids; electrically driven vehicles; and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The brand's new tagline is "Chevrolet, from gas-friendly to gas-free," the report continued.

Additionally, GM plans to eventually offer a green version of virtually every Chevy model. Taking the center stage is the Chevrolet Volt, GM's much-hyped, ambitious plug-in hybrid car launched at the Detroit auto show in January.

But the Volt and the fuel cell project remain veiled in uncertainty. The automaker is still working to develop a lithium-ion battery durable and affordable enough to power a Volt for the mass market, and an infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles does not yet exist, DetNews revealed. But a number of other technologies are either on the market or on the way.

"They don't have a strong history of being as environmentally focused as Toyota or even Ford (Motor Co.) with its Escape" hybrid SUV, said Michael Robinet of CSM Worldwide, an automotive forecasting firm in Northville.

Robinet said that GM has the product to become credible, even among import-loving East and West coasters who want to drive green vehicles. "It all has to do with product," he said. "There is no reason, as long as the product is right, that someone like General Motors can't do well there, too."

Source:  Amazines.com

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