DETROIT: General Motors (GM), the US automaker, is aiming to make a revitalised Chevrolet brand the company's key marque in markets around the world as it seeks to reverse a declining market share.
A total of 13 new or revamped Chevrolet vehicles will be launched in the US this year and a further 12 in international markets, with a new marketing approach playing a vital role in turning around the brand's fortunes.
"We used to operate regionally with each country or local area doing their own thing," Alan Batey, the company's incoming global brand chief, told the Wall Street Journal. "That's over. From now on we will operate as one."
This means that, for the first time, Chevrolet has a global advertising slogan – Find New Roads – chosen partly for the ease of translation.
Asia and Europe are seen by GM as the regions offering the best opportunities for growth and expanding market share, with sales networks being expanded in China, Russia and Thailand.
GM plans to have 600 Chevrolet stores in China by the end of the year and to sell 1m vehicles within the next four years, up from the current figure of 627,000. In Russia, Chevrolet hopes to add 15 dealerships a year to the current figure of 165.
In Europe, the company is putting pressure on its 1,900 dealers to drop competing brands. "We want to show them that Chevrolet is really the big dog brand," said Susan Docherty, the GM executive in charge of Chevrolet operations in Europe.
As well as the focus on distribution networks, the brand is connecting with consumers in various other ways.
A Return to Malibu contest in China, for example, offered 12 new Chevrolet Malibu buyers all-expenses paid trips to Malibu, California. In Russia, Chevrolet is sponsoring the popular sport of ice hockey.
South America is also a major market, with 643,000 Chevrolets sold in Brazil last year – more than in China. The brand has in the past taken an innovative marketing approach here, using exclusive direct marketing campaigns and running business courses.
Former F1 driver Emerson Fittipaldi personally signed a series of magazine inserts in Brazilian weekly publications to promote sales of the high-performance Chevrolet Omega.
And in Colombia, the brand established The Chevrolet University to offer free business courses to taxi drivers while also offering financing plans to enable student-drivers to purchase their own vehicle.
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff