GM 230 For Chevy Volt Shows Power of Great Headline

Posted by: David Kiley on August 11, 2009

volt-henderson-081109.jpg

Never under estimate the power of a great headline, especially when it’s a number.

Witness GM unveiling its push behind the Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicle with a website www.whatis230.com.

The number refers to 230 mpg GM says the Volt will be rated for urban driving. The astonishing number reflects the fact that a Volt is expected to be able to go 40 miles or so on an electic charge.

The Volt should deliver 230 miles per gallon, or 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles. That performance, based on fuel-economy methodology being developed for plug-in cars by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would make the Volt the first mass-produced vehicle to achieve triple-digit fuel economy. GM CEO Fritz Henderson said GM expects the Volt could be totally recharged for about 40 cents.

Why now? Toyota plans to launch a plug-in version of the Prius before the Volt, and GM is getting it’s story out now to build momentum, not to mention goodwill with skeptical tax-payers who are grumbling over billions in tax-payer loans so GM can keep building Tahoes and Cadillac Escalades.

GM expects to produce roughly 60,000 of first-generation Volts, which are scheduled to go on sale in late 2010 as 2011 models.

If you want to know the power of a number in a headline, take a look at what happened to sales of Ford Fusions after the automaker launched the hybrid version with a 41 hwy mpg headline. Not only did sales of Fusion hybrids get off to a rollicking good start, but the headline for the hybrid pumped up overall sales, searches and interest in the Fusion, the sales of which have pulled ahead of Nissan Altima in the mid-sized sedan category.

230 MPG is a marvelous headline for a car no matter if gas is $2.50 per gallon or $4.50 per gallon. Talk about cutting through the clutter. GM is very smart to get the headline out now, and build up anticipation for the car, which really is coming. GM’s bankruptcy kind of dimmed the spotlight on the coming of the Volt. This recharges the battery in the light.

Look out for Volt bashers and nay-sayers to come out of woodwork again and tell you all the reasons why Volt is a mistake. Let’s see…George Will is sure to weigh in again. And let’s not forget Holman W.Jenkins Jr., a member of the WSJ’s editorial board, who delights in bashing Volt. They miss the point. Vehicles like the Volt are going to help change the way Americans view automobiles and transportation. It is beyond the dollars and business case for the first generation Volt. There is huge symbolism baked into the Volt, not only for GM, but for the country.

Did GM CEO Fritz Henderson today use the 230 headline to grab attention for GM’s deal to sell cars via ebay, and some other new products coming down the pike? Sure. And it will be very effective. GM has a new story to tell the public about its brands and products. And 230 is an excellent chapter heading; whether you believe in the rationale of the Volt or not.

Reader Comments

Brian Wynn

August 11, 2009 7:12 PM

This company bankrupted itself by for years building nothing but trucks, SUV's, and Hummers, now figures out how to build a 230mpg car over night. Woopiddy Doo!

sam siphandone

August 11, 2009 7:45 PM

Hope GM can make it to the road... Not just vaporware...........

Rickey Rockett

August 11, 2009 8:06 PM

Yeah right just wait until the big oil company's get there hands on the final product

Rex Farler

August 11, 2009 8:11 PM

Its about time ! G0 Mr, Henderson

G Green

August 11, 2009 8:55 PM

At the same time GM is shoveling out this "green propaganda" they are pumping millions of dollars of the government bailout money (our money) into expanding their heavy-duty truck production capacity.

Wilson

August 11, 2009 8:55 PM

I am always looking for better gas mileage, and the Volt sounds right. However, IF this car changes how Americans view autos and transportation, how are the oil companies going to react?

Dave M.

August 11, 2009 10:36 PM

Greate banner! 230, what a simple yet memorable number which, hopefully, portends the New GM of great innovations to come.

steve

August 11, 2009 10:57 PM

Lithium Battery Live is the big issue. Most suggest 1000 recharges. If you charge every day that's only three years. That's not cost effective. What youdon't spend on gas you'll spend on batteries. The NIMH batteries in the Prius last MUCH longer and the vehicle costs considerably less than 40,000. Prios batteries are covered under a different warranty for 80,000 miles or 7 years.

Charles

August 11, 2009 10:59 PM

where can I get one and do thy need anymore people to test them

Bharat Patel

August 11, 2009 11:16 PM

Volt -Hallelujah , I will buy the volt for me , my wife and 2 more for my company. Also I am building 2 new hotels in Texas- Both will have 25% parking with recharge stations- free re-charge for hotel guests. Hilton Garden Inn , South Padre Island Tx and La Quinta Inn and Suites,Cedar Park,Tx.
Barry Patel

Eisen

August 11, 2009 11:53 PM

With the power and range of Volts' battery. We can use it to power our homes in the future using alternative fuel or wind/solar power generators.

Kemo

August 12, 2009 12:07 PM

This is a response to Brian Wynn... GM has had the technology for over a decade now. Do some research on the EV-1.

To Steve: The average life for a Nickel Metal Hydride cell, is 500-1000 cycles. Lithium Ion - 1000-1500. And FYI, for you Prius junkies, they'll have Priuses for fleets with LITHIUM cells instead of NiMH. You can get your clammy Toyota hands on them around 2012.

Anyone else with a stupid comment?

Ben

August 12, 2009 12:17 PM

Some of the people posting negative comments should do a little more research on the Volt. For one GM has a warranty on the Li-ion batteries of 10yrs /150,000 miles (based on charging everyday). That is 3 years longer or 70,000 miles longer than the Prius on the batteries. There are almost endless possibilities with this technology (You could use solar or wind power to re-charge the volt). It is not only about the cost of everything, it is a game changer on the environment as well and how cars will have to be in the future. A study showed that after 70 years, the automobile has only increased its MPG by 7. If you google "history of electric cars", you can see that there were electric cars back in the early 1900's and even back in 1890. Hopefully the Cost/Environment benefit will meet soon as technologies matures.

hsr0601

September 2, 2009 10:26 AM

Faced with unsustainable insurance premiums, the auto industry has little chance to roll out affordable products as the premium inflation plunged it into insolvency before.

With this promising reform that comes in with a balancing function for price in operation, Chevy Volt, too, could earn competitive edge in price along the way, together with Nissan Leaf.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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